For the past year, I’ve been paying close attention to what’s happening in the world of conversational interfaces and have been posting some thoughts and articles of interest on a blog called The Charming Interface. Our computing devices are moving towards a paradigm that allows us to interact with them less like tech-heavy gadgets and more like people. As this happens, designers need to start thinking about what it means to create a digital personality.

A user interface is like a joke

When someone tells you a joke, they are expecting a laugh from you. And it feels odd if you don’t understand the joke and no response comes from your side.

The person who is telling the joke has to explain it, and the situation no longer remains humorous. Similar case with a user interface.

When a user comes to your product, they should be able to find the possible actions they can perform with the design. If a user interface has to explain itself to its user at each step, it is not possible to navigate the user flow smoothly.

Humor Has A Role In Design

People in general, many of them your potential users, enjoy humorous things every day: Side-splitting memes go viral, people share humorous personal stories on social media with friends and colleagues, awkward family photos get shared, and products are reviewed tongue in cheek, to name a few ways. We acknowledge humor done well over digital media: the Webbys have a humor category for its annual website awards; the Shorty Awards have a “Best Use of Humor” category for its social media award.

You don’t have to be all or nothing about your use of humor. You can use humor without presenting a comedy-focused experience. You can inject humorous elements in the experience, the same way you might add a unique icon: to add meaning and create a shared language with users. You can also use humor in your content to help form a connection with users.

Make user Happy at page loading

While waiting for a page to load, the application presents a cartoon image of a person wearing a business suit sitting in a jail cell. The image caption says, “Hey, everyone hates disclosures. We know you do, too. We’re doing our best to keep everyone out of jail. Please bear with us for a few more clicks. You won’t regret it, and our loan officers will stay out of jail.” Joan smirks at the image. She might not appreciate the number of forms she has to complete, but she understands the serious nature of applying for a loan.

A 404-page is an awesome place to add some humor. Olivia Ricci exploits every user’s strong feelings for cute kittens. Aww!