They want it to be awesome, of course, and because we care deeply about delivering value to our clients and their audience, we start by assessing our client's needs. Asking ourselves things like, do they even need a website? Getting to the deeper question of, what's the purpose of your site? What are you trying to accomplish by designing or redesigning it?
These simple questions help drive us to the purpose of a project. The website is ultimately for the user. With this front of mind we dive into a more nuanced exploration regarding our potential users. Will the finished site accomplish what the client wants it to? What online and offline behaviors makes their target audience unique?
As a service-based digital agency, the conversion of users into paying clients may be our clients' main objective, but exactly how do those leads materialize? More importantly, how do we identify trends that impact those leads? How do we then leverage this insight to generate more traffic and ultimately drive sales to a client versus a competitor?
To dive even deeper, the following are a few user-centric questions that must be answered within our planning:
By better understanding your user base, you can speak more effectively to the needs of your different target demographics. Once you agree that the need for a site is in place, you can start classifying your different types of users. Here's a few examples of how we segment our user base:
By definition, the casual user is anyone outside of our personal network that views the site. They don't intend to plan a project or create a long term relationship with Brave. They may however, be connected to individuals who could use our services. It could also represent untapped potential or the general population. This group may produce the project user, after a better understanding of our services is reached.
This is the user we typically target, given they usually have a strong desire to worth with us. The other user groups are beneficial in terms of impressions and engagement, but generally lack the intent of forming a business partnership. These individuals already know they have a need for our services in some capacity. They reach out to us because they have tangible objectives but lack the resources to execute on them.
The explorer is someone who has an eye for design and landed on our site to check out it’s design and development properties. These users typically find us from browsing the award circuit, various blogs or other design/development geared content that may feature our work. Our engagement with this user is reciprocal in nature (after all, we're also explorers sometimes) and consists of casual "talking shop" back and forths.
This is an individual who shares our love of storytelling, great design, or clean code and is attracted to elements of our culture. They'd ultimately like to work for Brave, and may be feeling stagnant in the doldrum of their current nine to five. This person may have previously been an explorer or casual user.
Ultimately, these categories above may look very different for your users or clients and that's okay. As a fellow agency or freelancer, it's important to recognize these unique categories for yourself and allow them to inform your creation process. Websites or any products for that matter that lack a clear and measurable purpose typically end up only costing your client money, and never really making them money. If we believe that our role as designers is to design products that are equally balanced in aesthetic value as they are in functionality, then it's also our duty to define purpose and facilitate a return for the people paying us to do so.
Purpose. It's more than a J-Biebs hit single.