Personas: Designing For The End-User

by | Aug 30, 2021 | Customer Experience, Employee Experience, User Experience

Creating successful products, experiences and journeys is all about knowing and understanding your end-user, be they your buyer, visitor, listening audience, or employee. Personas are a powerful tool for truly getting to know and understand the needs, attitudes, perspectives, challenges, and goals of your customer. With this knowledge on hand, you will be able to successfully design and get it right for your end-user.

Let’s consider some successful persona applications in Africa.

Fintech Space

Although South Africa has one of the most evolved financial services sectors among developing countries, the financial inclusion status in South Africa is very much tainted by the country’s history and economy. Unbanked South Africans represent the single largest growth opportunity for South African banks.

While the majority of the unbanked sector falls into a low LSM group, they are nevertheless, comfortable with technology. According to the 2020 State of the ICT Sector report, put together by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA), SA’s smartphone penetration reached 91.2% in 2019, up from 81.7% in 2018.

The high uptake of technology in South Africa has facilitated the financial sector bringing banking to the lower income segments of the population albeit through unconventional channels.

In order to realise this opportunity and to adapt to a high volume and lower margin business model, South African banks require significant understanding of their target personas with the unique characteristics and needs of low income customers that will enable banks to offer superior value propositions. That is to say, identifying with their ideal persona will guide optimal changes across all elements of the marketing mix, business models, financial structures, channels, platforms, and ultimately in business philosophy.

Mobile Money

The omnipresence of mobile devices in Africa and a population generally under-serviced by financial products created the ideal conditions for the expeditious advancements in mobile money. Today, due to high mobile penetration, digital finances are available to all consumers even those in traditionally hard-to-reach locations. so, understanding where the gaps are in a market and evaluating the ins and outs of your targeted personas presents ideas for innovation that drive business growth and opportunity.


WhatsApp has successfully positioned itself as the primary installed App on South African phones. Being a mobile-only continent,  there is a general adversity in Africa to use data-intensive services like YouTube. That is to say that having a great digital platform is not enough to get people using it. You need to consider your personas within their full spectrum of needs and challenges to make yourself appealing. The secret behind WhatsApp’s success in Africa is how little data it uses and its tight compression of videos which don’t burn a hole in the pocket of the consumer. A great example of being empathetic to your customers’ needs!

Employee Personas

Another important end user for organizations are your employees.

Tapping into the talent pool and finding the right people is a key component to take your business where you want it to go.

Creating the optimal employee experience journey begins with identifying who your employees are and/or who you want them to be. To do this, you should create employee personas. That’s right, you design these for your ideal customers so that you can create ideal customer experience, but remember, employee experience drives your CX. So, it’s really critical to build your employee personas too. That way, the employee experience you offer will be aligned with who your employees are and what they really need which in turn will drive the customer experience your company promises.

Personas have become more commonplace as organisations increase their focus on designing employee experiences that enhance engagement, motivation, productivity, retention. Furthermore, with the pandemic having changed things up and more people working flexibly from home and the office, it’s time to review your employee personas and employee journeys. In short, you need to understand the views, challenges, perspectives, needs and attitudes of your end user- in this case, your employees.

An Uber Employee Experience

In a world where traditionally many professions were reserved for men, there are many organizations that attribute value towards women in the workforce and spur innovations that lead to empowerment of women. Uber in South Africa has demonstrated that they understand the needs of their female drivers. They recently launched the option for female drivers to pick up only female passengers. This increases feelings of safety, independence and empowerment for female drivers whose needs were clearly heard and met by Uber.

Build Buyer Personas Like A Pro

Want to know how building your personas can guide your innovation, ideal product design and service delivery to ensure a superlative customer and employee experience? Be in touch with the Interact RDT team today.