About A Webmaster - What You Need To Know

Further Implications of Your Audience

May 29, 2005

The previous examples show how two different sites have had their designs influenced by the makeup of their primary audience. But it's also important to note that different portions of your web site are likely going to target different sub-groups within your primary audience.

If we consider a generic sales site, we can quickly recognize two sections that are commonly used and target two different sub-groups of the site's primary audience. Think about the design and functional aspects of the sales section and the support section of a commercial site. In the sale section, we would only want to speak positively about a particular product and avoid any mention of defects in that product. We also would want to have sales points that highlight particular features and advantages this product has.

In the support section, we would normally be interested in the exact opposite. The support section is most beneficial to users when all of the defects and problems with a product are clearly listed along with the solution to that problem. There's no need or want of sales points or any other sales jargon as they would serve only to distract from the solutions that people are seeking. The support section needs to allow people to find solutions to problems with the product quickly and efficiently so that they can hopefully resolve their problem themselves. If your customers can solve their own problem, they will generally have a more pleasant product support experience.

As we've seen in this article, your primary audience can, and should have a significant impact on your page design decisions. But don't stop there. Keep your primary audience in mind whenever you make any decisions regarding your website. Think about them when planning your future development, writing your content, developing your information architecture and whenever you make any other decision that affects your site.

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