This shot I took in Santa Monica

We noticed this one guy just wandering on his own in his clothes into the water. It's become one of my favorite shots. I chose to use this shot because it was a good study on user types. Like most UX practitioners, I'm an avid people watcher. I observe behaviors and notice the patterns. The beach is a prime example of this—and peoplewatching is just fascinatingly fun.

You can break down the different types of beach visitor in this shot. The vast majority of these visitors range from beach loungers to the thigh-deep crowd. The next group ranges from belly-deep to chest-deep.

The folks at the beach can actually be analogous to the users we encounter in our own products. In this shot, one person sticks out—the fully-clothed guy wandering in a roped off area of the shore, which is a good reminder that while edge cases are super-rare, they do still happen.

The beach also is its own persona 

It's Santa Monica. It's always way more packed than, say, Laguna Beach. Santa Monica has its own characteristics like its proximity to all the tourist traps (and is itself a tourist trap). Whether we like it or not, the products we build have their own personas. We enforce these personas through the tone and voice we use, the way the products work, the interactions, and all of this is tied to the overall brand of the companies we work for/with, and the histories of these companies.

Where do I fall on this persona list? 

Well, if I'm on the beach, I'm the waist-deep kinda guy, but I'd be very cautious because I'm kinda sorta terrified of the sea and all that inhabit it. This time around, I just stayed on the pier—and I'm perfectly fine with that.

Besides, I ain't eeeem tryin' to get sand in my sneakers.