The 4 main “Personas,” or consumers of the website’s content are:
The procrastinator is a person looking to waste some time – between class or
maybe instead of homework. This person is likely a fan of Youtube.
HomestarRunner.com addresses this person’s needs by providing content that is
short, entertaining, and updated frequently.
The Comedy Fan is a person who enjoys entertainment meant specifically to make
them laugh. This person probably also enjoys websites featuring humorous
articles like CollegeHumor or the Oatmeal. Homestarrunner.com addresses this
person’s needs by providing slapstick humor.
The Internet Nerd is a person who knows everything that is trending on the
World Wide Web. This person probably also enjoys memes, cats, and websites
such as Newgrounds. Homestarrunner.com addresses this person’s needs by being a
top site on the internet of its kind and giving nerds something to obsess over
Although all of the aforementioned personas enjoy some element of entertainment, the Entertainment Consumer enjoys entertainment for entertainment’s sake. This person probably keeps up with many TV shows, new movies, popular books, and may also partake in the arts. HomestarRunner.com addresses this person’s needs by providing a broad spectrum of content not limited to video – there are many interactive opportunities on the website.
However, as great as HomestarRunner.com is, it hasn’t adapted well to recent changes in technology. Flash is outdated, as decreed by Apple (and Apple makes the rules). Flash makes browsers run slow and requires a plugin to be installed in order to work (which requires constant and annoying
updates). There are few devices it works well on, if at all. Mobile users can’t get access to this website like they could Youtube. This is a problem to all the personas, because using a mobile phone or tablet to access technology transcends many different groups.
Homestarrunner.com also hasn’t completely embraced social media. There’s a Twitter that appears to belong to Homestarrunner.com, but it is not promoted anywhere on their website. There also appears to be a lack of an official Facebook page. This problem is also not unique to one of the key personas – it affects any one of them looking to keep up with the website.
So what can HomestarRunner.com do to fix things?
1.) Switch from flash to HTML
HomestarRunner.com should make an HTML version of their site that is accessible on all browsers, on all devices. They could host their video content elsewhere or build a custom video player to replace the Flash functionality.
2.) Make a mobile-friendly website
More than just switching to HTML, they need their content to be navigable on a mobile device without many problems. Once they layout is switched from Flash to HTML, this wouldn’t be a huge project.
3.) Migrate to Youtube
Finally, to make everyone happy and to make things easy, they need to embrace Youtube. It’s easy to update, because all you have to worry about is uploading videos. It would be a low maintenance way to keep fans happy and make content accessible. They could do this in addition to or instead of the other proposed changes.
Of course, the biggest problem is probably that the website hasn’t been maintained since 2010. Consider this HomestarRunner.com’s grand reopening plan.