It’s no real secret that the web is all about the audience, yet I’m always surprised when analyzing websites how few websites seem to be designed for their intended audience. I’ve seen optometry websites with fonts so small I could barely read the content – I have 20/15 vision. I’ve implemented usability tests on sites where not one audience member could complete seemingly simple tasks. Do you think these sites were built with their audience in mind?
Creating a user persona
Taking a user-centered approach to design can significantly impact the success of your website. Who is your target audience and what are their goals? While many large businesses may spend hundreds of thousands of dollars hiring firms to obtain customer demographic information, an easy first step would be to speculate, then create simple questionnaires, online polls or surveys and ask your current customers to spend a few minutes providing valuable feedback to enhance their user experience.
There are many inexpensive/free online applications (e.g. SurveyMonkey.com) that can assist with the creation, distribution and collection of surveys.
How old are your customers? What is their gender? What is their annual income? What type of web browser do they use? Do they prefer Internet Explorer, Fire Fox, Safari or other browsers? How did they find your website? If through a search engine, what keyword/phrase did they search by? How do they feel about your products/services? How do they feel about your website? What features would provide them with a better user experience? What other websites do they frequent?
Understanding your customers’ needs and consistently satisfying those needs not only provides a positive user experience, but ultimately creates brand champions, increases site traffic (which I will explain later), increases referrals and improves sales. Peers talk to each other and word of mouth sells better than traditional advertising.