Yesterday, I participated in one of the coolest things I’ve ever done here at Solid Earth. Well, the first time I flew an office helicopter was pretty awesome. Let’s just say I did the coolest thing I’ve ever done here in the office while sitting.
Here’s what we did.
A few weeks ago, our newest development hire, Adam Campbell, sent several of us a document titled, “Spring Design Persona”. It was a few pages worth of questions designed to get our thoughts about what the “personality” of Spring, our new MLS platform, should be.
That’s right. Spring’s personality. Have you ever considered that software might have a personality? It certainly does. Consider what Hotmail’s persona might be. Or iTunes or Angry Birds. What would Microsoft Word’s persona be? In other words, if MS Word were a human, what might that human be like? Look like? Talk like? What are their values, character, strengths and weaknesses?
For some reason I keep thinking of Mr. MS Word as Bill Gates. Why? Word is pretty utilitarian. No frills, just straight-forward click and type, edit, print, etc. I bet my MS Word user experience mirrors sitting in Mr. Gate’s office. No frills. Effective but, yeah.
That’s a persona.
Spring will certainly have a persona as well.
Our meeting where Adam reviewed and displayed our various answers was at first hilarious and then very, very interesting. Some of us envisioned that Spring is male. Others female. Words used to describe Spring were things like “intelligent” but “not condescending” or “beautiful” but not “self-absorbed”. It was totally fascinating to hear a group of people so involved in creating a product describe it using human characteristics. Very cool and thought-provoking.
So we’re taking these results and putting them into practice. Adam, who is in charge of the UI and UX (user interface and user experience) will digest all this data we provided and design accordingly. That sounds like a big job, but when you know that Spring is cool and hip, into new technology, but you can talk to him/her without feeling ignorant, it helps you make informed design decisions.
Do me a favor. Take a second and consider what the persona might be of your organization. If your MLS or brokerage was a person, what would they be like? How old are they? Male or female? Are they stern and serious or fun and outgoing? Do they act carefully and thoughtfully? Random and risky? Big spenders or cheap? Are they accessible or stand-offish?
With the Spring persona, we even got down to education level, body art and favorite pets. It may sound crazy, but to know the persona of your product is to know its direction. I will be able to sell the concept of Spring much better when I know (and like and respect) the person I’ve made her (mine was a her) to be.
So, try this yourself.
What kind of person is your organization. Be very honest. Do you like that person? Would you want to work with them?