User Personas N26


With 700+ new employees, N26 needed a compelling way to translate user needs into tangible stories aligning global, cross-functional teams. I was part of a 3 person team responsible for idea generation, concepting and the full production.


Photoshoot and interivew day. Berlin, Germany 

UX Challenges

User Personas have repeatedly fallen flat with our internal teams. We were up against 3 failed attempts from past teams, a segregated pool of research and an extremely fast growing user base. With months of research and 6 weeks ahead of us until project release our team of 3 (Lead Researcher, Sr. Designer, Sr. Videographer) sat down to understand how to make the research come alive for our internal teams.

I took a lead role or actively particpated in these areas:   

Overall Concepting
Photoshoot Organization
User Journey Mapping

Workshop Facilitation
Internal Tools
Presentation and Onboarding
Research Synthesis
Internal Stakeholder Management


UX Solution

Photographs and video more than almost anything else, have a special emotional appeal: they are personal, they tell stories. We chose to use this medium because its power lies in its ability to transport our team into someone else's perspective. It was when they watched the videos or looked at photographs that they really started to materialize what it means to think about the customer while building products. 



Making a short list of actors for casting

Challenge & Solution #1

One challenge we faced was the decision to use actors instead of real customers. We understood that our personas are composites which represent groups of people based on shared needs, behaviours and motivations. With this understanding, we chose to hire actors which best represent this subgroup.


Auditions for casting actors (2 days - 18 people)

Challenge & Solution #2

N26 is available in 24 markets. A challenge we saw early on was our diverse teams use of Personas for their global markets. To address this, we made sure that the personas could act as a strong foundation for the localized markets more refined data. We tested this internally and found that not only localized teams built upon the personas but also internal teams were able to use these foundations better than imagined.


Tools created to assist teams during inceptions, sprints and retrospectives

We found that we had to have a workshop with each of our teams to introduce deeper to our personas, show them how to use them effectively and what the value of this tool really is. Overall, the outcome of the work that went into the videos, scripts and photography is beginning to show as our internal teams use them to make product and marketing decisions. 


Posters of all of our personas are hung up throughout our offices in New York, Berlin and Barcelona

N26 Persona – Jamie

Jamie - Adapting to responsibility while keeping life simple.  


Ela - Discovering freedom that fits her lifestyle

N26 Persona Bianca/Michael

Bianca & Michael - Building a life together in the most seamless way possible

Results & Learnings

As a result of this project I believe that personas are a great tool for internal alignment, however, I have found it difficult to explain that a "persona is a fictional human, a composite that represents a group of individuals". 

I believe that two things would have made this project stronger. One, the timing in which it was delivered. It was presented 1-week before Christmas and it was hard to bring back the momentum in January. Secondly, I would have tested the teams acceptance to archetypes over personas. Often people can identify themselves stronger with a category of individuals rather than what seems like "one person". 

Taryn Niesena

Taryn Niesena
Berlin, Germany

Taryn Niesena
Berlin, Germany