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Improving Personas with Jobs to be Done

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Personas are approachable, emotionally readable and help teams to condense and easily reference insights about what different customer groups do and why. Unfortunately, many traditional marketing and design personas that you encounter in organizations today are fundamentally flawed.

Demographics, aspirations and life goals do not determine why a person chooses a product. It's not who the customer is, but in what situation they are in that determines what they will want or need. Once customers realize that something is not good enough – that progress is possible or necessary – they act. They often override their stated preferences and attitudes.

Traditional personas fail to explain the causal behavior between context and the different life events, emotions and circumstances that shape the customer's journey towards a "new me". Even "good personas" that do not include irrelevant data usually don't tell a story of change that can be easily understood by every team member. They simply list a multitude of behaviors a customer group exhibits, without explaining in which situation each behavior makes sense and which behaviors are relevant for the product. Ambiguous personas can mislead your team and promote clichés.

The Jobs to be Done lens helps you to focus your persona on what causes behavior and discard everything else. In this presentation, you will learn how to frame your personas correctly, allowing you to communicate what matters to your team, reduce ambiguity and enhance the narrative advantages that made personas strong in the first place.

Published in: Design
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Improving Personas with Jobs to be Done

  1. 1. IMPROVING PERSONAS IMPROVING PERSONAS @DESIGNAMYTE ANDREJ@BALAZ.DE ANDREJ BALAZ SERVICE AND UX DESIGNER
  2. 2. IMPROVING PERSONAS IMPROVING PERSONAS
  3. 3. PERSONAS CONDENSE USER RESEARCH INSIGHTS ABOUT CUSTOMER BEHAVIOUR
  4. 4. PERSONAS CONDENSE USER RESEARCH INSIGHTS ABOUT CUSTOMER BEHAVIOUR BUILD EMPATHY IN THE TEAM GUIDE AND FOCUS DESIGN DECISIONS
  5. 5. FACE Be approachable, emotionally readable and memorable.
  6. 6. SETTING Illustrate customers’ physical, emotional and social context concretely. FACE Be approachable, emotionally readable and memorable.
  7. 7. SETTING Illustrate customers’ physical, emotional and social context concretely. FACE Be approachable, emotionally readable and memorable. STORY Demonstrate how people act and why.
  8. 8. PERSONAS NEED TO TELL A COMPLETE STORY
  9. 9. PERSONAS NEED TO TELL A COMPLETE STORY AVOID BIASES AND DESIGN FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS, NOT YOURSELF
  10. 10. MANY PERSONAS ARE FLAWED MANY PERSONAS AREFLAWED
  11. 11. SOURCE: HTTPS://FAKECROW.COM/FREE-PERSONA-TEMPLATE/
  12. 12. PITFALL OF A PERSONA SOURCE: HTTPS://FAKECROW.COM/FREE-PERSONA-TEMPLATE/ IRRELEVANT INFORMATION Attributes, general preferences, favourite brands, attitudes etc. do not explain how customers act and why. They misguide your decisions and support clichés. 1
  13. 13. SOURCE: HTTPS://FAKECROW.COM/FREE-PERSONA-TEMPLATE/ IMPROVEMENT PROVIDE CONTEXT, EXPLAIN CAUSALITY, DISCARD THE REST Only include actionable bits of information. Ask yourself: Can I design something based on this insight? Context reduces ambiguity and biased thinking. Aspirations change with context. Observe tradeoffs made in relation to the struggle. Example: Novelty vs. Reliability, Flexible Price vs. Flatrate, etc. Which context is relevant and why? Example: New York is a large city, which means better access to information. This can have implications for marketing. How did these preferences influence behaviour? Remove it if you can’t provide context. 1
  14. 14. OLD WAY Business TravellerElderly, 65-85 FOCUS ON THE PERSON, NOT A JTBD Listing several struggles and situations increases ambiguity and blurs the persona. PITFALL OF A PERSONA 2
  15. 15. IMPROVEMENT SEGMENT YOUR CUSTOMERS BY STRUGGLES IN CONTEXT, NOT DEMOGRAPHICS OR ATTRIBUTES Each persona should stand for a situation in which a job-to-be-done arises. A very diverse group of people can act similarly when they face a similar situation. Consequently, they can end up hiring the same solution. Tip: Reference other personas in your persona if they share situations and the desired progress (JTBD). 2 Elderly, who lives too far away from the bus stop and dislikes the city senior taxi. Business traveller, who needs to get to the meeting fast and it’s raining. OLD WAY NEW WAY JTBD Business TravellerElderly, 65-85
  16. 16. PITFALL OF A PERSONA SOURCE: HTTPS://FAKECROW.COM/FREE-PERSONA-TEMPLATE/ FOCUS ON CURRENT SOLUTIONS, NOT VALUE Personas often reference pain points customers experience with the current product, but don’t show what else the customers considered and used. This makes it more difficult to qualify what truly matters to the customer and can limit the persona’s creative potential. 3
  17. 17. IMPROVEMENT TELL THE WHOLE STORY OF STRUGGLE AND PROGRESS TO ILLUSTRATE WHAT YOUR CUSTOMER VALUES 3 LOOKING FOR NEW SOLUTIONS FORCES FIRED SOLUTIONS HIRED SOLUTIONS AND DESIRED PROGRESS CONTEXT & STRUGGLE
  18. 18. EXAMPLEEXAMPLE
  19. 19. JOHN, ELDERLY MAN WITH A CHRONIC LEG ISSUE “Help me to be able to move around freely without being seen as old.” STRUGGLE John used to be a very active person, but with increased age, his leg started to limit his mobility. During his everyday life, he strug- gles with reaching his therapy comfortably on time. Taking the bus is pretty difficult und unsatisfying. The bus stop is pretty far so it takes a while to reach and since he is living in a small town, he needs to take it very early in the morning. He dislikes calling the city’s “senior taxi”, because it makes him feel helpless and old. Entering the public bus with his slow leg is similarly embarassing, so he is usually forced to take a taxi, even though his financ- es take a hit by using it regularly. Towards the end of the month, as money gets tight, he simply skips therapy. JOB STORY When I am trying to reach the city on a specific time but it’s too difficult or embarassing to take the bus, I want a way to get there comfortably without the need to walk far or to climb stairs, I want to know that I arrive on time, I want to avoid beeing seen as old and sick, so I can arrive on time without difficulties and feeling helpless. SIMILAR TO • THE VILLAGE KID TRYING TO REACH SCHOOL ON TIME • EMPLOYEE, TOO LATE TO WORK CONTEXT • Cannot drive anymore. • Has no family in the same city. • Money gets tight towards end of the month. • Visits therapy regularly early in the morning. • Bus stop is far away and bus comes seldomly. VALUES Privacy Crowd Cheap fares Comfort Be in Charge Be Supported +Bus stop is too far. Can’t walk long distances. +Alternatives are expensive +Knows he should go to therapy +Be punctual +Travel privately - Feels like he is bothering people - Fears that he will be picked up by a large bus - Knows his cab driver - Cab is “worth it.” - Skips therapy if needed HIRES • Taxi in the morning if he needs to get to therapy on time • Missing therapy, towards end of the month WHY • Be punctual. • Don’t walk stairs • Avoid prying eyes. • Spare money WHY • Nowhere to sit • Feels observed • Makes him feel old and helpless. • Feels like he is bothering people FIRES • Bus in the morning when it’s full of people • City taxi for the elderly PUSHES AND PULLS CURRENTSTAGE PASSIVE LOOKINGSTRUGGLING ACTIVE LOOKING DECIDING SWITCH USAGE HABITS AND ANXIETIESPROCESS OF HIRING AN ON-DEMAND BUS
  20. 20. JOHN, ELDERLY MAN WITH A CHRONIC LEG ISSUE “Help me to be able to move around freely without being seen as old.” STRUGGLE John used to be a very active person, but with increased age, his leg started to limit his mobility. During his everyday life, he strug- gles with reaching his therapy comfortably on time. Taking the bus is pretty difficult und unsatisfying. The bus stop is pretty far so it takes a while to reach and since he is living in a small town, he needs to take it very early in the morning. He dislikes calling the city’s “senior taxi”, because it makes him feel helpless and old. Entering the public bus with his slow leg is similarly embarassing, so he is usually forced to take a taxi, even though his financ- es take a hit by using it regularly. Towards the end of the month, as money gets tight, he simply skips therapy. JOB STORY When I am trying to reach the city on a specific time but it’s too difficult or embarassing to take the bus, I want a way to get there comfortably without the need to walk far or to climb stairs, I want to know that I arrive on time, I want to avoid beeing seen as old and sick, so I can arrive on time without difficulties and feeling helpless. SIMILAR TO • THE VILLAGE KID TRYING TO REACH SCHOOL ON TIME • EMPLOYEE, TOO LATE TO WORK CONTEXT • Cannot drive anymore. • Has no family in the same city. • Money gets tight towards end of the month. • Visits therapy regularly early in the morning. • Bus stop is far away and bus comes seldoml VALUES Privacy Crowd Cheap fares Comfort Be in Charge Be Supported +Bus stop is too far. Can’t walk long distances. +Alternatives are expensive +Knows he should go to therapy +Be punctual +Travel privately - Feels like he is bothering people - Fears that he will be picked up by a large bus - Knows his cab driver - Cab is “worth it.” - Skips therapy if needed HIRES • Taxi in the morning if he needs to get to therapy on time • Missing therapy, towards end of the month WHY • Be punctual. • Don’t walk stairs • Avoid prying eyes. • Spare money WHY • Nowhere to sit • Feels observed • Makes him feel old and helpless. • Feels like he is bothering people FIRES • Bus in the morning when it’s full of people • City taxi for the elderly PUSHES AND PULLS CURRENTSTAGE PASSIVE LOOKINGSTRUGGLING ACTIVE LOOKING DECIDING SWITCH USAGE HABITS AND ANXIETIESHIRING PROCESS Tell a story. Where is the customer coming from? What’s their situation and struggle? Sum it up in a job story (or stories). This helps you in the design process. Describe hired and fired solutions to reveal value and build a foundation for your job story’s middle part.
  21. 21. JOHN, ELDERLY MAN WITH A CHRONIC LEG ISSUE “Help me to be able to move around freely without being seen as old.” STRUGGLE John used to be a very active person, but with increased age, his leg started to limit his mobility. During his everyday life, he strug- gles with reaching his therapy comfortably on time. Taking the bus is pretty difficult und unsatisfying. The bus stop is pretty far so it takes a while to reach and since he is living in a small town, he needs to take it very early in the morning. He dislikes calling the city’s “senior taxi”, because it makes him feel helpless and old. Entering the public bus with his slow leg is similarly embarassing, so he is usually forced to take a taxi, even though his financ- es take a hit by using it regularly. Towards the end of the month, as money gets tight, he simply skips therapy. JOB STORY When I am trying to reach the city on a specific time but it’s too difficult or embarassing to take the bus, I want a way to get there comfortably without the need to walk far or to climb stairs, I want to know that I arrive on time, I want to avoid beeing seen as old and sick, so I can arrive on time without difficulties and feeling helpless. SIMILAR TO • THE VILLAGE KID TRYING TO REACH SCHOOL ON TIME • EMPLOYEE, TOO LATE TO WORK CONTEXT • Cannot drive anymore. • Has no family in the same city. • Money gets tight towards end of the month. • Visits therapy regularly early in the morning. • Bus stop is far away and bus comes seldoml VALUES Privacy Crowd Cheap fares Comfort Be in Charge Be Supported +Bus stop is too far. Can’t walk long distances. +Alternatives are expensive +Knows he should go to therapy +Be punctual +Travel privately - Feels like he is bothering people - Fears that he will be picked up by a large bus - Knows his cab driver - Cab is “worth it.” - Skips therapy if needed HIRES • Taxi in the morning if he needs to get to therapy on time • Missing therapy, towards end of the month WHY • Be punctual. • Don’t walk stairs • Avoid prying eyes. • Spare money WHY • Nowhere to sit • Feels observed • Makes him feel old and helpless. • Feels like he is bothering people FIRES • Bus in the morning when it’s full of people • City taxi for the elderly PUSHES AND PULLS CURRENTSTAGE PASSIVE LOOKINGSTRUGGLING ACTIVE LOOKING DECIDING SWITCH USAGE HABITS AND ANXIETIESHIRING PROCESS Bullets are your friends. Describe trade- offs to reveal value. A name helps your team to reference this struggle. A call-out for help sums up the JTBD.
  22. 22. JOHN, ELDERLY MAN WITH A CHRONIC LEG ISSUE “Help me to be able to move around freely without being seen as old.” STRUGGLE John used to be a very active person, but with increased age, his leg started to limit his mobility. During his everyday life, he strug- gles with reaching his therapy comfortably on time. Taking the bus is pretty difficult und unsatisfying. The bus stop is pretty far so it takes a while to reach and since he is living in a small town, he needs to take it very early in the morning. He dislikes calling the city’s “senior taxi”, because it makes him feel helpless and old. Entering the public bus with his slow leg is similarly embarassing, so he is usually forced to take a taxi, even though his financ- es take a hit by using it regularly. Towards the end of the month, as money gets tight, he simply skips therapy. JOB STORY When I am trying to reach the city on a specific time but it’s too difficult or embarassing to take the bus, I want a way to get there comfortably without the need to walk far or to climb stairs, I want to know that I arrive on time, I want to avoid beeing seen as old and sick, so I can arrive on time without difficulties and feeling helpless. SIMILAR TO • THE VILLAGE KID TRYING TO REACH SCHOOL ON TIME • EMPLOYEE, TOO LATE TO WORK CONTEXT • Cannot drive anymore. • Has no family in the same city. • Money gets tight towards end of the month. • Visits therapy regularly early in the morning. • Bus stop is far away and bus comes seldoml VALUES Privacy Crowd Cheap fares Comfort Be in Charge Be Supported +Bus stop is too far. Can’t walk long distances. +Alternatives are expensive +Knows he should go to therapy +Be punctual +Travel privately - Feels like he is bothering people - Fears that he will be picked up by a large bus - Knows his cab driver - Cab is “worth it.” - Skips therapy if needed HIRES • Taxi in the morning if he needs to get to therapy on time • Missing therapy, towards end of the month WHY • Be punctual. • Don’t walk stairs • Avoid prying eyes. • Spare money WHY • Nowhere to sit • Feels observed • Makes him feel old and helpless. • Feels like he is bothering people FIRES • Bus in the morning when it’s full of people • City taxi for the elderly PUSHES AND PULLS CURRENTSTAGE PASSIVE LOOKINGSTRUGGLING ACTIVE LOOKING DECIDING SWITCH USAGE HABITS AND ANXIETIESHIRING PROCESS Forces mapped along the purchase timeline help your design and marketing to get a feeling for the customer’s journey from their old solution to your new product.
  23. 23. JOHN, ELDERLY MAN WITH A CHRONIC LEG ISSUE “Help me to be able to move around freely without being seen as old.” STRUGGLE John used to be a very active person, but with increased age, his leg started to limit his mobility. During his everyday life, he strug- gles with reaching his therapy comfortably on time. Taking the bus is pretty difficult und unsatisfying. The bus stop is pretty far so it takes a while to reach and since he is living in a small town, he needs to take it very early in the morning. He dislikes calling the city’s “senior taxi”, because it makes him feel helpless and old. Entering the public bus with his slow leg is similarly embarassing, so he is usually forced to take a taxi, even though his financ- es take a hit by using it regularly. Towards the end of the month, as money gets tight, he simply skips therapy. JOB STORY When I am trying to reach the city on a specific time but it’s too difficult or embarassing to take the bus, I want a way to get there comfortably without the need to walk far or to climb stairs, I want to know that I arrive on time, I want to avoid beeing seen as old and sick, so I can arrive on time without difficulties and feeling helpless. SIMILAR TO • THE VILLAGE KID TRYING TO REACH SCHOOL ON TIME • EMPLOYEE, TOO LATE TO WORK CONTEXT • Cannot drive anymore. • Has no family in the same city. • Money gets tight towards end of the month. • Visits therapy regularly early in the morning. • Bus stop is far away and bus comes seldoml VALUES Privacy Crowd Cheap fares Comfort Be in Charge Be Supported +Bus stop is too far. Can’t walk long distances. +Alternatives are expensive +Knows he should go to therapy +Be punctual +Travel privately - Feels like he is bothering people - Fears that he will be picked up by a large bus - Knows his cab driver - Cab is “worth it.” - Skips therapy if needed HIRES • Taxi in the morning if he needs to get to therapy on time • Missing therapy, towards end of the month WHY • Be punctual. • Don’t walk stairs • Avoid prying eyes. • Spare money WHY • Nowhere to sit • Feels observed • Makes him feel old and helpless. • Feels like he is bothering people FIRES • Bus in the morning when it’s full of people • City taxi for the elderly PUSHES AND PULLS CURRENTSTAGE PASSIVE LOOKINGSTRUGGLING ACTIVE LOOKING DECIDING SWITCH USAGE HABITS AND ANXIETIESHIRING PROCESS Tell a story. Where is the customer coming from? What’s their situation and struggle? Sum it up in a job story (or stories). This helps you in the design process. Bullets are your friends. Describe trade- offs to reveal value. Describe hired and fired solutions to reveal value and build a foundation for your job story’s middle part. Link to similar insights in other documents A name helps your team to reference this struggle. A call-out for help sums up the JTBD. Forces mapped along the purchase timeline help your design and marketing to get a feeling for the customer’s journey from their old solution to your new product.
  24. 24. THE JTBD PERSONA CREATES A MEMORABLE HANDLE FOR YOUR TEAM TO ADDRESS A STRUGGLE IN CONTEXT THAT A GROUP OF CUSTOMERS EXPERIENCES.
  25. 25. COMBINE WITH OTHER TOOLS IN PRODUCT DESIGN (JOURNEYS, JOB STORIES...) OR PRODUCT STRATEGY (JTBD STATEMENTS, VP...)
  26. 26. THANKS. ANDREJ BALAZ @DESIGNAMYTE THANKS. ANDREJ BALAZ @DESIGNAMYTE

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