Understand your audience using personas and scenarios

Developing and using ‘personas and scenarios’ is a powerful way of identifying and serving your important audiences.

Personas are imaginary people, described in detail, who represent a wider group with whom you wish to engage. Typically used when developing websites, personas can also help you focus on and serve the needs of all your audiences, markets or stakeholders – wherever or however you interact with them.

Scenarios describe the stories behind why a persona might come to your site – the context in which they are visiting, and the goal or goals they hope to achieve. Constructing realistic scenarios is an essential part of designing and testing the user experience of your website. 

Use the templates below to construct your personas and scenarios. Aim for 2-6 personas, though for some organisations it might be necessary to have up to 10 or 12. 

Persona template


Give your persona a suitable name, and always use it to refer to them


Give your persona a face. Free-to-use images on Flickr, Random User Generator or the fascinating Exactitudes.com are good places to find a suitable portrait

Profile type

Which wider group does this persona represent? e.g. board member, volunteer, journalist, researcher, financial supporter, activist

Age / Gender / Educational level / Occupation


A useful way of describing character is to consider the values that the persona most identifies with. Find out more about working with values at valuesandframes.org

Digital confidence and context

Experience and knowledge of IT and digital technolgoy, the kind of devices and social media they use, any possible accessibility issues

Goals and interests

What are the persona’s motivations, what goals and interests do they have that overlap with the services you provide?


How can you meet their needs?

Scenario template



Purpose of visit, and how it could be judged successful for both the user and your organisation or business


Time of day, geographical location, environment (eg office, home, train)

Access technology

Eg Laptop/mobile phone/tablet, broadband/3G

Site access

How arrived at site (eg home page or inner page from bookmark or url entry, natural search, social media recommendation, off-site link). If search, what keywords do they use?