Personas are used to help in web design — especially in optimizing its content. The goal is to identify important user types and speak to them in their own language. Personas are traditionally archetypes,
- A single, 50-something female executive researching healthcare options for her mother, and intending to share her findings with her siblings
- A young man who works as a car mechanic, considering buying an engagement ring online and afraid of making a mistake
- An elected city official responsible for recommending a source for a fleet of utility vehicles, who is unaccustomed to using the internet
Purchasing styles are implied within those personas, and those varying styles are key to how a site is designed to cultivate interest and close the online sale. It’s knowledge of these varying purchasing styles that helps set the tone and composition of a site — choosing what goes where on a page, and how is it presented.
This begs the question: Since purchasing styles are so important, why can’t you focus on those alone, and place other aspects of a persona on the back burner? The answer is you can.
Roy H. Williams, along with The Eisenburg Brothers, tout a four-quadrant system for categorizing a person’s purchasing style. It is as follows:
- Fast + Logical = “Competitive”
- Fast + Emotional = “Spontaneous”
- Slow + Emotional = “Humanistic”
- Slow + Logical = “Methodical”
Books like this one from The Brothers Eisenberg are all well and good. But they can be fairly lifeless. Then, this morning, I saw their dimensional approach brought to life. It was in a video produced by Patrick Sullivan, Jr., showing the home page of Mint.com, a slick personal finance site. See for yourself how various modes of purchasing are successfully addressed on this excellent site.