Redesigning DontCodeTired.Com (Part 1) - The Content Inventory
User personas are a way to try and understand the user base by inventing archetypal representative users at a more human level. Creating them forces you to actually think about who is or will be using the site, and more importantly what content might give them a reason to be on the site in the first place.
Tim Smith lives in London, England and he's in his mid-thirties. He's a professional software developer with 10+ years experience, working at a large corporation who's primary business is not the creation of software. He works in the IT department which is separated by organizational structure from the business. He loves writing software and using new technology but doesn't often get a chance to exercise this at work as his employer is slow to change and not really interested in software craftsmanship or long term quality. Tim loves to spend some of his spare time learning new stuff and contributing to the open source community, he's also love to self-publish mobile and tablet apps in the future. He uses the Internet partly for reference info (class structures, APIs, etc) but also enjoys more in-depth tutorial-like material so he can expand his knowledge and be exposed to new ideas. Tim also likes chilling out, playing acoustic guitar and XBOX, and walking in the English national parks.
Sarah Bells is a mid-twenties, formally untrained software developer with a huge passion for software development. She's currently working in Boston, USA at a small start-up working long hours but loving it as she's in control of what technology is used and she's able to use all the latest cool libraries. When she's not at work she loves dining with friends and letting off steam at local bars and clubs. She wants to find answers to things quickly and usually has a thousand browser tabs open. Sarah occasionally makes time for more in-depth tutorials.
Mellisa Brand is a 2nd year university student studying computer science. She loves the theory but occasionally finds it hard to see how she would do things in the 'real world'. She loves casually reading online material to get a feel for what is happening, she rarely tries the ideas out in code herself. As a student she loves socializing in University bars.
David Lions is a recruiter specializing in finding top quality developers. He was a developer himself for a while but found his way into his current job. Whilst he no longer actively develops software, he uses blogs, twitter etc. to get a feel for potential candidates before approaching them. David always gets high praise as he always provides top quality candidates for companies to interview.
A design persona is a way of thinking about what personality the site will possess. It's a way of thinking about how the site will connect with people in a human, personal, emotional way.
Desired Brand Traits
knowledgeable but not condescending
clear but not elitist
valuable but not limited
friendly but not chatty
honest but not mean
avoid: shallow or poorly written content
DontCodeTired's voice is friendly and personal, it's speech-like and somewhat casual using contractions and occasional slang over formal and stuffy speech. It doesn't try to be overly cool but is not afraid to have some fun on occasion (as long as it doesn't detract too much from the information).
Success message: "All done, thanks!"
- Error message: "Sorry, something wen't wrong..."
- Critical failure: "Sorry, something is really broken at the moment..."
DontCodeTired's colors are clean and mostly understated. Where color highlights are needed they are saturated and bright. Solid blocks of color are preferred to gradients.
DontCodeTired is all about the article content. Main content typography will use clean readable sans-serif fonts with a predictable type ramp. DontCodeTired's overall design will be based heavily on the readability of text.
Taking some ques from Metro design, interface elements will mostly focus on content over chrome, elevating the article content to the fore, relegating non important navigation and other elements to the ground.