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In the dynamic world of user experience (UX) design, understanding the intricacies of human behaviour is key to creating websites that resonate with diverse audiences. One powerful tool that can significantly impact UX is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Originally developed as a personality assessment tool, MBTI can be leveraged in the realm of web design to tailor digital experiences to the unique preferences and tendencies of different personality types.

It’s important to note that the MBTI is a tool for self-awareness and understanding, not a strict classification of personality traits. You might find yourself identifying strongly with some of the indicators and questioning the opposite indicator, but this is exactly why the MBTI is so helpful in UX design, in providing a wider perspective on prospective users.

Let’s dive in!

Understanding the MBTI framework

The MBTI categorises individuals into 16 personality types based on four, sliding scale indicator sets. Each type represents a unique combination of these preferences, offering insights into how individuals perceive and interact with the world.

An example type might be INTP (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinker, Perceiver) with the following distribution:

An example MBTI temperament of INTP, showing strong INT traits and mild P traits.

This examples shows strong Introverted and Thinker tendencies, mild Intuitive and neutral Perceiver tendencies.

Extroversion (E) vs. Introversion (I)

The Extroversion-Introversion dimension explores the preferred level of social interaction how individuals energise themselves.

Extroverts thrive on social interactions and are energised by external stimuli.
Introversion: Individuals who prefer quiet reflection and solitude, and are energised by internal thoughts.

In a team meeting, an Extrovert may be the one to initiate discussions, share ideas openly, and thrive on the energy of the group. On the other hand, an Introvert may prefer to observe, process information internally, and contribute thoughtfully after careful consideration.

Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N)

Sensing and Intuition highlight how individuals gather and process information.

Sensors focus on tangible, concrete details and practical information.
Intuitives are drawn to patterns, possibilities, and future-oriented concepts.

Imagine planning a vacation. A Sensing individual may focus on concrete details like specific destinations, accommodations, and activities, while an Intuitive person may be more inclined to explore broader possibilities, considering the overall experience and potential adventures.

Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)

Thinking and Feeling delves into whether you lead by logic or emotional connection in the decision-making process.

Thinkers make decisions based on logic, objective analysis, and fairness.
Feelers make decisions based on personal values, empathy, and consideration of others.

When making a team decision, a Thinking individual may prioritise objective criteria, data, and logical analysis, while a Feeling individual might consider the impact on team dynamics, individual emotions, and alignment with shared values.

Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)

The Judging-Perceiving dimension reflects an individual’s approach to the external world and whether they appreciate adaptability or prefer clear and familiar paradigms.

Judgers prefer structure, planning, and organisation.
Perceivers thrive in flexible, spontaneous, and adaptable environments.

In a project setting, a Judging individual may prefer to plan tasks, set deadlines, and follow a structured timeline. On the other hand, a Perceiving person might be more adaptable, comfortable with changing priorities, and able to thrive in a dynamic, flexible work environment.

Tailoring user experiences to personality types

Now that you have a better understanding of the MBTI, this section explains how it can be considered and applied in user experience design, and impacts the user journey, design and the content you create.

Different MBTI temperaments prefer different user journeys, which impact navigation, search, page structure, design and text content, and although you may have the ideal UX journey planned out, it’s good practice to test it from other perspectives as well to ensure it works well for all potential customers.

Design for interaction styles

Extroversion (E) vs. Introversion (I):
Consider the preferred level of social interaction. Introverts may appreciate more subdued, focused interfaces, while extroverts might engage better with dynamic, socially-oriented designs.

Content presentation and processing

Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N):
Adapt content presentation based on how users prefer to absorb information. Sensing individuals appreciate detail, and tend to experience their way through content, input and their senses to create an overall and accurate picture of what is presented to them, where intuitive individuals may enjoy a more conceptual and innovative approach, with less content and more data points, so they can connect the dots quickly and draw conclusions about the content.

Intuitives may also prefer using navigation and search, where sensors may favour reviewing the options presented on the page.

Emotional engagement

Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F):
Tailor emotional engagement strategies. Thinking individuals may respond to data-driven and logical presentations, while feeling individuals might resonate with emotionally compelling content.

Decision-making and navigation:

Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P): Optimise the website’s structure. Judging individuals may prefer clear, organised layouts, while perceiving individuals might appreciate more flexible and adaptive structures.

Practical examples

Understanding the MBTI and how it could be applied in theory is good foundational knowledge, but can be better illustrated in examples. To help you gain a better understanding of how this can apply to UX design, we compiled some examples below, which illustrate how MBTI preferences can influence specific design elements. Keep in mind that these are just starting points, and continuous user feedback and testing will refine and enhance the personalised experiences you create.

Develop user personas based on MBTI

Develop a representative set of user personas from various MBTI types, to guide your design decisions. This ensures a user-centred approach that resonates with the diverse preferences within your target audience.

Practical example: For an e-commerce website, test your product categories, information architecture and the product information layout from the perspectives of ISTJ and ENFP personality types (and others if applicable):

  • an ISTJ (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging) user might emphasise a preference for clear product categories and detailed specifications, where
  • an ENFP (Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving) user may prioritise a visually appealing and socially shareable shopping experience with less text and specifications to read through.

Personalised user journeys

Implement dynamic content delivery based on user interactions. Recognise patterns in user behaviour associated with specific MBTI types and customise user journeys accordingly.

Practical example: on a landing page:

  • an INTJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging) user may prefer a clean and straightforward layout, highlighting new arrivals, while
  • an ESFP (Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving) user may appreciate a vibrant greeting with interactive elements, showcasing trending products.

Interactive features aligned with preferences

Incorporate interactive elements that cater to different preferences. For example, offer interactive quizzes for intuitive types and straightforward, data-driven dashboards for sensing types.

Practical example: Incorporate interactive features such as quizzes or polls:

  • INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving) users may prefer a quiz that aligns with their imaginative and creative nature, guiding them to personalised product recommendations based on their preferences.

A/B testing, informed by personality types:

Conduct A/B testing with MBTI considerations. Analyse how different personality types respond to variations in design elements and iterate based on the insights gained.

Practical example: Conduct A/B testing on the checkout process, to analyse:

  • how users with a preference for Judging may respond to a streamlined, one-step checkout, while
  • users with a preference for Perceiving might prefer a more flexible and step-by-step process.

Challenges and considerations

While the MBTI offers valuable insight during UX design, it’s essential to acknowledge its limitations and the ongoing debate within the psychology community. Additionally, individuals may exhibit different preferences in different contexts. Therefore, combining MBTI insights with other user research methodologies ensures a comprehensive understanding.

At Big Salami, we use the MBTI more as a guide for UX testing than UX design, with a strong focus on user motive. 

How to use the MBTI in your planning

Each indicator set (e.g., Intuitive vs. Sensor) can be viewed as a sliding scale. Of the 4 letters in the MBTI, the middle two allow us to predict user behaviour, with some traits highlighted in the table below (e.g., INTP may prefer overviews over detail):

Feeler (F) Thinker (T)
Intuitive (N)
  • Big picture thinker
  • Likes illustrations and graphs
  • Loves causes and seeks ways to better society
  • Experiences best through metaphors
  • Big picture thinker
  • Likes patterns in information
  • Wants key information up-front
  • Wants overviews of multi-step processes
Sensor (S)
  • Enjoys discussions
  • Likes to relate personally to causes / information
  • Prefers smaller step-based processes
  • Enjoys working in groups
  • Prefers clear, step-based processes
  • Likes analysing and deep-dives
  • Loves feedback on their work
  • Is good with details

Crafting a tailored experience

In the ever-evolving landscape of UX design, leveraging tools like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator adds a nuanced layer to the creation of user-centric websites. By recognising and respecting the diverse ways individuals interact with digital interfaces, designers can elevate user experiences, fostering a sense of connection and engagement.

As we embrace the synergy between personality psychology and digital design, the potential for creating truly personalised and resonant web experiences becomes boundless. Welcome to the future of UX, where understanding personality types opens doors to innovative, tailored, and delightful online interactions.

For more detailed information, graphs and examples, check out the MBTI article on Wikipedia.

Last updated 13 Dec 2023

About the Author: Stephan

With 20 years of industry experience as a UX specialist, designer and developer, I enjoy teaching and sharing insights about UX, accessibility and best practices for e-commerce and the web.

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