Hello people, in this issue, we’ll look at…
- 👱🏻♀️ Your Persona like Barbie,
- 🚨 Your Persona in prison,
- 🪣 Your Persona in a bucket,
- 📗 Mental Models book recommendation,
- 🐲 How to train your AI,
- Let’s be Inclusive (in Design),
- 🏋️♀️ The UXUI Club (coupon code),
- 🍟 and extra things to bite it…
👱🏻♀️ Don’t make your Persona the next Barbie
This past weekend was a big deal as millions of people got to catch the classic Barbie on the silver screen. 🎬 The numbers were impressive, with a successful opening weekend in the US 🇺🇸 and Canada 🇨🇦 raking in $155,000,000 (considering the movie cost around $100 million to make). 🤑 Globally, it pulled in a whopping $337 million dollars, according to IMDb. Not too shabby for an old lady of 82 years! 👵🏼
I know that Barbie brings back fond memories for many, but hey, not everyone is on board with this Mattel masterpiece. Some folks have strong opinions about this iconic intellectual property. 💭
It’s interesting how we all have our own mental model of what Barbie represents, depending on the cultural influences of our countries. In Brazil, we tend to consume quite a bit (maybe even too much) of American culture, and this latest Barbie plot seems intriguing. 🇧🇷 The storyline might just be the answer Mattel needs from the general public about Barbie. From what I gathered in my quick research, Barbie faces a crisis that makes her question her world and existence. 🌎 It’s a fitting theme for the new world we live in. And thank all the Gods that the stereotype of supermodels is finally fading away. 🙌🏻 As much as I’m proud of our Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen, it’s good to see that era coming to an end. 🌟
👩🏻💼 Explaining Personas and why they’re crucial in a UX process can be super challenging! 😩 When I look back at the UX projects I’ve reviewed, it’s clear that Personas have turned into generic templates that lack uniqueness and fail to capture the true complexity of individuals. 😔
The thing is, good Personas should be all about understanding people as unique individuals, without relying on demographics and biases. 🚫 Easy concept, right? But implementing it and getting the right internal support, especially in startups, can be a real struggle. 😓
To create effective Personas, UX Researchers need to ask deep, meaningful questions that truly dive into the holistic experiences and attitudes of users. 🕵️♀️ Otherwise, your Persona might not even be recognizable to Barbie! 🙅♀️
So, take a moment to ponder how many times your Persona ends up creating or reinforcing stereotypes instead of capturing authentic archetypes. 🤔 It’s essential to get it right! 💪
👩🏻💼 Let’s dive into it, and here’s a question for you:
🚨 Have you ever been in jail? 🚨 (Don’t feel pressured to answer that!)
When we think about prisoners, a lot of misconceptions, assumptions, and prejudices come to mind. It’s tough not to be biased when researching this topic. That’s why I always recommend people check out this eye-opening case study by Amber Westerholm- Smyth and Carolina Pizatto. 📖
In their article titled “Your personas probably suck. Here’s how you can build them better“, they discuss the current issues with Personas in user research and propose a fresh approach to make them more useful. 👏👏👏
I totally agree with their observations that Personas have become generic templates, too specific but not actually helpful, and often built from pre-existing research rather than gaining a holistic understanding. 🤔
Their research took a bold approach, creating Personas without ages, photographs, salaries, names, or genders! 🙅🏽♀️🙅🏽♀️🙅♂️ Quite shocking, right? But they had a great reason for it:
1️⃣ It’s all about focusing on users as people, not mere census data. 🧑👩👨 Humans are complex creatures, after all!
2️⃣ They wanted the data to be deep and rich, allowing insights to truly flourish.
3️⃣ The goal was to stop judging personas based on appearances and superficial traits.
Their Five-Step Framework is a gem:
1️⃣ Ask rich, meaningful questions – not those silly ones.
2️⃣ Write a codebook to keep everything organized.
3️⃣ Code your data properly to make sense of it all.
4️⃣ Map your data to see the bigger picture.
5️⃣ Finally, form your personas based on all this fantastic research.
👯♀️ Ladies That UX Atlanta 🌳
If you read the past newsletter, you know I can’t stop gushing about how awesome this group is. Ladies That UX ATL is seriously the best bunch out there. Every meetup is a learning bonanza! If you’re in town, don’t miss it, and even the online events are pretty DOPE. 🎉
Last Thursday, we had the pleasure of hearing from Jasmine Hentschel, a Product Designer at Influur, a platform that connects influencers and companies. She took us on her journey from pitching the idea of creating Personas to actually doing the research, aligning teams, and putting it all to use.
I look at Personas as a journey, not a destination – getting alignment around who are your customers can be a moving target a lot of times so people change, markets change, businesses change, and a lot of dynamics change over time.
— Jasmine Hentschel
It’s fascinating how updating your Persona over time is essential for product evolution, just like how Netflix transformed from DVD rentals 📀 to streaming ⚡️ and beyond like interactive shows where you can define the final episode, games to play, and fitness programs in partnership with Nike. They always keep researching and testing new ideas. I hope they keep innovating at this pace even with Reed Hastings stepping down as co-CEO. 📼
Jasmine showed us that creating Personas is both an Art and a Science, and she brilliantly broke it down into three buckets:
🪣 Selling, 🪣 Observing, and 🪣 Validating.
A good designer knows not to rely on assumptions or just focus on demographics. Remember the classic comparison in UX: Prince Charles vs. Ozzy Osbourne? Yeah, that won’t get you far! 😄
Her UX Research process, using Dscout and diary studies, was truly fantastic. And the way she gathered internal feedback from Marketing, Data, and the Executive team to drive the process was top-notch. Selling the idea internally was crucial for making it all come together.
I absolutely loved Jasmine’s validation approach, collecting data from the MVP created. Jasmine is a rockstar 👩🏿🎤, working as a team of one! 🤘 Kudos to her for a job well done!
📗🐼 Book Mental Models
👩🏻💼 Understanding how to create the perfect product isn’t about following a single methodology, but you can definitely increase your chances of success. One of the best ways to do that is by getting a deep understanding of why users do what they do. That’s where Mental Models come into play! 🧠 They provide you with the tools to grasp and design for those underlying reasons. It’s a game-changer! 🚀
If you’re interested in diving deeper, I highly recommend checking out the book written by Indi Young, co-founder of Adaptive Path. It’s a roll-up-your-sleeves kind of book that’s perfect for designers, managers, or anyone passionate about making design more strategic and successful. 📚
And hey, if you’re hungry for more knowledge, don’t miss the Mental Model infographic created by the talented Krisztina Szerovay. It’s a visual treat! 🎨
If you prefer something more formal and in-depth, the Nielsen Norman Group has got you covered with their detailed explanation of Mental Models. 📝 You’ll find valuable insights and guidance there! 🤓
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🐲 How to train your AI 🐉
It’s pretty amusing to see the immense impact AI is having on our future. I’ve mentioned before how AI can be a massive problem during elections, as it can mimic faces, voices, gestures, and anything else. 🗳️ But it’s not just elections; privacy is another big concern, though sadly, many companies don’t seem to care much about it. 😔 Yet, I get it; we’re all guilty of being addicted to scrolling down our Instagram and other social media feeds. 🤳 So, it’s hard to entirely blame the creators.
Interestingly, we all love using ChatGPT and other AI tools that make our lives easier and work faster. It’s like we’re “training the AI” to become smarter with every input we give. Remember my session on using AI in the UX process? I touched upon the new AI approach and deep learning. The more data we feed AI, the smarter it becomes. 🧠 Some people might think ChatGPT is getting dumber, but in reality, we might not be as brilliant as those Ph.D. folks at MIT, and ChatGPT is done with us. 😅
The thing is, whether you realize it or not, you’ve been contributing to the evolution of AI without even knowing it. A simple social media post or participating in Facebook’s ’10 Year Challenge’ actually played a role in training an AI model for facial recognition on Meta. 📸
So, as they say, don’t hate the player, hate the game.
It’s getting a bit scary, especially with campaigns like the one by Deutsche Telekom, which demonstrates the impact of AI and social media. 📢 Good luck to all of us, humanity, and congratulations to everyone involved in training AI models! 🎉 Let’s hope for the best! 🤞
Let’s be Inclusive (in Design)
👩🏻💼 A common point of confusion among designers is understanding the difference between Inclusive Design and Accessibility. Luckily, this episode of Ladycast, a podcast by Ladies That UX, features Marli Ritter, who kindly shared a wealth of resources on Inclusive Design and Accessibility. It’s definitely worth a 15-minute break to give it a listen. 🎧
To clarify, Inclusive Design is a methodology that embraces the entire design thinking process, focusing on the diverse spectrum of human experiences and needs. 🌈 On the other hand, Accessibility centers specifically on catering to individuals with disabilities and adheres to established laws and policies worldwide.
Here are some of the valuable resources Marli shared:
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: The rulebook and guidelines for accessibility.
- WebAIM Online Library: Provides accessible content and tools for designers.
- Figma with Accessibility Plugins: Offers accessibility features and tools for designers to create inclusive designs.
- Figma Accessible Prototypes: Learn how to turn on accessibility mode and how Figma design elements are translated to HTML for screen readers to interpret and understand the content and interactive elements in a design file.
- Airbnb’s Another Lens: A resource for creatives to reflect on their design journey and uncover potential biases.
- WAVE browser extension: A suite of evaluation tools to enhance web content accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
- Inclusive design should be part of the design process from the beginning, involving all stakeholders, including designers and developers.
- Accessibility and inclusive design complement each other, but inclusive design is broader and involves a mindset that considers diverse human experiences.
- Everyone can contribute to accessibility by taking small steps and considering factors like color contrast and colorblindness in their designs.
- Collaboration between designers and developers is crucial for successfully implementing accessibility in designs.
On a personal note, over the weekend, I went shopping with my son, and I let him pick a toy. He chose a Barbie set with puppies, and he absolutely loved it! 🐶 I know some people might judge us for buying a Barbie for a boy, but if that bothers you, it’s worth reevaluating your own Persona and embracing diversity and inclusivity. 🤗
🏋️ UXUI Club invitation
Last week, I shared some exciting plans about connecting all of you from this newsletter into a more open and engaging community. 🌐 I’ll be curating and sharing awesome content, and there’s so much to look forward to! Check out the details here. 📰
To give you a taste of what’s inside, I’ve got a special treat for you! Use the coupon code “HELLOFRIENDS” to get a full 30-day access pass. 🎁 It’s an exclusive invitation just for you.
And thanks a bunch to the first members for being part of this community right from the start! You guys are the best! 🙌
So, let’s not be lazy and join this UXUI gym together! 💪 It’s time to put those noodle arms to work and get super strong in UX. Let’s learn, grow, and have some fun while doing it! 🚀
💎 Do you wanna turn your vectors into 3D right on Figma? Try Fig3D and instantly convert your shapes, icons, logos, and UI designs to 3D models and get a good render. 🤩
🎨 When AI meets Colors: This tool is absolutely fascinating! It’ll save you countless hours and make sure your designs play nice with the front-end framework Tailwind. Efficient and stylish, it’s a win-win! 🌈💻
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See you next week! 🤗
Designer, writer, educator, UX/UI advocate, and mentor for startups.