Personas are a practical tool to help prioritize content and functionality. They are fictional characters based on an identified audience or user type. They serve as an encapsulation of your understanding of the intended audience. Personas typically include a hypothetical person’s name, key demographic characteristics, motivations, anxieties, and the tasks they need to complete with regard to a website, application, or service.

Personas are created with information gathered from user and stakeholder interviews.As a result of these activities, you can identify the most important functionality an audience needs.

These personas will aid in making design decisions and build empathy while maintaining objectivity. They can also serve as the basis for user testing(link) that is conducted to validate the website.

Personas are not intended to capture all needs or functionality of the site. Rather, they serve as an understanding of a site’s most important priorities.