What’s clear, and it’s been said before, is that there’s an opening for a new type of designer. Someone that understands interaction design, product design and can add character to things through behaviour. A light touch. Very subtle in order to make them believable – without them being too ridiculous.
It’s fascinating to think that personality could be the domain of a new type of designer that would understand psychology, interaction design, and could write with the skill of a novelist. It’s a strange intersection that this person would occupy.
In Bashford’s post, he suggests we start thinking about creating personas for the things we design.
Interaction designers are used to using personas (research based user archetypes) to describe the types of people that will use the thing they’re designing – their background, their needs and the like but I’m not sure if we’ve ever really explored the use of personas or character documentation to describe the product themselves. What does the object want? How does it feel about it? If it can sense its location and conditions how could that affect its behaviour? This kind of thing could be incredibly powerful and would allow us to develop principles for creating the finer details of the object’s behaviour.
That’s an idea I’ve been pondering for a while too, and discussed in my book. I call this design tool a Design Persona. Really fascinating to see other product designers moving in the same direction, and I’d love to see the idea evolve further.
We discovered in our design practice at MailChimp that the design persona was great for starting design concepts, but when it comes to formulating a detailed understanding of the voice of a product, we had to take things further. That’s why we created VoiceAndTone.com, a writing guide with emotion in mind.