It is not common for someone to consider that the website they are using was designed with a personality. Websites are just another outlet for information, right? Why would they need a personality? The answer is simple: to make things more enjoyable for you.
Some sites you log onto have obvious personalities (try kid sites like Barbie.com or Cartoon Network.com). The design is kid friendly, with kid-like copy and graphics. That way, when a child interacts with those websites, he is given something approachable and familiar.
There are also some websites with less obvious personalities. Look at the site you or your parents use for online banking. Would it look as professional if it had a similar personality as Barbie.com? You may switch banks because you want someone serious handling your money (Barbie may spend it all on that new dream house). A church site shouldn’t feel like you’re interacting with a punk rock teen while a sleeping medicine site shouldn’t have a jarring personality. That’s why web personalities really matter. They help the company or organization reach their audience through the internet. They take your hand and say, “Hey, I’m familiar and identifiable. Spend some time here, why don’t yah?” If you are making a personal website, maybe the persona should just be you.
So when creating our site for Coffeebot: An Online Series, we have to plan how our site will interact with our audience. A good starting point for this is to plan out how the site will greet the user. What do we want the first impression to be like? Since our website hosts a story about two characters, we can easily take a persona from one of them. Should our site be indifferent like Glenn, or friendly and helpful like Coffeebot? After some discussion and mock-ups, we went with the latter. We chose to model our site to reflect an interaction with Coffeebot. We aim to try and create an idea of what Coffeebot is like, just through our actual site design and mechanics.
To do this, our site’s design will contain cheery colors mixed with a mechanical vibe. There will be no unnecessary decoration, since Coffeebot is extremely efficient. His optimistic attitude will be conveyed through appropriate colors like yellow and blue. The general line and shape will be geometric, will a small amount of organic curves break up the blockiness and hint at Coffeebot’s strive to be more human. As for the interaction, throughout the site there will be little aids mirroring Coffeebot’s constant effort to help out Glenn. He will offer you coffee selected advice based on your location. He will give you “coffeeisms” and fun facts about coffee that you maybe did or did not need to hear. It will feel like Coffeebot is standing next to you while you browse the site, helping to immerse you in our content. We want you to go searching for more Coffeebot experiences. If you click another page trying to find him, or just refresh to hear more from him, we succeeded.
Coming up with this persona will aid us in keeping on track with the creation of our website. If we all know the personality of our site, we can all uniformly design for it. Consider creating a persona for your site before you start designing or coding it. It will help to reach your target audience along with keeping them on your site longer.