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Similarities between Money Heist & UX Design

illustration by Sofia Ishizaka (left) | PC: Steven binotto (right)

A wise man once said “In this world, everything is governed by balance...” and we couldn’t agree more with it, since everything we find influencing or attractive around us is balanced to the T, be it in nature, art, social behavior or business. Just like a good movie has a balanced script; good UX also tells a story centering products into the situations. So, what is it that forms the basis of a good user experience!

Few weeks back while watching the famous Spanish TV series – La casa de papel: Money Heist — Saison 4 Épisode 1', that’s when I started to notice evident similarities between the traits of the characters in the show and the must have traits in a UX designer, that would lead to a quantifiable product experience! Hence, thought of drawing a comparison which is along the lines.

1. The Professor & Research

Professor enacting the heist | Research in UX ( Photo by Alvaro Reyes )

First in the row has to be everyone’s favorite, the professor- a charismatic and intellectual mastermind of the heist. The character is a perfectionist, shy and a far-sighted planner. The personality trait which we as UX designers should learn from this character is-

Decision making ability

  • First step to a great product or heist is research, be it your target audience or the site to be robbed, always plan for the smallest details.
  • Collecting information about the problem statement.
  • Anticipate and plan the user journey beforehand

2. Tokyo & Trend analysis

Tokyo during a class | Photo by JESHOOTS.COM (right)

This character has a personality of its own which is brave and audacious. Sometimes being audacious about your thoughts and view points during the design process will help you to convey great ideas to the clients and stakeholders effectively. That is to say, why to follow the trend when you can set the trend! Takeaway from this character:

Trend analysis

  • Keep hold of the trend
  • Do thorough competitor analysis and market research
  • Collect and study data

3. Nairobi & her eye for detail

A scene from royal mint | Photo by Amélie Mourichon

Not only Nairobi showed a sheer amount of dedication and precision in the tasks assigned to her but also managed everything from the implementation to execution altogether. Nairobi for sure had one of the best traits which we must look for, as a designer.

God is in the details

  • Pay attention to details
  • Make the designs pixel perfect

Take the charge

  • Own your designs
  • Ask the right questions
  • Criticize your work

4. Denver & empathy

Photo by Tim Gouw

Even in the dire condition that of a heist, Denver didn’t give up on his empathetic attitude. Just like in digital product designing, the only constant here is “ the user”. However overused this term ‘empathy’ may be in our industry but as designers this is our responsibility that we think for our users first.


  • It always starts and ends with users
  • Know how to conduct one on one user interviews with the target audience.
  • Care about user’s pain point
  • Advocate for your users

5. Berlin & agility

Photo by Tim Gouw

At first, you will find this character absolute narcissist and sexist yet over time you start adoring him for his promptness and reliability towards his purpose. No matter how much you love to hate the character yet Berlin certainly displayed some positive traits which over shadowed the negative ones. All in all you should always have agility, punctuality and integrity in you as a designer.

Agility, Punctuality & Integrity

  • Commit and stick to deadlines
  • Practice agile methodology
  • A big no no to procrastination

6. Rio & technology

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters

The perfect closeness in this character and in that of UX design would be computers and technology. That’s how important, understanding human computer interaction is to both UX design and the heist!

Human computer interaction

  • Make the human-computer interaction as smooth as possible

7. Helsinki & communication

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Helsinki was one person in the entire gang who respected and listened to everyone in the team. Evidently, half of the problems of the world will vanish if people start listening to each other and start observing. Now that you have it, start implementing it! ;)

Communication within the team

  • Try to bring different perspective
  • Communicate clearly and regularly
  • Give and take feedback

8. Raquel /Lisbon & documentation

Photo by thomas q

Apart from her incredible hair tying skills, Raquel’s zeal to solve her problems is convincing. Having said that, the character’s sincerity and patience not only helped her in getting close to her goal but also diverted the mastermind from his own plan. Major take away from this could be :

Document everything

  • Document every iteration and design decision from the start
  • Don’t be afraid to fail
  • Take criticism positively

9. Palermo & passion

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com

He is ruthless, passionate yet resolute. Passion is one thing which takes you closer towards your goal. As success comes from passion so does creativity.

Follow your passion

  • Eat, sleep, design, repeat

10. Stockholm & thinking out of the box

Photo by Safar Safarov

Monica Gaztambide as we know her, is the courageous of all as she entered a territory which was not her cup of tea. To move out of one’s comfort zone requires guts and courage and this character definitely has that. Indeed everything you want lies outside your comfort zone. So what are you waiting for!

Get out of your comfort zone

  • Thinking out of the box
  • Get acquainted with basics of front end languages
  • Good things take time
Note: Don’t be the “Arturo roman” to your UX design in-spite of his failed attempts at becoming the savior for others yet ending up on creating a bigger mess. For one thing ‘Never assume for your user’. You are not the user!
Above all, UX is about eliminating real world issues to deliver an experience which is not born out of a designer’s outlook. It’s the process of constantly reflecting back on what went wrong and where! and try to learn from the mistakes time and time again.

There will be times in every design process when the designer has to get into the shoes of some or all of these characters during the product journey! No matter who your favorite character or what your favorite part of the process be, a designer is one who switches role smartly!

Till next time :)

Connect with me on : LinkedIn | TwitterBehance

Similarities between Money Heist & UX Design was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.