Polaris User Personas


Up until last year, Polaris had extensive experience using marketing personas but very little of it was applicable to ecommerce and almost none of it was relevant to user experience design. So, when the time came, the product manager and myself set about putting in a few sprints to create as set of lean personas we could use as foundation to an on-going set of user personas with which to reference UX assumptions.


We decided to play to our strengths. In the spirit of lean personas, there wasn’t much time or budget to actually identify, recruit and interview a set of different Polaris brand customers. What we did have, however, was not just the existing extensive agency-conducted marketing studies but also a wealth of online metrics including user surveys, online user session recordings and social media analytics. The Ride Command team had just produced a number of valuable video interviews with actual riders during Camp RZR and our customer service hotline personnel was, unsurprisingly, alive with stories on our customers pain and frustration points.


What we discovered about the Polaris customer at the time rocked many of the internal assumptions perpetuated within the company, but confirmed much of what we knew would happen if we explored our customers’ mental models within the context of ecommerce activity. Age, gender, culture, education or familiarity with technology all varied, sometimes significantly, depending on product, category vertical or brand, more so than previously assumed, but also evolved over time as much as the company’s offerings did. This laid the foundation for an ongoing approach to live persona understanding positively impacting Polaris’ user experience work going forward.

User Personas
(UX researcher, gathering and distilling data from other groups)

Polaris Industries


the data

After much detective work and internal networking, I unearthed a wealth of data from all of the different departments, some had been shared, much forgotten or overlooked. All of it helped us better understand our users, and build with their needs in mind. It positively impacted the way we met our business goals and helped bring focus to many of our key performance indicators.

People at Polaris said

  • Alfonso is one of the most talented user experience professionals that I've had the opportunity to work with. He truly understands UX is not just about shiny designs, but more about taking the time to have customer empathy, solve their pain points and deliver compelling experiences. Alfonso was also instrumental in helping push the team toward a true agile framework by supporting the team through user validation research, guerrilla testing and driving lean UX practices. He is a product managers best friend.

    Robert Mews E-Commerce Product Manager
  • I worked with Alfonso on an ecommerce team for a little over a year. From the moment he joined the team, Alfonso was ready to take on any challenge that came his way. He is a true leader in a business and user experience sense. Alfonso doesn't let tools define him, but he instead uses tools in innovative ways to solve problems for users. He mentored me for over a year and truly shaped the designer I am today. I would work with him again in a heartbeat. I would recommend him to anyone who wants to think in new ways, and create effective experiences for all users.

    Barb Krueger Ux & Visual Designer
foxor5Alfonso’s Portfolio: Polaris User Personas