One of the balancing acts of designing a website is finding that happy medium between what the client wants and what their readers need. The design shouldn’t just be a client’s wish list. It should also consider the end user’s wish list. After all, the website should actually designed to meet the needs of the end user. In order to know who the end user is, you must first identify the target audience.
Since a website is often constrained by budget and time, not every item on the wish list will make it into the website before time for launch. It’s a good idea to list the client’s top 3-5 items that are the most important, as well as listing the top 3-5 items that are the most important for the end user. This determines the content and features of the site.
Identifying the Target Audience
In order to know the top 3-5 things the readers need, and to help inform your website design, you’ll need to identify the target audience. Knowing the target audience will also help determine the types of graphics, animations, navigation structure, images, and other features that the website will need.
The best way to identify the audience is to create a checklist of questions to ask your client. Your client’s will need to provide a detailed description of their industry, trends, customers, and competition.
Have a meeting with your client with a prepared list of questions. Questions will be different for each project, but it helps to have a template to work from. Questions can include:
- What types of customers are you targeting?
- How would you describe each type of customer?
- What is unique about each type?
- What are their specific needs?
Create a profile of each type of customer. Many designers like to create a mockup customer complete with name and biography. This is often called a persona. This will make the customer seem like a real person with real needs. The website can then be designed to solve those needs. This should be modified as needed in order to help improve the website’s design.
Once you have the personas you can build scenarios that will help you determine how they will use the website and the type of content they will need. The result will be a website that’s designed to meet the needs of the end user.
- How to you identify your target audience?
- What types of questions do you ask?
- Do you develop customer profiles?
- Do you develop scenarios?
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