Websites, like people, have personalities. They can’t help it. They do. I’ve looked at many websites over the past few years and sometimes wondered about the personalities of the sites that I’ve seen.
If you take a close look at a website, can you describe its personality?
Does it attempt to evoke emotions in visitors or persuade them with facts?
Is it cold or warm and welcoming?
Does it use humor or fear, or anger when communicating with visitors?
Is it wordy, or does it use a minimum of words?
Is it inviting for first-time visitors?
Does it provide reasons for people to return?
Does it change over time, or is it fixed and unchanging?
Does it display a social conscience, or is it all business?
Is it written for a male audience or a female audience, or a general audience?
Does it speak to a younger crowd or an older group?
Does it welcome visitors with differing perspectives?
Does it use different time perspectives to discuss benefits for the future, or solutions for the present, or problems from the past?
Is it community-minded, and is that community local or online?
Does it pay mind to traditions?
Is it innovative in scope or design or with what it offers?
Is it credible and trustworthy and displays expertise?
Does it exude enthusiasm and the development of potential?
Is it cooperative or competitive?
Is it introverted or extroverted?
Is it an idealist or a pragmatist?
Is it fun-loving and optimistic?
Does it plan for tomorrow or spend for today?
Is it graceful in design or practical in appearance?
Does it focus on the big picture or small details?
Is it responsive to questions, to criticism, to praise?
Does it give something of value away for free?
Is its focus upon benefits it offers viewers, or upon the features of the organization it belongs to?
Does it ask for something of value without providing anything in return?
Is it more like a peer talking to you directly or like a parent lecturing you?
Website Personality Resources
A mix of informational sites and personality tests that I thought were interesting:
Personality Theories – An academic view of many of the theories used to define and describe personality
Keirsey Temperament Sorter II – One of the most widely used personality tests in the world. I’ve taken it about 5 or 6 times over the past few years and come up with an INFP result each time.
The Big Five Personality Test – An online test where you’re asked many questions to describe different aspects of your personality.
Know Your Own Mind: Free In-Depth Personality Test – A very long personality test, but it asks a lot of great questions and may get you thinking about personality more deeply.
Who Are You: Get a Personality – Chapter 5 (pdf) – A chapter from Luke Wroblewski’s book that looks at how the design of a website can influence how others perceive it.