Siff Andersson is an actor from Copenhagen, Denmark, she is seeking roles as well as representation by an agency. She she needed a portfolio website but was struggling with usability issues as well as not knowing what kind of information or layout she needed. Last year, I had attempted this project using my old process with frustratingly slow progress, and after some user testing and feedback, we needed a huge overhaul. Around the same time I had been learning some UX principles, so together with Siff, we worked through and really dug into what the website needed to do for the user rather than focusing on what it needed to do for Siff.

Usability Evaluation

Siff had a meeting with an acting coach and they went over the website, unfortunately I wasn’t there but we were given some very useful feedback, concerns over slow loading speeds, information being too hard to find, essentially that usability was overall poor, and the whole thing needed an overhaul from scratch.

Problem statement

In the acting world, appearances are everything, Siff needed a place that could show her personality, skills, credits as well as professionalism. The previous version was slow loading and hard to find key information.

  • Objectives
  • Create a responsive website that allows Siff to:
    Market who she is, what she does and what kinds of roles she can play
  • Showcase her work case studies and awards she has won
  • Show professionalism
  • Be contacted by Casting Directors and Talent agents
  • Dual Language site in Danish and English
  • Keep content heavy pages clean and easy to navigate

User Research

Ideally I would have had access to the users directly, but we are talking about rather busy people, so we relied heavily on articles and online research to find what the user would want to find, and what information they needed. We also had advice from Siff’s acting coach to confirm our suspicions.

Target Audience

Industry professionals such as Casting Directors, Producers, Directors, Agents, and Guild representatives. Thankfully there is a wealth of useful articles written about exactly what kin of information Casting Directors and Directors are looking for, and we used this to build the user personas.

Industry Research

One key resource in this area was to simply look at what other people are doing, from the big players to smaller ones. We looked at what kind of information they provided and the order and priority it was given, as well as overall design and layout. These six websites we looked into quite extensively, found some weak points, as well as some strengths and ideas overall.

Panorama agency

Panorama Agency, that is local to Siff, as the information they feel is important will be important to Siff, such as Thure Lindhardt’s profile and Charlotte Munck, as they have both been colleagues of Siff.

Helen Mirren

Helen has a really interesting page layout, its a little visually overwhelming if you’re looking for details but perfect fit for Helen because she is Helen Mirren!

Frederik Wagner

We took a lot of inspiration from Frederik’s website, especially the way he has his film page laid out, and the overall clean design and easy navigation.

Elena Albarran

We took inspiration from Elena’s website as we thought having a quote displayed provided insight into Elena and a connection on a personal level that drew you in.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo website looks amazing but is a little clunky and confusing to navigate, which is fine for Leo, but could be a big negative for Siff.

Anirban Bhattacharya

I really like the way Anirban’s social media buttons are integrated into the overall design without being intrusive.

Gary Busey

I visually enjoy the design of Gary’s website, using the camera overlay to focus the eye to information inside it, as well as overall being easy to navigate.

User Personas

Next, we made three user personas for what would be the target audience, Casting Director, Prouder/Director and Agent. This really helped us narrow down what information we needed to display and the priority of this. As the casting director is often the first person in the chain, we really focused on that type of user to build the information architecture.

Information Architecture

From our research and User Personas we now had a list of required information that we could use to build the information architecture and start laying out what is most important. So we did a card sorting exercise using the humble post-it note. They were colour coded with a marker to denote which user wanted which information, which also gave us a prototype layout.

Quick and dirty wireframe for above the fold

Brand Style – “How not to give a f!#k.”
Siff had a list of words, phrases, and theoretical roles from an acting seminar that gave us an insight to how she is seen as other professionals, “How not to give a f!#k” was on that list. Thinking about Siff on a more personal level, we also settled on Down to earth, humble, happy, friendly, sweet, caring, but with an assertive quiet power.

We were limited as we were a team of two but also budget as I not only needed to design, but also build the website. Because of this, I decided the best option for the project was to use WordPress with Elementor, as that suited my skill level and allowed Siff to be able to go in to add or edit content as needed in the future.

Future Development
I would really like to run some usability testing, by asking people to find a list of information, compare to a list of criteria, some that will match and some that will not, for example, imagine you are a casting director, you need to find an actor, female, mid twenties to play a school teacher who is depressed, so she needs to show high energy as well as darker energy. I could test how long it would take for the user to decide if Siff could be a fit, and see where the pain points may be.

One major regret I have from this project was the lack of usability testing, I was new to the process and not confident in how to go about doing it, and is now outside of the scope.
I should have prototyped more, I wasn’t confident enough about knowing the constraints of wordpress/elementor. It seemed faster at the time to prototype in wordpress, it wasn’t.

The website design I still think works, but there is too much movement on page load/scroll and it slows the website down which is not ideal at all, especially on the resume page.
Although, I feel it was a good dip of my toes into a more formal UX desigining experience or some of it at least.

Visual Design

Fairly early on, we had this resume I designed for Siff to use, we liked it as a visual theme for the rest of the website.

The logo was also designed by me, based on Siff’s signature.

PDF resume

Home Page Design

The Home/Landing page features a slider of some of Siff’s best photographs, especially ones that showed personality.

Home page
Contact Page
Mobile version