Designing for the FAIL and Bringing Personality into UX Design – ThinkTank Emerging Technologies Meeting 19

Hi, ThinkTank,

Do you have a favorite app whose error messages make you smile? How about a website whose web copy or waiting messages crack you up? Or maybe a site that always causes you pain? Next week in ThinkTank, we’ll be discussing how personality and character are introduced into interfaces.

For the discussion, please come ready to show a favorite site/app with a personality OR a site/app that fails spectacularly (and be ready to tell us how it might be improved).

As always, some readings to get you thinking on the topic are listed below.

See you next Thursday morning at 10 am in CR1,


The Personality Layer
By Simon Schmid

Improving 404 Page Design
James Duquenoy on May 21st 2012

Collection of Library 404 pages
From Stephen Francouer

Failing Gracefully: Handling User Errors
ARTICLE NO. 846    JULY 24, 2012
by Ted O’Meara

Walter, A., & Spool, J. M. (2011). Designing for emotion. New York, NY: A Book Apart/Jeffrey Zeldman.

Notes from the discussion:

What makes for a personality in an app?

  • person not machine is talking
  • engage me – humor
  • singular focus in native mobile apps makes for ability to personalize

Ways to move forward

  • Define your persona for your web site – build personality there…
  • Know your audience –  github example

Links from the discussion

What could the library 404 page look like? What could proxy page look like?

  • Needs an image
  • Establish a personality – ski bum at the slopes
  • Define your audience and what will resonate
  • Find a strong metaphor to define the library FAIL
  • Less text
  • Clarify the message
  • 3 main actions
  • @msulibrary (include social media accounts)
  • push a service – chat
  • Communicate the error clearly
  • open canvas break free from template
  • design responsively to work in multiple screens

Possible soft spots in our web site and apps

  • logout and login pages
  • Search result failures
  • digital collections 404
  • Catalog delay search times
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