In response to a question on Quora:

“I’ve participated in a design contest. The contest holder rated 2 stars only and commented: ‘your design is clean but without PERSONALITY. It’s just like I can spend $20 to buy a wordpress theme from the theme store. Need more work.’

What did he mean actually?”

… here’s what I said

For most direct & clearest response: Ask the reviewer himself.

I’m not just being flippant. You really should ask the person who made the criticism what they meant by it. Criticism & analysis is always a learn-able moment. Embrace it.

And here’s what I think they meant:

You need to speak to the needs, agenda, priorities, etc. of BOTH the client (the wordpress theme store) and the perceived viewer/audience/customer. i.e Put yourself in their head – and design to them.

  • What does the client want to say about their business?
  • What does the customer want to hear?

W had the comment that it’s “equivalent to a movie starring famous actors – but without a PLOT.” Sort of. I’d say it’s more like a famous actor asking the movie director,

“What’s my MOTIVATION? I can just read the lines – but how do I ACT?”

The punchline is that the underlying agenda stuff is determined by an understanding of Context. Business analysis (often merely assumptions) is often based on a combination of Market Analysis (the environment), the Business Case (the client’s agenda), and User Profile (the customer’s agenda).

UX Design = Contextual Design



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