If your website were a person, who would it be?

So many books so little time! One of the books at the top of my ‘must read’ list is Aaron Walter’s ‘Designing for Emotion’.

I finally got around to reading the sample chapter on A List Apart and it has only increased my desire to find the time to read the book. The whole thing really resonated with me.

A paragraph that particularly made me smile was:

If your website were a person, who would it be? Is it serious, buttoned up, all business, yet trustworthy and capable? Is it a wise-cracking buddy that makes even mundane tasks fun?

It made me smile because we ask every client that question and without fail it causes an interesting discussion. Our reason for asking this question is perfectly explained by Aaron:

Let’s think of our designs not as a facade for interaction, but as people with whom our audience can have an inspired conversation. Products are people, too.

Aaron takes the idea a step further and proposes we produce personas for our site. He gives a great example from his own experience with MailChimp and provides a template any of us can use.

Some worry about the idea of injecting personality into their sites. They fear it may alienate some of their audience. This is certainly possible but as Aaron says:

Keep in mind that when you emphasize personality in the user experience, some people won’t like it. That’s okay, though. Personalities clash, and in the case of businesses, it can actually be a good thing. If people don’t understand your personality, chances are they’re not the right customer for you.

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  • Personality is hugely important in web site creation because it’s the thing that makes your site or product stand out against the competition. I love Aarron’s work and I couldn’t agree more that injecting honest personality into your work is a great way of helping to find clients you actually click and connect with.

    We’ve been inspired by Aarron to such a degree actually that we now create design personas for every site we make, trying to answer exactly that question of ‘if your site was a person, who would it be?’.  We even wrote an entire blog post about it, utilising a fictional case study – http://8gramgorilla.com/using-personas-to-help-create-better-web-sites/