But – What’s step one? Before you even hammer out a line of code or even THINK about minifying anything, you should think about a two things: who your audience is and what your site is meant to achieve with your audience.
Who is the audience?
Assuming you’ll be working on a digital project for a company or brand, it helps to understand both the company itself and their most important aspect – their consumers. This information can and should be easy to ask for upfront from the client, but sometimes you’ll have to do a little digging and be a bit more creative.
Start with the target demographic information and get more granular:
How old is your audience?
Are they more male or female?
What languages do they speak and where do they live?
What devices/social networks/sites do they frequent?
If, for example, you’re building a site for an older audience, you want to consider the most basic interactions. Simple scroll-and-click navigation, prominent buttons and clear button names are elements you want to employ so they can navigate the site easily. You may also want to restrict the interaction to the desktop, as the majority of mobile/tablet/smartphone users are under 55 and may not be the best use of your resources (however big or small – usually small!). If they’re social media users, making your content sharable, or providing links to and from your other digital properties can boost site awareness and provide a more seamless experience.
What is the Objective?
When you’re tasked with this project from your client, you should be clear on what their business objective is for the site. If there’s more than one objective, ask them to list them and rank them in order of most-least importance so you can prioritize.
Many times, companies simply want a site to inform consumers about their company or brand, product offerings, a way to get in contact with them or find their products in-store. Sometimes, they’re interested in capturing a different audience through an e-commerce setup. If this is the case, the #1 objective is sales conversion, so the site needs to feature the products front-and-centre. The interaction should move the consumer to the product that they need as quickly and as smoothly as possible, give them multiple ways to evaluate the product (pictures, video, other multimedia), and give them an easy way to purchase the goods when they’re ready.
Considering these points at the start of your project will alleviate many headaches and speed bumps that can arise along the way in developing your site and help you produce your best-possible work. With this, your final product will better engage your client’s ideal consumer and provide them with a tailored site experience while driving measurable results for your client.
Best-of-luck past, current and future BrainStation Alumni!
– Nick Hillier