Design for the Hufflepuff User

Caylie Panuccio
May 8, 2018 · 2 min read

Recently, I had the privilege of co-conducting a month-long diary study, looking into the ways our customers use our online banking platforms. Once we’d got to know our customers pretty well, it came time to construct customer archetypes for our stakeholders.

The usual suspects came to the fore — the one who’s a financial whizz-kid, the one with the big dreams, the one who throws caution to the wind and gives it a red-hot go — and the one who potters, the hobbyist business owner with a big heart. This archetype just wants someone to believe in them. They work hard and are incredibly loyal if they feel like they’re being looked after.

It was at this point I had a flash of inspiration.

“They’re Hufflepuffs!” I cried — showing my Millenial-ness. My colleague sniggered, but acquiesced.

We noted it can be useful to cross-reference your archetypes or personas with other categories or tropes you might see in RealLife(TM). This means they work. Identifying patterns across media is a natural part of being human, and that helps us understand our experiences in the world around us. But that’s another article for another LinkedIn post.

For those not familiar with J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, the school that Harry attends includes four houses — Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin and Gryffindor. Ravenclaw is comprised of bookish, smart students. Slytherins are cunning and driven, while Gryffindors are courageous. Hufflepuffs? Well, they get overlooked. The books tend to describe as merely “loyal”, or “hardworking” — the first book even refers to these students as simply “the rest”.

I’ve come across the above sorts of people in my day-to-day life, and in various research projects. Thinking about the Hufflepuffs I’d met, I pondered upon a pattern I’d seen emerge. As designers wishing to create innovative products and services, we tend to focus on the Ravenclaws (fast learners/early adopters) the Slytherins (ambitious and astute) and the Gryffindors (the leap-of-faith-ers, the brave) as our target audiences. We tend to forget the Hufflepuffs.

When was the last time you heard about a product or service designed for those already loyal to a brand? What about a company announcing, “We’re creating a brand-new product that will cater to the needs of hobbyist small business owners!” Never.

The Hufflepuffs of this world will take an idea and work on it until it turns into something great. When I say great — I mean great for them. Not millions of dollars in turnover. Not an empire. But a passion. If we treat these customers with the respect that’s rightly afforded to them as diligent carers, then we in return get the number one Hufflepuff trait — loyalty.

Design for the Hufflepuff user, and reap the benefits of allegiance — to your product and your brand.

design research and stuff

design research, UX, language, and maybe the occasional recipe.

Caylie Panuccio

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UX & design researcher in Melbourne, Australia. Follow me for ponderings on design research technique, UX, language and whatever else springs into my head!

design research and stuff

design research, UX, language, and maybe the occasional recipe.