As web sites become more sophisticated, so does the need to concentrate on targeted audiences. I’m amazed that most organizations cannot clearly state who their target audience is. In fact, they typically reply with a long list of diverse people. When probed about which are the most important or relevant, they typically say that they all are.
The reality is that if you build a web site for everyone, you will attract no one. It is critical that you concentrate on your target audience and design and create content that will resonate with them. Does this mean that you ignore everyone else? Absolutely not. If built correctly, the web site will cater to a clearly defined audience while appealing to the masses.
A good way to get a handle on your target audience is to create two or three personas that describe the main user segments to your web site. A persona is a brief fictional biography that captures the essence of the individual you are targeting.
When creating personas, it’s always best to talk to actual customers or prospects. If you can’t do that, try talking with secondary sources — people who know the actual customers well.
Developing personas usually starts with collecting some demographic data, such as age, education, and job title. But the goal is to collect the qualities of the intended user such as information on their web habits, behaviors and needs.
The result of this analysis will be the information you will need to attract, engage and convert visitors.
User Personas & Wireframes: The First Ten Seconds — by Charles B. Kreitzberg, Ph.D. of Website Magazine
Making Your Web Site More Appealing: Start With Audience Analysis — by Bob Savar of World Wide Web Communications
Importance of Web Site Audience Analysis — by Gene DeFazzio of Buzzle.com
Need a good Information Architect? Check out these exceptional User Experience and IA providers:
Brian Molstad - Molstad Consulting