Hey everyone! I am back with another post in the Improving Your Life Like it’s Your Business series. Part One in the series – Creating Your Personal Vision Statement, can be found here.
In this post we will talk about how and why you should develop your own Persona. In Software Design, User Experience Designers will develop Personas to better understand and start documenting all of the wants, needs, frustrations and motivations of their end users in order to develop a better product. This is a powerful exercise that you can do for yourself to help understand your own wants, needs , frustrations and motivations in a different way. Personas help make goal setting more impactful and help you achieve all of the things that you REALLY want in life.
Software Design teams will do a ton of research and data analysis to really understand their end users before they develop a persona that represents a group of people – users of an app or or a piece of software. We really don’t need to do that since our Persona is just for one person – ourselves.
As moms, we are often more concerned with what others need – our kids, our husbands, our pets before we really dig in and think about what we are all about. I know I am guilty of this! Its VERY interesting to really start delving into the things that bug us or our biggest motivators to lead us to understanding and getting to the root of what we want most!
I find that some of the questions in life are right in front of me – I just need to learn to ask questions. That is one of the things I love about Human Centered design – you just need to learn to start asking some questions and you will be amazed at what you find out. Simple, right?
Note – while I am not an Expert User Experience Designer, I do work in this space and with end users for software in my job.
So lets get started!
Decide how to document.
In my previous post, I mentioned using sticky notes or a white board to create your Personal Vision Statement. You can do the same thing for your Persona. I like to use a tool called Mural, but there is a great free tool out there called Stormboard that you can use for this. You just want something that lets you move your ideas around easily. A piece of paper and an pencil with eraser works just fine in a pinch!
Find a Picture of Yourself
This might seem like an unnecessary step (since it is you), but I really think it is worthwhile. Having a picture of yourself will help you to visualize who you are and want you want better than just staring at a blank canvas with a ton of text. It will also help to keep this exercise focused on the user – YOU! Place your picture at the top of your document. Under the picture, write your name.
List out your Demographics
Writing down your demographic information is important because it kind of frames the picture of who you are and what you may need in life. You have a picture of yourself so it only makes sense to put it in a frame, right?
Here are some examples of items you could include in this section. You can pick and choose what you want to include, but just remember, the better the frame the clearer the picture.
- Family Size
- Marital Status
Describe yourself in 5 Characteristics
This is pretty self explanatory, but to give you a few examples, think about words other people would use to describe yourself.
- Are you an introvert or extrovert?
- Do you tend to be extremely loyal?
- Are you highly ambitious or more laid back in your approach to life?
- Maybe you are creative or more analytical
There isn’t really a right or wrong way to write out your characteristics – they just need to be a good true description of yourself. Again, we are building a picture of YOU!
Pain Points or Frustrations
What things in life frustrate you the most? This step is so important, because it will really give you some things to work on with your goals.
My one suggestion here is to think back to your Personal Vision Statement and then think about what things frustrate you in relation to achieving that vision. Is it that you can’t seem to get out of debt? Is it that your house is super unorganized and the chaos is getting to you? Maybe you’re feeling like you don’t make the best use of your time and procrastinate to much.
Don’t get too into the weeds with your frustrations (like your dog keeps jumping on the couch) and keep them in line your vision of your best self.
What are your Motivators
What makes you happy or gets you excited?
I like to think of motivators as your mini rewards in life. They are things that make you happy and therefore help push you towards your goals. If you can isolate the things that really motivate you, then you will really accelerate your path to arriving at your goals (which we will set in the next post.)
- Are you motivated by the ability to help others?
- Does having extra income motivate you because it will allow you to travel?
- Does stress motivate you?
- How about your family?
One general question you may have in this exercise is “motivate towards what – or in relation to what?” Don’t forget, we are keeping our Personal Vision Statement in mind as part of this exercise. If you are on the struggle bus with this one, read your PVS and ask yourself – “what are my motivations for wanting all of my visions?” and just start writing. This is probably the hardest part of this exercise, but I promise, it will come to you.
If you would like to see some examples of User personas you can check some out here and here. As you can see, every persona is a little different based on the area it is being developed for. If you want to add different topics go for it! Don’t forget – this is YOUR persona.
Now that you have developed your own Persona, reflect on it and ask yourself – does this remind me of myself? Was I being true to myself when I wrote this? Another idea is to have someone else that knows you well create your persona. You could do this with a friend or a spouse . It is great to get our own perspective, but it is also extremely interesting to see someone else’s perception of your persona and compare!
Now that we have our Personal Vision Statement and Personas set we are ready to set some goals. We will walk through my simple process of goal-setting in our next post! Hopefully you have found through these first two exercises that this process are both rewarding and pretty easy at the same time.