Persona Definition


After we completed a user research, it was time to dig a bit more and create personas and scenarios from the same data, because we wanted everything to be accurate and representative of actual users of a product.


Developing the Personas


As a group, we gathered together to create these personas based on data collected during our previous user interviews.

First, we went through the user reviews we found on Google Play Store and App Store I mentioned in the previous article, because this project didn’t have a huge amount of time to do extensive user research. We found out that most of the frustration was around logging in and transferring money. We found similar frustrations in our usability tests of the application “as-is”. We decided on each personas behaviour patterns, their end goals and more long-term life goals.

We had to choose the right individuals to design for and focus on those users whose needs best represent the needs of a larger set of key audience. Then we had to prioritise them so that the needs of the most important users are satisfied without compromising our ability to meet the needs of secondary users as well.



Card sorting
We wanted to have better understanding about our users’ mental model, so we did Card sorting session (click on the image to watch the video)


We also discovered that, by observing our users, we can better understand their behaviour and motivations and then design accordingly. We also spent time carefully choosing the photographs to represent our personas, we wanted the photo to correctly illustrate the narrative of this user.

Eventually, this is what we came up with:


Ann as our primary persona, with clear goals and understandable frustrations.


And John as our secondary persona.


We used demographically quite different personas but with similar pain points. These demographics were to reflect the wide variety of users of banking apps in Ireland; a report by Visa showed that by 2020, they expected 94% of millennials to be using mobile banking, along with 77% of over 65’s (Visa, 2017).

The main benefits I found after creating two personas, is that it helped us as a team build more empathy for the users and develop an understanding of our users’ goals in specific contexts. Having to think for and make decisions using this users mental models truly puts you ‘in their shoes’ and able to see tasks from a very different angle.

In fact, I believe that the best way to transform the user research into our design is through personas. Later on, we will also try to consider these personas as potential participants for our user testing sessions later in the process.


Developing the User Scenarios


We also came up with persona-based scenarios, which are best used to capture the non-verbal dialogue between the user and a product. We started our designs from a story describing an ideal experience from the persona’s perspective, focusing on people and how they think and behave, rather than on technology or business goals.


Persona based SCenarios


As a team we developed two scenarios based on the user interviews and reviews we conducted during our research phase. These ‘Context Scenarios’ are built upon the issues those users came across on a daily basis. Now with the basis planned out for each scenario, we exercised our creative writing skills and put one persona through each scenario. We kept each personas needs, behaviours and goals in mind while writing each scenario.


So, our persona is Ann. A busy working-mother who has limited time outside of work for other tasks and likes to spend that time with family. For instance, where possible she performs all her banking on her phone and ‘shoehorns’ the tasks into her daily routine.


login scenario
Scenario 1 Storyboard – related to “Login” Functionality on PTSB mobile banking app

Scenario #1

“Monday morning and Ann is running late for work. She has several things on her mind and knows that she has to do the weekly shopping after work.

Today is payday and Ann needs to make sure she has been paid to have money for the shopping. If she hasnt been paid she will have to transfer money from her savings account.

The traffic is bad and Ann doesnt want to be too late for work.Once she gets to office car park and decides to quickly check her bank balance before running up to her desk.

Once she knows if she has to transfer money or not she can get this done and then continue with her day knowing the funds are there.

She opens her banking app and logins in for a quick overview of her accounts.

She has been paid!”


new payee scenario
Scenario 2 Storyboard – related to “Pay to a New Person” Functionality on PTSB mobile banking app

Scenario #2

“It is Friday evening and Ann is at home with her husband and daughter. Their son is at the cinema with friends.

He has just called to say he left his wallet at home and has no way of paying for the cinema ticket. By the time Ann of her husband would have driven to meet their son, the film would have started. Her son doesn’t want to miss the night with friends and is worried he will be left on his own.

Ann suggests she transfer money to her son’s friend, so they can withdraw from an ATM. She has never transferred money to this friend so she will have to set up a new payee.

Her son’s friend texts Ann his IBAN. Ann uses her banking app to add his details as a new payee and then transfer money for the ticket, plus some extra for her son to get home.

After she has done this her son texts to say he has his ticket and is going in to the screen, and thanks.”



Creating storyboards helped us to empathise with the situation our personas were in. They clearly portray the story of a fictional character in situations we can relate to and become interested in.




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  2. Flaherty, K. (2018, January 28). Why Personas Fail. Retrieved October 24, 2018, from
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  4. Laubheimer, P. (2017, August 6). Personas vs. Jobs-to-Be-Done. Retrieved October 26, 2018, from
  5. Norman, D. A. (n.d.). Emotional design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things. New York, NY: Basic Books.
  6. Adiseshiah, Emily Grace. “Home.” Justinmind. Accessed October 29, 2018.





1 - Research and introducing the problem
3 - Developing a Paper Prototype