IntroductionDetermining the Target Audience of awebsite is the starting point for anydesigner.They must find out what the characteristicsof their audience is. They must stereotypecharacteristics when considering what andhow information is presented on a webpage.
Target AudienceThe target audience of a technology product can bebe defined in a number of ways;1. By Age – this will usually be the firstcharacteristic the web designer will determine. Bypredicting the age range of the target audience, thedesigner can then predict what content and designfeatures will be successful.
2. By Gender – This may determine the colours,shapes, content and navigation style.Males tend to like straight lines, they like traditionalnavigational menus which allow them to get informationquickly.Females tend to appreciate design and aesthetic look.They appreciate art and curved lines. Colour is importantfor both sexes. For example on a female targetedwebsite traditional feminine colours (pink) can be usedand vice versa for males. Women prefer shades ofcolours, while men prefer strong colours.For websites where it is not gender specific, it wouldbe important not to have design features that mightexclude either gender.
By Technology User Level – this importantparticularly in the type of features andtechnology-related terminology on the page.For example a website for a teenageaudience might include features like;•Web 2.0 networks (facebook etc)•Games•Mp3 downloads•Mobile ring tones•BlogsYoung people are familiar with and expect this technologyon the websites they visit.
Language• The language you use on a website will be dependant on your TA. All websites need to convey a sense of professionalism, therefore the language is generally in third person and formal.• Terminology maybe subject specific. For example the web designer might use language that he/she feels is understood by the audience. A photographic website may use terms like mega pixel and ‘rule of thirds’ because the audience is familiar with these terms.• In some cases some colloquial language in (small amounts) might be acceptable also. Typically in a younger audience.
Income and StatusThis is important to consider. A web designer forexample needs to consider images and contentwhich is appropriate for a social class within asociety.For example a stock brokerage company mighthave images of high rise offices, people in suitsand expensive cars while you wouldn’t expect tosee these images on a Centrelink website.
By Geographic location – this might berelevant to the developer because it candetermine the types of pictures theymight use and the content they include.For example a website on a remotetown in North-west WA might havepictures from that area and containcontent about that area.
By race or ethnicity•It is important to consider the culture of yourtarget audience. If a large proportion of your TA isa particular race, then you will need to considerthis in your design.For example – If your TA is predominantly Arabic,you may need to consider the types of images youuse. In some cultures colours have differentmeanings or some language is deemed asoffensive.
Interest• Finally a web designer must consider if the TA has a common interest. For example on a Green Day music website the audience might have a similar interest in the punk music/bands. Therefore the website might use themes, language, clothing, design aspects which people of these interests relate to.
PurposeA web designer needs to determine what the purpose of awebsite is. In most cases the website is promotional anddesigned to improve sales of a product or service. Somewebsites advertise other businesses and make profits thatway.Some government and non-profit organisational websitesmight be created as purely an informative website. Thereare also educational websites created by schools, collegesand universities. Some websites fall under the banner ofentertainment because they offer the user video, audio orother creative media. Some websites are created with morethan one purpose in mind.