UAL: User Persona Framework

Project summary

Creating a new set of inclusive user personas, which include accessibility types and also building a culture that embraces the usage of user personas.

Methods & Tools

Methods: Interviews (Qualitative) , Survey( Quantitative), Team and project management, Card sorting, Workshops, Training, Management, Lead designer, User journey mapping, data analysis.

Tools: Excel, Survey Monkey, Google Analtics, Figma, UXPressia, Miro (Realtime Board)

Year and Duration

2019, 3 months


UX Designer

Problem statement

Due to the lack of exposure and the fast changing environment UAL's core digital personas have failed to be used by various team throughout the university and lack the core inclusive element i.e. accessibility and personality types of represent the wide range of user types.

HMW create inclusive personas and a transparent collaborative enviornment to make using personas accessible and a want for everyone to use?


Epic Plan of Project

Setting up the 3 sprint aims and Trello cards for the UX team to work on for the persona project.

Creation of Discussion Guide for Interviewing Stakeholders

Providing direction and assistance to the UX Researcher for creating the discussion guides for the stakeholder interviews.

Interviewing UAL Stakeholders

Contacting and arranging meetings with the stakeholders from the following departments and teams around UAL. The interviews provided key insights on how each stakeholder and department will use the personas for their work.

Stakeholder: Accessibility and disability, Language Centre, Academic Enterprise Communications team, AEMSS (Short Courses), Finance, HR, Creative Opportunities, Mental Health Adviser, International Relations, Library Services, Accommodation, Student Admissions, Technician, Marketing and Communications, Course leaders, Research 

Existing Persona Analysis

Analysing the current user personas that exist within UAL to find key information and discover how the new personas are able to improve on the old personas.

Accessibility and Personality Type Discovery

The UX team comenced discovery during the research to see if accessibility and personality types would be a welcomed addition to personas. All the stakeholders who were interviewed agreed that both accessibility and personality types will allow them and their them to have a more diverse point of view of their users

Further plans on what types of accessibility and personality should be included and how to include them.

Created an agreement with 3 of UAL's central accessibility experts to lead and provide governance for the accessibility modular components. Also, to have colour titles for different accessibilities instead of vision etc. to not offend or group people in a negative way.


Evaluate Interviews Stakeholders Feedback

Analysis on the interview results provide direction on how the new persona should be developed. In terms of needs and wants for each type of persona.

Evaluate Online Survey

An analysis of yearly survey has provided insights on students behaviours, interests and more, which will be used to develop the student personas.

Rationalisation of Personas

Due to the amount of personas and from the discovery stage of the project we were able to cut down the amount of core personas. If an unique persona type is needed then a persona template would be used for creating one.

Main personas: Students, Staff and Business, Sub-personas: Perspective students, current students, Short Course students, Teenagers, Alumni, Academic, Business, Parents.

Report on Persona Evaluation

A report has been produced and shared with stakeholders and wider teams to provide insights on the development and opportunities to provide feedback.


Writing up New Persona

A joint collaboration between the UX and Content team was done to develop the copy for each of the core persona types. Plain simple English descriptions and inclusivity through the copy was key to make the personas easy to understand and use.

Modular Components

With positive feedback on the inclusion of modular accessibility and personality types that can create more dynamic ranges of personas.

Draft Persona Creation

With the basic written outline and modular stucture the UX team created paper persona prototypes to be shared with stakeholders for further feedback befoe creating finalised versions.

Feedback and Evaluation

Meetings with stakeholders, previous interviewees, and teams to share the mid-point development and the method for creating and sharing the persona.

Collaboration with UAL's Accessibility Experts

Teaming up to write a cohesive modular accessibility types, which will be used for the newly developed UAL user personas. The 4 accessibility types are Mobility, Vision, Auditory and Neurodiversity.

Sketch Mockups for Personas

Since the personas will be printed too sketches were done to prepare for digitising process.


Creation of Personas with UXPressia

From the insights gathered from the interviews and verious stakeholder sessions it was decided by the UX team to use an online user persona platform to centralise all the personas, accessibility and personality types. This poved to be useful because all the material is easy to access and always up to date.

Printed Persona Versions

Digital versions of the personas is the way forward in terms of development, however, it is important to keep printed versions of the personas because it's easier to utilise in meetings or workshops and for users who prefer to use printed material instead of digital.

Guidance and Training Creation

While completing the final set of personas guidance and training material was created to be used to advocate how UAL teams could utilise personas to positively impact their projects and engagements with their key users.

Training and Workshops

Through the UX Advocate Programme and UX Lunch and Learn Sessions created and run by the UX team. We were able to test, improve, teach and support teams with learning about personas, how to use them for their project, but most important to get everyone on the main page of who are 6 key user types are.

Next steps and Personal reflection

Personal Relection

The time and size of the project was a bit too much for a 2 months, as large survey data, interviews and workshop insights needed to be analyised and acted on quickly. However, we were able to build awareness and create a training framework to create culture around the usage of user personas. This has proved to be much more beneficial to the overall project and the outcome from teams throughout UAL has shown that they are starting to benefit from the user persona first approach.

Next steps

The UX team has plans to embed user persona training into more areas of the UX Advocate Programme to get more UAL staff members who are interested in UX to learn the key principles and practices to lead the usage of personas within their team.