I believe in Magic. Or at least I believe what they are trying to pull off. For those of you who have not yet heard of Magic, it is an SMS text based service for… well, almost anything. Foregoing the traditional route of app or web based services (Airbnb, Uber, GrubHub), Magic’s team of “Magicians” use text messages to communicate with their customers (no catchy name for us yet). If you are lucky enough to have made it through the waiting list (I am currently lucky number 34,270), you now have the world quite literally at your fingertips. In a recent article by Wired contributor Brent Rose, he decided to put the service through a stress test of sorts by ordering an impressively random array of requests, ranging from Meatball subs, to an almost authentic Mexican wrestling mask and seemingly everything in between.
As a UX Researcher, I have many questions about the service from security to sustainability, but the question that interests me most is who would use this service and why. At User Insight, the Who and the Why are the key questions at the core of our Behavior DNA ™Persona Development service offering. By observing and analyzing Users’ behaviors, attributes, characteristics, motivations, drivers and preferences, we are able to create Personas that help companies better understand their customer’s immediate and potential wants and needs.
For this particular product, the two personas that stand out immediately are the Early Adopters and the Exploiters. While both groups will use the Magic service, they do so for different reasons. The Early Adopters are at the forefront of technology and what is trending. They often fancy themselves experts in new and emerging technology and, in turn, are often looked to by others for advice and knowledge on these topics. An example of an Early Adopter would be the person who stands in line to get the latest iPhone just to say they had it first. Exploiters, on the other hand, are at the opposite end of the persona spectrum. These groups of Users rely heavily on the advice and actions of others to accomplish tasks that they are either unwilling or unable to preform themselves for various reasons. If you’re old enough to remember VCRs, and have ever had someone ask you to program it for them, they were/are an Exploiter (and you are a good grandchild).
While these are just two examples of consumer persona groups, there are many more in between representing many more potential consumers. The value in Personas lies in the ability to understand and anticipate Users’ needs before they recognize those needs themselves. When done correctly, and based on research conducted with actual Users, the value of Personas lasts long beyond the current phase of a product. It can also help guide future iterations, as well as uncover unmet needs across the customer journey at multiple touch points with the Brand.