User persona mistakes checklist

Not every business is serious about creating user personas these days mainly because their initial efforts may have fallen by the wayside.

However, the truth is: User persona is one of the most critical UX tools that aid businesses to be user-centered and not self-centered. Their use ensures that companies don’t turn a blind eye to users’ needs, rather champion their cause.

So the point is, if you are not investing enough time and effort in the development of user personas, it might result in the creation of flawed ones that may not drive traffic to your business.

Here are some user persona mistakes that businesses commit leading to the creation of a flawed user persona.

#1. The Rapid Fire Persona

As it turns out, this kind of buyer persona is developed in 2 x 10 calls. Sure, it’s better to have something than nothing for reference purposes when developing your designs. But then, user persona developed based on rapid-fire questions is not going to help your cause.

The question is: how could you know anyone in 2 minutes, let alone a group of people over a quick chat session. Creating user personas based on rapid-fire calls or chat sessions is one of the biggest UX mistakes that researchers and designers commit.

#2. The Single Experience Persona

User personas have worked for several companies. The issue arises when businesses start making assumptions from a single user experience. Because what if things may not have gone well with this particular user with whom you may have just interacted with. So it is wrong if businesses generalize and create personas from an individual user experience.

Also, it’s always nice to dig a little further and find out what went wrong with this particular user to avoid repeating the same mistakes in the next persona project.

#3. We Cooked it up Persona

Yes, there are user personas that are roughly put together from the raw data made available by the marketing or the customer care team. Sometimes user personas are created by employees themselves as and when the need arises.

Very often an image from an online photo gallery is pulled out and gets pinned to a wall. And some bullet points get scribbled down below the photo. Over a while, both the image and its meaning gets lost amidst tight deadlines and insurmountable deliverables.

However, the point is, in this day and age when real people don’t have the time to talk with each other, how would they relate to a stock photo?

#4. Personas Build in Isolation

If your researchers are creating personas in isolation without the involvement of designers then such user personas won’t bode well with the designers, who are actually the end-users.

For the widespread adoption and meaningful impact of personas, the involvement of the end-users is critical. This is important because otherwise, designers won’t have a proper understanding of the user data and the rigor that went into creating them. So, it’s always a good idea for designers to have a one-on-one with real users. It would make them feel close to the users, resulting in better UX.

#5. Outdated Personas

With businesses evolving with technological changes, users change too. So there are chances of personas becoming obsolete, primarily when they no longer reflect current users’ behavior needs or goals. This means personas may have to be updated to reflect the present needs of the user, which, in turn, would enable the designer to serve their actual needs.

#6. Wordy Personas

If your persona looks wordy and messy, your end-user will literally have to brace up for ordeal even before reading a word. “This will be heavy,” will be the message you will be putting across in the first glance. So keep wordy bios off your radar because people are not really happy using them.

#7. Stereotyping Personas

Sometimes you simply go ahead and dub your user as Maria. So what, you may ask? The problem is, by dubbing her as Maria you will be looking at your user persona through the eyes of a female. Put another way, you won’t be using persona in a neutral sense.

The point is stereotyping hinders the design process. Predicting behaviors and attitudes based on cultural, gender, and things like that prejudice our understanding of behaviors and reactions of user groups. As far as possible, look at user personas neutrally.

#8. One Size Fits-all Personas

You need to have a specific goal in mind while sketching a user persona for your business. There’s nothing like one-size-fits-all persona. The data captured should reflect the purpose of the persona and the scope of work. If it doesn’t, then such data won’t be useful for business.

For example, a marketing team working with a couple of user personas for a complete range of banking products such as savings, car loans, home loans and more will only be able to create general user persona, and not thorough one. So their products may or may not resonate with their audience.


There you go! 7 user persona mistakes that businesses tend to commit. So, if your business is experiencing a failed persona experience, then it could be one of the reasons listed above. Figure out what went wrong and right the wrongs. If you are building personas for the first time, then you can use this checklist to avoid issues from popping up.

Also, remember to keep your designers in the loop, talk about personas in meetings, and cement their place in projects. Avoid these pitfalls, and you will have a successful persona right from the start.