What kind of people are your users
Successful applications solve problems for the user.
The first step is to understand the audience of your application. A useful approach is to describe the users with a persona.
The persona is a profile that includes a story about your user including the situation, context, problems, etc.. With this profile it’s easier for you to design the experience in your application.
|Trainee as a furniture designer
|Max has a girlfriend, eats mostly vegetarian, is living in a large city, is traveling with his bike
|Max cares about the climate. He likes to live in a sustainable way, but he does not find information about his personal impact of his daily behavior.
|Wants to learn more about how he can live in a more sustainable way
With a persona you are able to design the information architecture, the workflow within your application, the mood, etc.
But be aware: Your first persona is just a rough assumption of your user. Something that can be wrong. You have to redesign it over and over again to get a more clear view of your users. You can improve the persona through interviews, surveys, behavior tracking, etc. For example during the learn phase of the Lean Startup cycle.