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It’s All About the User

This article is essentially outlining what the focus behind every webpage should be- the user. A webpage can not be about what the author wants, it must be a combination of the author’s message and the user’s experience. 

There are seven general aspects of adapting to your webpages’ audience:

1. List your major audience

This literally means to make a list of your intended audience. Who are they? Redish emphasizes the human element of this exercise- he advises not to list departments or institutions, but rather groups of people. This means teachers, mothers, day laborers, etc. 

2. Gather information about your audience. 

This particular device requires more sophisticated techniques- consulting marketing departments, analyzing communication from users, and collecting data from surveys. 

3. List major characteristics for each audience.

This is another list-making technique, this time to more thoroughly analyze the goals, needs, and desires of your intended audience. It involves taking into account experience with your subject matter, emotions, values, technology, culture, and demographics. 

4. Gather your audience’s questions, tasks, and stories. 

This seems a lot like step two to me, I’m not sure how you would collect this information without using techniques given in that step. It just means specifically gathering information about what the user wants from your site.

5. Create a persona

A persona is essentially a user profile with a fictional name and picture attached to make the profile into an actual character. I think this particular step is a little strange, as the author treats it as some sort of ritual- he specifically says not to give the character a silly name because it’s disrespectful. I get the point of this step, but does it really have to be so intensely intimate with a fictional person? I mean, he suggests putting their face on placemats or on a giant cardboard cutout- am I the only person who thinks that would be more distracting than helpful?

6. Include the persona’s goals and tasks.

As the persona is supposed to be a collection of the data from all your users, I think this is redundant. This step just means stating the goals of your persona, but since the persona is a compilation of the goals of the user pool, wouldn’t this be the same as step 4?

7. Create scenarios.

This step is another that involves fictional character writing to better understand your site’s audience. You write out a scenario where a user has a particular goal, and then figure out if your site can help them find that goal. 




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