Core Exchange: Connecting with Your Audience
Jen: Today we’re going to be talking about website planning and target audiences. I’m sitting here talking with Julie. Tell me, Julie, why should a company spend time researching and talking with their website audience?
Julie: Well, websites exist to solve a user’s problem. Once you’re able to solve that problem you can achieve your business goals of selling a product or service. Understanding why people are coming to your website, what they’re looking for, the questions they have and their expectations, can allow you to give them the tools they need to solve that problem.
Jen: I’ve noticed this trend lately with websites where it seems like they have more of a personality to them. Something that’s more inviting for their audience, and a very clean look to it both written and in a design sense. Why is that?
Julie: I think people are seeing that they need to make a real connection with their audience, understand what questions are on their mind, and show some of their personality. Figuring out where their user needs and their business goals are aligning and just providing value, not just providing content. Giving something that is really useful to someone.
Jen: How do you find alignment between what a business’ goals are and what the user really wants?
Julie: Well, it’s really important to get a lot of different perspectives, especially if a company isn’t sure if they want to do user research or see the value in doing user research. Now, in our initial project meetings we try to invite people from different departments within a client’s company so we get all sorts of different perspectives of interactions with customers. Someone from sales is finally hearing someone from customer service talk about all of the frustrating phone calls that they get from users on the website who just want to be able to order online and don’t understand why they have to fill out a long form and wait twenty-four hours for someone to get back to them. You start having these really interesting discussions about how we can make a better experience for the end customer.
Jen: Have you seen just countless examples of where it really does bring so much added value and the client sees that too and is just so grateful for that guidance?
Julie: I think it brings added value and it also allows us to use your budget very wisely. You can have all sorts of great ideas about ways that you can help customers. You can put those ideas in front of potential customers and see that they’re useful, but at the end of the day you don’t have an endless budget. We need to be able to prioritize which features will be useful to the end user.
Jen: What’s one key takeaway that we can walk away with?
Julie: Well, I’d want people to know that doing user research is so valuable, and it doesn’t have to be a painful process.
Jen: Well, thanks so much for all the useful information, Julie.
Julie: Thanks, Jen.