Know Your Audience

Who is this site for? Is it a part of a current operating procedure? Who are the people that are a part of this and how are their concerns being addressed here? Beyond an established audience, is there a potential group that has needs known or unknown that can be addressed? And to what level might all of these needs be ranked?

While there are ways to gather details about the user, it has been found that many are annoyed and even scared off by some of these tactics. Catering to the user, or customer, is the important thing here. There are a number of user studies available. Here are a few:

Audience Analysis
Relevant Knowledge
Nielsen Media Research

From this data the tone and design approach is determined. What we want to do is to create as pleasing and easy-to-use environment as possible. We must take into account the various capabilities of a public user – as opposed to an internal site that can be calibrated to a company standard. In each case, assumptions might be made as to the appropriate approach in conveying what can be done here for each group.

Similar to the behavioral targeting that is used in the propagation of web advertising, the resonant reinforcement (cf. The Responsive Chord) of the style and information that a user is expecting or accustomed to reinforces the message or intent being delivered by you when you know your customer.