Imperfect Personas helps designers

think about their users in a new light,
as a multi-faceted human being,
not just as a stock character.

Imperfect Personas helps designers think about their users in a new light, as a multi-faceted human being, not just as a stock character.

Duration

Fall 2020, 15 weeks

role

Visual, UX/UI Design

type

Personal Project

Personas_HeaderImage

project overview

Rethinking Personas

Most personas include general information about a user, including their name, age, job, personality, and goals. But sometimes personas fail to consider stressful situations that impact the perception of an experience. Stress affects our body and brains in many ways, including narrowing our attention, influencing our memory, and shifting decisions.

Our user is the most important part of the design process, but often when we create our example users and their personas, they are flawed by being too perfect.

Collaborating with four designers, we designed a physical and digital experience to crafting better personas driven by empathy.

Most personas include general information about a user, including their name, age, job, personality, and goals. But sometimes personas fail to consider stressful situations that impact the perception of an experience. Stress affects our body and brains in many ways, including narrowing our attention, influencing our memory, and shifting decisions.

Our user is the most important part of the design process, but often when we create our example users and their personas, they are flawed by being too perfect.

Collaborating with four designers, we designed a physical and digital experience to crafting better personas driven by empathy.

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Working Remotely

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Thinking Systematically

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Collaborating Efficiently

physical experience

We crafted a card based exercise to creating better personas.

We each designed a set of 24 cards that focused on one aspect of an Imperfect Persona: identity, title, personality, goals, and stressors.

I designed the stressor cards representing some of the most stressful situations based on the Holmes-Rache Stress Inventory. To serve as a companion, we created a user guide explaining ways to use the cards, best design practices, and why personas matter.

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Personas_CardsImage2
stresssor_cards
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Situational Stressors Spread

I also worked on the introduction pages of the user guide.

interactive experience

Discover Curated Edge Cases

The card exercise primarily serves as a design challenge. I saw an opportunity to expand our solution to designers with existing concepts.

Designers can type in an existing concept and discover curated edge cases to provide more value and guidance using natural language processing. The goal is to inspire designers to think beyond the ideal situation and turn challenges into opportunities.

EdgeCase

The video prototype of this experience will be uploaded soon.

interactive experience

An online, interactive version
of the cards and book

Personas_Create
Personas_Compare
Personas_Library

micro-interactions

Iterating interactions in motion

Slot_Animation

Initially, I thought of using a slot machine metaphor to receive a random persona for design challenges. However, users are not constantly shuffling but instead are creating few combinations.

CardFlip

When designing the card flip animation, I referenced a physical card flip to ensure that it does not conflict with reality. If the card flipped vertically, it would appear backwards in a physical format.

Loading_Animation

The curated edge case experience has to load briefly to match keywords to personas. My goal was to make the waiting experience more delightful with a scale graphic that references cognitive appraisal theory.

Personas_Lock

Users can choose to lock a persona element and shuffle the rest with the lock icon to add more control.

key learnings

Design systems are essential to
scaling consistency

Since our team consists of 5 designers and remotely located, we needed a way to scale consistency throughout the experience. We created a robust design system inside Figma that includes a unified style, color palette, typography, grid system, navigation, icons, componentized elements, profile cards, and more.

At the time of the project, Figma's variant feature was just recently released that we utilized in the project. It enables us to create an interchangeable persona card in the interactive experience.

Overall, I really enjoyed this project and working with a great team. We learned the importance of clear communication and organization to create a cohesive solution.

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ImperfectPersonas_Colors
ImperfectPersonas_CardStructure

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Let's design better experiences

bennymendelsohn@me.com

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