AI-Powered Interactive User Personas

May 2, 2023
Suzanne Reeves & Kirk Clyne

AI-Powered Interactive User Personas

If there's one thing we founders have in common, it's that we dream of creating a product or service that our customers simply can't live without. Understanding your customer is the key to attaining that magical product market fit.

We conducted what turned out to be a fascinating experiment using AI and Design Thinking to fast-forward this process.

The big question we wanted to answer: Can AI help you know your customer better (and faster)?

The TL;DR answer is YES, and we’re about to show you how.

The Goal: Interactive User Personas!

You've likely gone through the process of doing customer interviews, surveys, user testing, and/or other research to better understand your target audience.

But what do you do with all that data? How do you distill it down to the key insights that will help you on the road to product market fit?

User personas are the answer.

A cheat sheet for knowing your customer

User personas are fictional profiles — based on real data from real people — that represent your customers, giving you a quick snapshot of their key traits, behaviors, and dreams.

Example of a user persona
An example of a user persona created by a UX designer (Source)

Creating user personas is a key strategy from the design thinking playbook, but if you're new to this (and short on money for a UX pro like us), then the process can be overwhelming, confusing and time consuming.

It’s easy to make unintended errors that create personas that are more aspirational in nature than precise.

Analyzing and translating the mass of information you’ve gathered about your target audience into a set of concise, well-articulated insights is not as easy as it may seem.

There’s a better way

With ChatGPT4, we’ll show you how to take a lot of the guesswork out of the synthesis and formatting of your data.

Better yet, imagine if there was a way to not only create quality user personas in seconds, but interact with them—asking them questions to uncover more potential insights about your target audience.

That's exactly what we did and the results blew our minds. (And, yes, the “4” matters. More on that later.)

But…don’t take a shortcut

Before we share our approach, we're going to share how not to use ChatGPT to create user personas.

Many so-called tutorials or tips out there will tell you to straight up ask ChatGPT to "Generate 3 personas for ___", with little or no preliminary information.

"UXWorld" suggested this misguided prompt for creating personas

Don't be tempted to skip the customer research process entirely to save time. Without accurate customer data from real people, your personas will sound legit but won’t be based on the real insights that are essential for achieving product market fit.

Designing a product or service based on such personas will take you off-track and can lead to a whole heap of problems — from design duds to ineffective marketing, wasted resources, customer dissatisfaction, and stalled growth.

Step 1: Gather target audience data

Gather the following info about your target, from your customer interviews, surveys, or other forms of user research and insert it into a single text document for easy reference:

  1. Define your target audience: Write a clear description of your target audience. Include any relevant demographic, geographic, and psychographic information, such as age, location, interests, and needs.
  2. Identify key traits: Summarize details about your target audience's specific goals, motivations, and challenges / pain points. Include details about any other traits or behavior relevant to your customer.

Pro tip: Be specific. The more specific you are about your target audience, the more accurate the persona generated by ChatGPT will be.

We recommend putting your text in a format similar to this, adding your own details:

"Please create personas using the following data:

Our business: <add description>
Our target audience: <add description>

Demographic information:
Age: <add info>
Location: <add info>
Job type: <add info>
Interests: <add info>
Values: <add info>
Needs: <add info>

Key traits:
Goals: <add info>
Motivations: <add info>
Challenges: <add info>"

You may expand or modify the list as needed for your audience.

In our case, we gathered information on a target audience we know a lot about: Designers! We interviewed over 20 designers about the problems they are facing at work, their awareness of AI-enabled design tools, and their concerns about how AI might impact their job security. In addition to the items listed above, we also included details on our customers' perspectives on AI.

Once you've summarized your data, copy all your text and move on to Step 2.

Step 2: Enter your data as a single text prompt

For this step, we strongly recommend you use ChatGPT4. Version 4 has major improvements in reasoning, concise summarizing, and factual accuracy. As of May 15th, it is also now connected to the internet, so it can access up-to-date information. It also lets you use longer prompts, as is necessary for this prompt.

(To use it, sign up for ChatGPT Plus, choose version 4 from the dropdown, and enjoy the most knowledgeable VA you’ll ever hire for only $20/month.)

Open up ChatGPT4 and create the following text prompt:

Type “Please create personas using the following information:” and then paste in your text from Step 1, and press return.

ChatGPT4 will immediately begin to create your personas.

A screenshot of our own prompt and data that follows the format described
A sample of the data we provided as part of our experiment

(As an aside, we thought we’d share a suggestion about how to talk to ChatGPT. 👇)

A meme showing a line of dominoes knocked over up until a hand that stops the rest from being knocked down. Text over top of the knocked down dominoes reads "robot apocalypse;" text over the protected dominoes "The human race;" the text over the hand: "Me saying please to ChatGPT."
You don't have to be polite to ChatGPT...but it can't hurt! (Source: Reddit)

Reviewing our results:

What we got back from our prompt was impressive.

ChatGPT4 chose to create 3 well-defined personas — for Sam, David and Michelle — that looked like the work of a professional UX designer, but took only seconds to create!

The personas reflected our audience well and we saved both time and money.

A screenshot of one of the personas created for us by ChatGPT4
Have you worked with a designer like Sam? We have.

We even asked for a physical description of the personas and fed that information to Midjourney to create realistic portraits.

A realistic photo of "David" one of our user personas
“David” as described by ChatGPT4

Had we stopped our experiment at this point, it would have been well worth the effort. But what happened next was jaw dropping.

Step 3: Interview your AI-powered personas

This is where the experience became magical.

Unlike traditional static personas, you can interact with these personas once ChatGPT4 has created them!

Pro tip: Ask open-ended questions. To get the most detailed responses, ask open-ended questions that encourage the persona to share their thoughts and feelings.

In the interest of science, we started out by asking Sam, David and Michelle the same questions we'd asked our real-world designers. The responses were pretty darn close!

Then we went further and asked new questions, like what might motivate them to buy a mentorship program and what they'd be willing to pay.

David, for example, came back with a specific range of what he would be willing to pay. His answer may or may not reflect market value but, more importantly, David laid bare his decision-making process about how he came up with his answer.

He said he did market research, but also took a number of other criteria into consideration, like group size, the relevancy and structure of the content, and the experience level and reputation of the instructors.

When we told David about our real world qualifications, the bonus 1-on-1 private sessions, and our user-centric approach, the price he said he would be willing to pay doubled!

As a founder, you can imagine how our eyes lit up reading that!

Keep in mind, these personas aren't real people and the answers shouldn't be treated as such. But the responses gave us fresh ideas for new follow-up interview questions, marketing copy, and a potential upgrade to our pricing model.

The interactivity helped us generate ideas and potential insights that we would have missed had we merely created static personas.

The value we gained using this process went well beyond simply ‘time saved.’

Step 4: Validate your results

This is a general best practice: Always validate your AI-generated info. ChatGPT can sometimes disagree with established facts or get a bit creative with stats.

A reminder of the fact that ChatGPT may produce inaccurate information about people, places or facts.
This is literally written right below the prompt box in ChatGPT and yet people still seem to forget this is the case

You still need to do your own research — ahead of time, to seed ChatGPT properly; and after the fact, to vet what it tells you.

Wrapping up

In summary, our experiment was a success.

We found ChatGPT to be a powerhouse tool for understanding our customers—it saved us time, money and provided exponential value.

Using ChatGPT4 to create interactive user personas was both a game-changer and a blast!

We'll take a moment here to say that if you can afford to hire a UX professional to do user research and create personas, that's the gold standard. Even ChatGPT4 cannot replace the insights that a UX designer will bring to understanding human motivations and behavior. (We would then take their work and give it to ChatGPT to create the interactive personas.)

But, in our opinion, this process is a reasonable alternative if that's not an option for you.


Suzanne has over two decades of design experience, a degree in Psychology from the University of Toronto and a BFA from Emily Carr University in Vancouver. Suzanne has led design & dev teams, worked on multi-million dollar projects, and spent 10 years running a 6-figure design firm as a solopreneur. She has been integrating cutting-edge technologies like AI and no code into her workflow for many years.

Kirk is a creative leader, design manager, and experience designer with a 20-year career that started in the dot com boom in San Francisco. Kirk previously co-founded Art & Science, a digital design agency that landed on the Globe & Mail’s Growth 400 list, and that is ranked as the #1 digital marketing agency worldwide on He sits on the board of the Bachelor of Design and UXD Certificate programs at Humber University, regularly sites on design awards juries, and is ranked in the top 1% of design mentors on ADP.