Having 16 personalities gave me superpowers and now it’s time for you!

Seamlessly integrating a dissociative multiple personality disorder may not be the best clickbait to start my article with, but once I’ve made my point you may value global characteristics more.

Interacting with a lot of different people during the day can be really exhausting, especially if you’re an introvert working with extroverts which means constantly stepping out of your comfort zone. Now I can’t say I am a introvert myself but I do need my private moments and at the end of the day I often find myself caught up in thoughts.

This is when I came to realise I have a tendency to overthink conversations I had during the day. Figuring out how I could have improved the outcome; I decided it was time to step up my game and see if I could figure out how to evaluate these thoughts. So the Google search games began.

16 personalities

After Googling and talking about my habits to re-evaluate conversations I had; someone suggested to me that maybe I would be interested in reading up on my own characteristics by taking the test on 16personalities. Little did he know what he was throwing me in to.

For a lot of people this test is just a fun thing to check if it gets your basic characteristics right. And in almost any case, it does. This made me wonder how such a (seemingly) simple website came so close to so many details about my character.

I then decided to investigate this phenomenon a little deeper by going through their website when I eventually ended up on their blog. A whole new world opened up to me about psychometric research. The people behind this blog are dedicated researchers, trying to measure knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and personality traits.

Their research shows us that there are 16 distinctive characters. These characters reflect on our most common traits and habits. When reading your own results you will likely find yourself surprised as to how accurate these results are. But what about reading up on the other characters? What happens when we know basic characteristics of almost anyone?

Now I’m not suggesting you should read all the research yourself, this may be a steep learning curve and in fact too much information to work with. But I do suggest you do a quick read up on what psychometric research is and how these 16 personalities are developed.

Incorporating 16 personalities in your business

I can think of many ways of how to use these personalities in a business. For example: targeting specific personalities for a vacancy or to sell a specific product. But as a User Experience Designer I found it was far more interesting for me to try and find a way to use these personalities to add value to my personas.

Personas are fictional characters based on target audience research. They are the global representation of who I’m designing for and what their common traits are. Both their wishes and needs are clearly documented in these files but often lack a full representation of their character.

Some User Experience designers may tell me that I should document more about their characteristics myself but I deem this irrelevant when the product does not demand to do so or when you’re on a limited budget. You see, to me there’s a lot of irrelevant data documented in a lot of personas. Improving a button on a website doesn’t always mean you have to document the type of coffee they drink in the morning.

But there is another side to this: in depth information may give your team a lot of insight on how to interact with their users/clients. For example: deciding whether or not you will be going for a informal approach with vibrant colours and bold statements or a more formal one with (50) shades of grey and subtle headings.

This gave me the idea that 16 personalities, if implemented correctly, could give your persona a lot of depth without doing too much research. You can easily link to the personalities by comparing them to your persona and including the data in your document. Personally I prefer to assign them a colour and link to the original personality page because it is always up to date.

Having 16 personalities gave me superpowers and now it’s time for you! Sketch persona template.
Download the template


To sum things up

Spending time on creating in-depth personas with just a fraction of the research needed for all these details may be unnecessary. But owning the 16 personalities as if you had a dissociative multiple personality disorder will very likely help you and your team make relevant choices based on in-depth characteristics.

What’s your thought on this?

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Want to know why contextual awareness feels like dating multiple people at once? Check out my other article.