UAL: User Personas

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, user testing, 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.


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.

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.


Evaluate Insights

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.

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 - Accessibility and Personality Types

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.

Information Checking

Performing guerrilla testing with students and staff members at verious locatons to ask and show questions related to each unique persona type of confirm that the information presented represents each persona well

User Testing

With near final versions of the new user personas, the UX team used the user personas during various workshop sessions with a range of different staff members. This allowed to measure the effectiveness and improve on usage guidance for distiputing the completed user personas.


The report for the user personas project summaries the insights gained from stakeholders, guerrilla testing data analysis from various sources


Printed Personas and Design Review

The printed version of the user personas were evaluated with the Design lead from the Brand team at UAL. The review presented opportunities to bring the final printed design to Brand standard to make sure that the final product represents the University well.

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.

Online Personas with FlowMapp


Guidance and Usage Documentation

While completing the final set of personas guidance and training material was created to help staff learn how to utilise the personas and components to positively impact their projects and engagements with their key audience.

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 3 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.