Audiences, Outcomes, and Determining User Needs

Every website needs an audience. And every audience needs a goal. Advocating for end-user needs is the very foundation of the user experience disciplines. Corey Vilhauer explains the threads that bind UX research to content strategy and project deliverables that deliver.

2/28/2012

Authored by

Categorized

  • Content and IA
  • Strategy
  • Discovery and Scoping

A good website can’t be made without knowing why it’s being made. And that means reaching out to site users, stakeholders, and your content team to figure out three things: site audiences, expected outcomes, and user needs.

User experience strategist Corey Vilhauer wrote an article about just this for this month’s A List Apart. From the article, “Audiences, Outcomes, and Determining User Needs”:

Every website needs an audience. And every audience needs a goal. Advocating for end-user needs is the very foundation of the user experience disciplines. We make websites for real people. Those real people are able to do real things. Everyone is happy.

But, it’s not really that easy, is it?

The issue, of course, is that we cannot advocate for those whom we do not know—or, even worse, those whom we assume we know. So we go to the source: we interview, we learn, and we determine who, exactly, these mystery users are. In doing so, we answer the two most important questions of the discovery stage: who are our audiences, and what do they want from our website?

Then—and only then—can we begin the process toward better content

Illustration by Kevin Cornell

Across the web.

Here are a few other places you might find Corey beyond Blend.

The Web Project Guide

Corey is co-author of The Web Project Guide: From Spark to Launch and Beyond.

The Web Project Guide Podcast

An extension of The Web Project Guide: a podcast about the different phases of building a site.

Eating Elephant

A blog about content strategy, information architecture, and understanding user needs.