Say you get a web design project and you make sure that you have taken good care that the website is all that the client expects it to be. The client is perfectly happy with it, but a month or so later, the client gives you a call and says the words that are straight out of your worst nightmare, “The website is failing to attract visitors.”
What could be the reason? After all, you had left no stone unturned to ensure that the website aligned with all the needs and requirements of the client. Well, the problem is that purely client oriented website design won’t get you anywhere. What you also need to do is ensure that the design of your website also meets the expectations of your target audience.
This in fact is the key to the success of a website’s design.
So, how do you ensure that your website is all that its target users want? Going through some of the pointers mentioned below will give you an overview of how this can be achieved:
Conduct Audience-Specific Research
Know your audience. In these three words lies the whole essence of the research. You need to get into the minds of your target audience and understand what makes them tick. Through the course of your research you need to know the kind of websites they frequent, and the kind of designs they prefer. For example, if you know their preference for a particular color, you will be able to zero in on the correct background color for your website.
The primary objective of conducting audience research is to help you define a website design concept that helps you push the website’s message to its target audience in the best possible manner.
Form an Audience Test Group
What better way to know what the audience response to your website design will be, than to ask the audience themselves? Now, I understand that you can’t go to each person who you think is a part of the target audience, so what you need to do is create a small group of people who form a part of your target audience. No, these aren’t your test subjects, but consider them more of ‘study group’ with whom you can share your web design concept. This group can then give you their opinions about your concept and the ideation behind it and offer suggestions that can help you improve upon it.
By taking your web design concept directly to the audience, you are in fact getting it vetted before beginning the actual process of design. This ensures that you offer your audience the design that they want.
When in Doubt – Keep it Simple
It really doesn’t matter if you are unable to do all the research necessary to understand the needs of your audience. Sometimes, you simply don’t have the time to do all the legwork as you are working under a challenging deadline, and audience research or forming a study group seems like a waste of valuable time. In such cases, it’s important to keep just one word in mind – Simplify. Yes, by focusing on simplicity of design, features and functionalities, you will be making your website more user-friendly, which in turn makes it more audience friendly – A simple equation if there was one.
As a designer your hand needs to feel the pulse of the audience. There are no two ways about that.If you don’t take time out to know what your audience wants, how will you ensure that you deliver a product (in this case, the product being ‘website design’) that comes good on their expectations.