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Introducing Mad*Pow's MPACT

The Mad*Pow Agile Persona Construction Toolkit (MPACT) is a generative design tool that helps teams create behavior-based personas. Using MPACT, teams can create a set of 1-5project-specific personas in a single, day-long session.

The idea for MPACT was born when our mixed team of two experience strategists, one experience designer, and a content strategist asked a single question, “Why can’t creating personas be as much fun as building a video game avatar? It’s all about picking attributes, right?” This question ignited our curiosity and pushed us to create a toolkit to transform persona-building into a fun, collaborative activity.

BUT, BEFORE WE GET STARTED: WHAT’S A PERSONA?
Personas are representations of the goals and behaviors of key user types. They’re different for each organization, and often for each product/service/project within the organization.

Why are personas such a valuable design tool? Because they:

● Promote a uniform, shared understanding of user needs
● Put a human face on users and inspire empathy
● Help teams design for users, not for themselves
● Keep the focus on the most common scenarios
● Serve as a reference point when conceptualizing and evaluating solutions

WHAT’S A BEHAVIOR-BASED PERSONA?

Personas are often built around demographic data. But at Mad*Pow, we believe that personas based on behavior attributes are more valuable, useful, and actionable.

Behavioral attributes are personality traits that focus on behavior and motivation. In MPACT, we use these to give teams insight into what a user might be feeling, thinking, saying, and doing, and to inform correlated design implications.

To ensure that behavioral attributes aren’t biased, or based on assumptions, they should be derived from qualitative and quantitative user research that is regularly reviewed and updated.

The MPACT Toolkit for Finance contains behavioral attributes we observed while conducting research for a wide range of companies in the financial sector. We’ve successfully used these attributes to guide our design decisions for various projects across this sector.

OK, GOT IT. NOW TELL ME MORE ABOUT MPACT.

MPACT is a structured activity that brings diverse teams of 3-6 people (plus one facilitator) together to create personas. During the session, the facilitator guides the group through a series of activities, focused on “filling in the blanks” on the gameboard/table mat.

Because diverse thinking leads to more robust personas, we encourage teams to recruit from across departments and roles (e.g. administrative decision makers, designers, developers, and researchers).

MPACT photo

Teams leave the session with:

● A set of behavior-based personas that solve for mutually agreed upon goals
● Actionable design tips based on relevant behavior attributes
● A deep sense of investment and ownership for the personas they’ve created, and the ability to speak on their behalf and champion them within their organization


HOW CAN I TRY MPACT FOR MYSELF?
Contact us at [email protected] You can get your very own copy to use with your teams, or we can join you and guide you through the conversation. Let's start by setting up a meeting, so we can introduce you to the toolkit and discuss how to make an MPACT at your organization.

Looking forward to hearing from you — and making an MPACT!

 

By: Dana Ortegón, Jennifer Smerdel, Magga Dora Ragnarsdottir, Priyama Barua


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Contributed by:
Dana Ortegón Senior Content Strategist   Contact Dana
Priyama Barua Senior Experience Strategist   Contact Priyama

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