At the planning stage, it is important to collect specific information about the target users for your Web site. Defining your audience might require ad-hoc user research. If you do not have immediate access to users, you can use alternative methods. You or your Web site sponsor might already know enough about them, so this step in the planning process is aimed at simply organizing what you already know in a way that will make it easy to refer to it to solve possible design problems.
The goal is to collect as much information as possible that answers the following three questions.
Who are the Web site target users (demographics)?
- age range;
- geographical location;
- level of education;
- subjects of interest (in areas covered by the Web site or related to it);
- vocabulary (e.g. experts or not);
- level of skills with computers and Internet (e.g. novice, regular medium or expert);
- frequency of use of Web/e-mail; and
- location where they have access to computers.
Why should they visit your Web site (psychographics)?
- information needs and goals (e.g. it is inadequate to say: "need price information related to neighbouring countries"; better to say: "to identify marketing opportunities for companies in the country seeking international expansion"); and
- tasks to be accomplished (e.g. it is not detailed enough to say, "finding information on trade"; better to say: "research and compare prices for commodities classified by ISO codes", "obtain price trends for commodity x in region y over a time period of z years").
What kind of computer setup do they have (technographics)?
- type of computer,
- operating system;
- screen size;
- plug-ins; and
- connection speed.