2.6a FAO Web sites: the user perspective
For a Web site to be successful and useful it is highly important to identify the target users and their requirements.
Following are definitions, criteria and methods that will allow you to target your online information to the relevant users.
Who are the users of the FAO Web site?
FAO information is increasingly disseminated through the Internet. Hence, fao.org is one of the main reference points for FAO's target audience.
The users of the FAO Web site belong to the following professional categories:
They can be described as "information intermediaries", e.g. " ...people and institutions whose role is to locate valuable information, summarize it, and showcase it to a larger audience including decision makers. Their role is to influence decision-makers at various levels in order to allow them to incorporate FAO-generated information in their political activities".
This means "the normative programme does not normally reach decision makers directly. Decision makers in governments and donor agencies (...) are not likely to surf the Internet and assemble interesting data for a detailed study." It does not directly reach the ultimate beneficiaries either.
According to the Medium Term Plan methodology:
These definitions apply to the users of the FAO Web site as well: the majority of FAO Web sites are targeted to the user groups listed above and do not directly address policy-makers and farmers. This is particularly important to remember when designing Web sites.
Of course, there can be exceptions, such as publications and Web sites that provide highly technical content or practical guidelines for direct application by agricultural professionals. For this reason, it is important to define your audience at the start of a project to identify the scope and functionality of your Web site.
You should remember that the interface and functionalities are an integral part of the Web site together with FAO information. Hence, special attention should be devoted to the identification and analysis of user requirements based on other characteristics of the primary users (like experience with the Internet, frequency of use and familiarity with the Web site).
There are different methods to gather information and feedback from your Web site users. Some are particularly good for gathering initial requirements, others for evaluation. Available data can be requested from CIO.
The above quotes are from the Evaluation Service (OSP) Auto-evaluation Guidelines.
See also in the guide