It's Not All About Us • The danger is designing the site for ourselves and our coworkers, because we know best. • How do we present the information WE most want a visitor to see while simultaneously serving the visitor the content THEY came for? And which is primary? • The two may not be the same, so an awareness of who our audience is as well as why our audience is there should be considered before a single design decision is made. Let’s focus on Who right now.
Definitions • Visitors include everyone who happens upon your site. • Users are intentional visitors who are looking for something special. • Audience refers to those you are intentionally targeting. You can’t target everyone! • As government, are our responsibilities any different?
Today We're Asking You to Focus • Your site can't do everything for everybody. You'll have to focus on the people who are most important. Everything about your site should be designed to bring those people to your site and to keep them coming back. • Do you have demographic information available? • Have you been “out front” to see who your in-house users are? Is your website audience likely to be the same or different?
Characteristics of Your Audience • Age: mature adults, young adults, kids, seniors? http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/story/147053.html • Sex • Ethnicity/Language • Religious implications • Educational/Economic Level • Computer and modem equipment they will likely have • Computer experience/sophistication • Preferences as to how they get information (Age-related?) • Applicable jargon or buzz words that your visitors will likely (or won't) know • Geographic locations? • Interests and hobbies? • Their needs and reasons for coming to your site. • Other factors?
Secondary Audiences Are there any potential users that you might want to plan for, such as: • Other counties, NC and otherwise • Professionals, paralegals • School children doing reports • Irate citizens • Some information is there just because it ought to be available.
Reference Web Sites: "Audience" • http://www.digital-web.com/articles/design_decisions_vs_audience_considerations • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_design • http://www.buzzle.com/articles/website-design-identify-your-target-audience.html • http://www.edezines.com/article11.shtml • http://www.shire.net/learnwebdesign/target.htm
Is Your Prospective Audience Even Getting To Your Site? • Do you need to let them know it exists? How? Signs, business cards, brochures, related institutions • Does Catawba County Home page help them get there? • If someone uses a search engine (Google, Yahoo) are they likely to find your website? Try it out! • Are they likely to use the right words to find you? • There are ways we can help! • Links • Keywords • Listed properly in the Catawba County Site Index?