Designing a website for multiple personas can feel like a daunting task. After all, every persona is different, with different demographics, psychographics, goals, challenges, and identifiers. Your goal is to make the site feel custom designed for each individual who visits—as if the site was made specifically for them.
When something feels like it’s been custom designed for you, it can’t help but make you feel special. It’s just what you’re looking for, it fulfills all your needs, and almost feels like the creators knew you personally. Visually, verbally, and emotionally, it connects with you. In reality, you’re probably just one of many who is sharing that joy of feeling that the product is just for them. And then, there may be others who feel equally drawn to it, but they’re seeing it from a different point of view.
Having different personas connect effectively with a website design doesn’t come naturally, and must be carefully considered from the outset of a web development project. It forms the DNA of the approach and execution. We must analyze the personas and apply that data to the use of language, layout, imagery, content, the persona’s point of view, and the desired outcome of how we want to lead them to take a specific action. A misstep in any of these areas can deter a persona rather than attract them.
When a persona first visits your site, it is important to communicate to them in a generic way so they are able to easily identify what your brand and product are. The initial information presented should be easy to access and broad enough to cover any potential paths to (and through) your sales funnel. After this initial contact, you should allow the persona to identify themselves by taking an action. This might mean they choose the specific industry that they work in from a navigation menu, specify the role they work in (like marketing or sales), or identify the interest they have in a specific product on a form or interactive tool. The choice they make at this point will lead them down a certain path, adding to their knowledge as they go. This would mean that someone who identifies they are a marketing manager in the pharmaceutical industry would be presented with imagery and content related to their role.
Each persona will have a separate path, and some may intersect, but knowing their specific interests on the site allows us to anticipate their needs ahead of time. You must make sure that the persona’s route makes sense and follows logic, always ensuring you’re predicting what they need at that point and what they’ll need next. Identifying the persona as much as possible ahead of time and how they will extract data from the site and their experience on there allows us to structure the site to suit them. In turn, this gives the impression that the site is just for them. The content, design, and language, specifically appeals to them and their needs. This is achieved by using key common language for the things they’re looking for and elaborating on the subjects with more relevant information. The visuals should share commonalities with other brands that operate in the same industry or have the same values but spinning it to create something original. Knowing the persona well and the needs driving them, allows the visuals and content to be focused and specific.
It is very important to ensure that the decisions the persona must make in order to move along the path are few and simple. It may be that they need to specify their job within a field or the sort of application that might need a product for. Bombarding them from the outset with questions and options will only overload them, and they will probably leave the website. People need to feel comfortable with the level of choice when interacting with a site.
The content of the site is the central focus. If the content isn’t relevant, the persona won’t be interested, no matter who they are. When considering multiple personas it is important to remember the spectrum of knowledge they may have about your business or industry. Structure the content to speak to the most basic persona you’re trying to connect with. If this base persona understands, then more enlightened personas are guaranteed to understand too.
Use common language and terms. Avoid acronyms, internal language or terms, or icons that are overly specific and unique. If you do want to introduce the persona to something that your business uniquely offers, then this must be clearly explained to them. Don’t assume that every persona will automatically know. Offer each persona a section of the site or specific page that is aimed at them, and focus on driving them to that point. As they progress, you can introduce them to more complex, specific, or niche information.
Each persona’s journey through the site will also present you with great opportunity to answer their questions and respond to any objections. This could be done in a variety of ways such as skills that only your organization has, case studies that might form or compound the impression that you’re trying to communicate to that persona that will help them feel more connected to your brand. Allowing the persona to easily find the information they’re interested in improves their experience on the site.
Site offers are a fantastic way to engage different personas in very bespoke ways. By tracking their interactions and engaging with them using smart content and carefully considered offerings, we can customize their experience to their unique needs. Smart content allows us to present the persona with different offers depending on whether it’s their first or fifth visit to the site. We can also tailor content if they’ve interacted with the site, such as downloading an offer. You can read more about smart content here. This allows us to play towards giving them a user experience that feels specifically made just for them. Depending on their site history and interactions, the persona can be offered a top of funnel, middle of funnel, or bottom of funnel offer, and even be personalized with their name. It all adds to the ability to accommodate the needs of the personas whether it’s their first or tenth visit to the site.
We can never take a fire-and-forget approach to the strategy of communicating with your personas. Analyzing data gathered from each user can be invaluable in always improving their experience and removing any areas of resistance within the conversion process on the site. A/B tests can be a great way to test how site changes can impact conversions for different personas. It’s important to keep in mind that changes should not be made to the detriment of one persona over another. We should always be looking to improve the user experience. What may be natural for one persona may be foreign to another. Therefore each persona’s site experience must be considered individually.
So when accommodating for multiple personas use your site design and content on the pages they’re most likely to see first to speak to what your personas have in common, then become more specific as they progress. Allow them to self-identify and empower them to control their journey. In doing so it is important to map out how they will navigate the site. This allows you to pass along information in a way that the persona finds natural. Analyze the persona’s interactions and work towards improving their experience. All this will improve the conversions on your site.
If you’d like to know more about the process of designing for multiple personas, download our Website Redesign Guide now.