These Smurfalicious personas will engage your users
Theory | User Experience

These Smurfalicious personas will engage your users

on / by Loucas Papantoniou

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you had to do business with the Smurfs? There are more than one hundred Smurfs, each one with its own idiosyncrasy, traits and quirks that demand special attention and care. How would you communicate to each Smurf? How would you engage each Smurf to listen to you, and eventually buy what you’re selling? Quite a smurfy-question don’t you think?

Well, here at Usabilla we always spend our time constructively thinking of major issues like this. So we smurfed our research and we present it to you.

Dealing with Smurfonality

More than one hundred lovely Smurfs live in the Smurf village. Each one with it’s own personality. To make life easier, we classified them according to their behavior. We used these factors:

  • Dominance
  • Influence
  • Steadiness
  • Conscientiousness
Smurf graph - click to enlarge
Smurf Graph - Click to enlarge

Although they mostly look alike, every Smurf is different, so it exhibits its own flavors. Some, like Handy, might have a stronger “D” while others have a stronger “I”, like Smurfette. Look at the big version of the graph to see it yourself!

Communicating and engaging with different Smurfs

Because the Smurfs are quite isolated in their own little village, they love to smurf their purchases online. However, if you want to be successful and maximize your sales to the Smurfs, you have to address them according to their buying styles:

  • Dominant Smurfs (D-type): value competency, results and action.
  • Influential Smurfs (I-type): value action, enthusiasm and relationships.
  • Steady Smurfs (S-type): value relationships, sincerity and dependability.
  • Conscientiousness Smurfs (C-type): value dependability, quality and competency.

I-type Smurfs seeking influence – passion and enthusiam

Smurfette - I-type Smurfs like Smurfette want to feel a personal interest and see action. So the key is to show passion and enthusiasm! Communicate with “I”-personality Smurfs using compelling, positive messages. Let them know you are really keen to work with them, listen to what they need, and get them excited about the possibilities available.

S-type Smurfs who value steadiness – repeating, ensuring messages

Grouchy - S-type Strong-“S” type Smurfs require some understanding and sympathy from you in order to trust you and commit with you. Grouchy of course is a special case, hating everything and everybody. However, if you look deep inside in his heart, he is a very sensitive Smurf. You get his attention by repeating messages that reassure his need to make a personal connection. Take time to show him that he can trust you. Listen to his needs and make sure you provide a reliable service. Otherwise he’ll hate you forever!

C-type Smurfs – value details and evidence

Brainy - C-type To convince strong-“C” types you need to get all the facts in order to convince them that they are making the right choice. Such a “C”-type is Brainy. Brainy has read every blog and book around while he regularly publishes the “Quotations of Brainy Smurf” (despite being universally reviled by all). To persuade him, you’ll need more details and evidence about the quality and performance of the product or service you’re selling. Be prepared with detailed information, value facts and evidence. Emotional claims do not appeal to Brainy and his likes. On the other hand, white-papers, charts, case studies, and a place to provide feedback do the smurf-job well.

D-type Smurfs – bold, action-oriented language

Gargamel - D-type Dominant types are outgoing and action-oriented, like “I”-types, and also interested in competency like “C”-types. They want actions and the promise of the results. Gargamel, for instance, spends his days figuring out evil plans to catch, eat and destroy the Smurfs. Positive, confidence-inspiring messages, will appeal to him, but he will respond even better to bold, action-oriented language than emotive personal language. State that you have all the expertise required to catch the Smurfs, that you are committed and ready to deliver now. Don’t forget to defer to his authority, after all he is Gargamel!

Designing a webpage with the Smurfs in mind

Designing a webpage that appeals to all the Smurfs is quite tricky. You have to make all the information easily available without requiring everyone to read it. For instance Smurfette (“I”-type) and Grouchy (“S”-type) need a more emotional language, some smurfian-touch, enthusiasm and passion. They can be quite impulsive and react on your well crafted call-to-actions fast. Placing call-to-action buttons above the fold is a good tactic for these Smurfs. The first few things that you can see on your site should influence Smurfette with your enthusiasm while still addressing the personal needs of grouchy.

“D”-type Smurfs and “C”-type Smurfs don’t care about personal connection, but they need facts and credentials. Give them the time to go through all the available information and don’t rush them to call-to-actions. Long pages that give more and more information as you scroll-down might work well. Often heard dogma’s like ‘everything should be no more than three clicks away’ and ‘make a connection in a few seconds’ might be somewhat true for Smurfette and Grouchy, but not for Brainy and Gargamel. They like to find things out for themselves. Make that as easy as possible.

The harder part lies in combining these insights into a coherent site design. The four smurfs we picked out are on extremes on the spectrum of the model, and the other Smurfs lie somewhere in between. Using too much emotional or factual content will scare some Smurfs away. You can see if this happens by using a remote usability test, like ours. A good ground-rule is to make sure that your design has about the same level of emotional and factual appeal.


When you want to sell something on your site, think about the Smurfs as a trick to convert better. Give your personas a bit of the four traits, avoiding “boxing” them in one of the four categories. In this way, you personas will become more real and tangible than mere caricatures. Try it out, it’s Smurfalicious!

The four aspects of behaviour in this post can be found in the DISC model, that dates back to the 1930s. A well funded behavioral model focusing on the styles and preferences of behavior.

This post was inspired by Ben Hunt’s book ‘Convert! Designing Web Sited to Increase Traffic and Conversion‘. A great book that does what it promises.

But most of all we would like to thank Peyo, the creator of the Smurfs! Thank you for offering us a Smurfalicious childhood!


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Article by

Loucas Papantoniou

Usability Analyst @ Usabilla Jack of all trades, immersing passionately and sometimes obsessively in my interests. Greek living in A'dam, missing the sun.

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