“So who are we designing for?”
That should be the first question of every single project.
It should be followed by, “What are their motivations?” or “What are their goals?” If you don’t know who you’re designing for, wireframing is a waste of time. I was once at fault: I would start projects without doing user research because I never thought there was time. After a few failed projects and wasted hours, I started every new project with at least some research so I could understand the target audience.
There is always time. Understanding your audience is essential to building great products.
One cost-effective approach of modeling your audience is personas.Personas are user models derived from data to solve design questions. They are not new (my apologies to Alan Cooper), but are a derivative of market research with origins in the 1920’s. Personas are valuable, but are biased because they are based on assumptions and data selected by error-prone humans.
Well constructed personas work because they are a starting point to define the users the product owners should identify with. They narrow the design focus and generate questions like “How would much value would this persona have for this product?”