Hi, I'm Christina Nghiem.

Corbis Personas

for Corbis Images & Corbis Contributor


“If you’re designing for everyone, you’re designing for no one.”

(Aarron Walters, Mailchimp)


In collaboration with UX intern Katie Hendricks, we built personas for Corbis Contributor and Corbis Images to understand our users. I will focus mainly on the Contributor personas since we built those from scratch.

Finding the Right Resources

Due to budget and resource limits, we weren’t able to interview actual customers and contributors. How did we work around this limitation?


We selected internal representatives who could truly represent our Contributors’ needs. We interviewed the Contributor products director, commercial and editorial editors, and gathered website metrics to get both qualitative and quantitative data. With the product director understanding the ingest (upload) and community needs of the Contributors and the editor's one-on-one working relationship with Contributors, they provided insight on the many different workflows of our Contributors.

Breaking it Down

Next was the task of breaking down all of our gathered data into core Contributor personas. From speaking to the editors, we started seeing different Contributor personas based on the type of content they provided. For example, News, Sports, and Entertainment Contributors uploaded images in real-time in order for their material to be licensed and published on news outlets the next day (or hour). Whereas Outline (celebrity) photographers usually spent more time polishing their photos in the post-editing process, so their workflow was much more articulate. In the end, we broke down the Contributor personas by the type of content they contributed, as this was the differentiator that drove their workflow and needs.

Presenting our Personas

In drafting our personas, we aimed to capture as much of the persona’s personality and workflow as we could. This was our tool to communicate to the business and developers that there is a human who is using our product, and that we should design for their human needs. How could we do that without overwhelming the reader? Following a template established for our Veer personas, we used imagery to create the look and feel of each persona while also highlighting their core site needs through a visual graphic that could be a quick reference. We also touched upon future personas that may be added to the site, such as a motion Contributor, to make sure our sites are prepared to meet their needs in the future.

Moving Forward

Moving forward, I would simplify these personas even further. I recently read MailChimp’s work on their updated personas and like the way they've presented their personas in a simple, informative, yet personal way. If we get to revisit these Contributor personas, I would tailor them towards those three values. After all, they are the best way for our design team to communicate the needs of the users to the greater company.