Understanding your audience.

July 16, 2008

You have a website. People come to it, and within a few seconds they make a decision about whether or not your site is what they are looking for.

How do you capture their interest within those few seconds?  First of all you must understand these people. If content is prioritised and targetting to them they are much more likely to start exploring.  If you are close to the people that will be using your website then you start to understand their priorities.

If it’s within your budget consider establishing a focus group, which is an effective way of understanding your audience.  If you don’t have the time & money for this, at least try to interview representatives of your audience. You can cheaply develop a survey where people can then opt-in for further in-person interviews.  Never forget that these are real people, and go out of your way to befriend those that will either make your project fly or fall. Listening to their concerns can be especially useful.

Design is so much more than putting pictures on a page and slapping on some pretty colours.  Informed design revolves around who you are reaching, and what they are wanting to achieve from the site.  These designs are also never really finished – they thrive off feedback and further modifications based on informed decisions, constantly improving for your audience – and in turn you.