Lens: Type: Behavior

A person’s distinctive character.

Photo: elinakrima
person with bag over head and grapefruits for eyes

Personality describes a complicated combination of characteristics and behaviors that include dominant traits, interests, drives, values, and emotional patterns (American Psychological Association, n.d.). This combination form an individual’s distinctive character. Some people are outgoing and extroverted, while others are introverted and private. Depending on the setting, some ordinarily outgoing people may become private and reserved. Personality helps determine behavior, and in turn, is a valuable factor when describing people’s roles in experience design scenes.

Researching Personality

Understanding a person’s personality behaviors suggests how they will behave when using a design outcome. It can also help designers know what style a design outcome should take so it can be relatable with people in different situations who possess different personality traits.

Questions to Ask About Personality

  • What is this person’s general disposition?
  • How does this person act when they are alone with one familiar person?
  • How does this person act when they are in a group of strangers?

Look for These When Researching Personality

  • Tone of voice
  • Body language like hugs or formal handshakes
  • Ways a person interacts with others who are familiar and who are strangers
  • Tendencies to be helpful or avoid interaction
  • Acting anxious or angry


References and sources that support the inclusion of this Aspects of Experiences for Design component.


Jääskö, V., & Mattelmäki, T. (2003, June 23-26). Observing and probing. Proceedings from 2003 international conference on designing pleasurable products and interfaces (DPPI ‘03), Pittsburgh, PA.

Smeenk, W., Tomico, O., & van Turnhout, K. (2016). A Systematic Analysis of Mixed Perspectives in Empathic Design: Not One Perspective Encompasses All. International Journal of Design, 10(2), 31-48.

Social Sciences

Srivastava, S. (2020). Measuring the Big Five Personality Factors. Retrieved February 6, 2020 from

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Personality, APA dictionary of psychology. Retrieved December 4, 2019 from

Apter, M. J. (2017). Ideology and Societal Values: A Reversal Theory Perspective. Journal of Motivation, Emotion, and Personality, 6, 1-7.

John, O. P., Robins, R. W., & Pervin, L. A. (2008). Handbook of personality: theory and research. Guilford Press.

John, O. P., & Srivastava, S. (1999). The Big Five Trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and theoretical perspectives. In L. Pervin & O. P. John (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (2nd ed., pp. 102-138). New York: Guilford Press.

Lefevor, G. T., & Fowers, B. J. (2016). Traits, situational factors, and their interactions as explanations of helping behavior. Personality and Individual Differences, 92, 159-163.

Parsons, T., & Shils, E. A. (1951). Personality as a system of action. In T. Parsons & E. A. Shils (Eds.), Toward a general theory of action (pp. 110-158). Cambridge, M.A.: Harvard University Press.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68-78. doi:10.1037//0003-066X.55.1.68