Analyzing the Website Audience
The webmaster should analyze his prospective audience in light of the message he is attempting to convey. You must be concerned with the range of ages represented in your visitors, the education and experience of this audience and their knowledge and opinions on your main theme.
You must adapt your website as specifically as possible to the audience that you are trying to reach. You will need more than a superficial knowledge of your target audience. What are their intrests, are they educated or uneducated, are they experienced or inexperienced, what are their opinions and prejudices and what is their economic and social level.
The webmaster should never fail to consider the emotional state of his audience. Establish a common ground of feeling. You must analyze and utilize their motives and intrests if you are to relate what you have to say to their habits of thought and feeling. To do this you must know as much as possible about the behavior and needs of the people who will be visiting your website.
Often, the subject of your website will give you a hint as to the character of your visitors. If they are intrested enough to visit your website then you can expect that they have an intrest in what you have to offer. Understand your audience in terms of the trends of the day as revealed through newspapers, magazines, broadcasts, the movies and web surfing. Compare the customs, standards, traditions and manners that you possess with that of your target audience and create a common ground with them. Define and Refine
There are 4 steps, that if followed, will define your target audience and refine your site to meet their intrests. They are;
1) Investigation - Consider the purpose of the website, the layout that best projects the idea that you wish to convey and characteristics of your prospective audience. List possible topics and select the one best suited to all aspects of the situation: your intrests and qualifications, the requirements necessary to promote your ideas, the necessary content to accomplish this and the expectations and characteristics of the audience.
2) Organization - The next step for the webmaster is to determine the structure of the website. The webmaster must decide the logical requirements of the subject matter and the most appropriate way to adapt it to the prospective audience. Only after a webmaster has selected the topic, has analyzed the particular audience, and has collected the proper content will they be equipped to plan the structure of the website.
3) Method of Expression - The third step in building an audience friendly website is to express the thought in a way that will communicate to your audience exactly what you intend. The central theme should be easy to follow, the vocabulary must be suited to the understanding of the audience and be interesting enough to hold the attention of your visitors.
4) Mastery of the Content - You must master the content of your website and present a logical sequence of ideas leading to a particular goal. Set up your website in such a way that there is a smooth progression from one idea to another. Make clear the exact meaning of what you are saying each step of the way.
Gene DeFazzio is the webmaster of http://www.rocketface.com . Rocketface(R) Workshop is an attempt to gather together, in one place, information on how to design a website plus a few of my own thoughts. Every attempt has been made to eliminate technical jargon and buzz words.