Creating a web site involves a lot of factors. For many business owners and managers, the volume of information out there is overwhelming. Many well look at the latest trends and/or what their competition does, and run with that. Often, a design is chosen simply on what is appealing to the person calling the shots.
But what if the trends or competition is wrong for you? Or what if you just aren’t sure what approach to take? And are you 100% sure your customers share your taste?
When in doubt, think about your target audience. Who is your target demographic? What kind of person does your organization cater to?
This is important when determining your website’s:
Look & feel
Technologies to use or not use
Ideally, a good web designer will already consider this too and can advise you. But let’s face it, a fair number of designers out there know how to make a site pretty but are not necessarily trained to gear it for a specific audience.
To be fair, a lot of web designers are at the mercy of those who hire them, be they supervisors or businesses that have contracted them. Some web designers will give the client exactly what they want, regardless of whether it is good for the client. Some designers simply have no choice.
So if you are in the position of calling the shots on the site, keep your customers in mind. For example, if your customers are middle-aged to senior citizen, you won’t want small text on your site that doesn’t allow browsers to enlarge the text (such as forcing all pages to show only 10px font). Those will be hard to read. Instead, have either larger sizes and/or allow the font to be enlarged. You’ll want to build the site around the idea that the text won’t be all the same size.
Are your customers all on broadband? Generally speaking, probably not. Contrary to popular belief, all Internet users don’t have broadband. More do these days, but is your product or service one that caters to people that can afford broadband and/or has interest in having broadband? A full Flash site and/or lots of pretty graphics may not interest those customers since it takes too long to load. They’ll hit the Back button and go check out your competition instead. Also, your older customers may have less interest in the flash and sparkle sites that will attract a younger audience.
These are just a few examples of the criteria to consider when planning a site. You want it to be be attractive to your customers, not just to you and your competition.