March 27, 2015
When tasked with creating graphics for the web or for print, one of the first questions that comes to mind is “Who is my audience?” Indeed, the answer to that question is often the main driver of the final results. Aside from just the look and feel of the piece, the messaging will be different for each audience as well. The approach taken to promote and advertise an annual meeting for the transportation industry would look quite different from an annual meeting for the culinary and food science industry. In both cases, you want the audience to instantly recognize the subject of the annual meeting as well as the value of attending.
So how do we as designers learn about our audience? I’m going to use the event of an annual meeting as an example. Here are three ways we gain insights about our audience to use in our design:
- One of the best ways, especially with a captive audience, is a survey. In addition to the usual demographic info, a designer would want to know:
- What is the main reason you attended the event?
- What was your favorite part of the event?
- What was your least favorite part of the event?
The answers to these questions would be used to select imagery, design headlines and prioritize information in print or on the web.
- Another source of information about your audience is social media and website analytics. In the hands of an experienced market strategist, social media and web data can give insight into the moods of an audience on many different industry topics and show the flow of viewers to popular pages on a website. Analytics tools such as Raven are great sources for this information.
- Lastly, you can gain insight into your designs, messaging as well as navigation flow for web design, online with great sites like usablilityhub.com. Websites like this allow you to post graphics for web designs as well as some print designs and get feedback from anonymous viewers based on questions you formulate to suit your goals. You can post a web banner, ask a viewer to look at it for 5 seconds and ask them what they remember about the design. Another test asks a viewer to look at a webpage and use the navigation to find some specific information. This kind of data helps the designer know if their designs are communicating quickly and clearly.
Remember, some data is better than no data, deadlines & budgets don’t always allow for deep analysis of your audience. Any amount of research into who you are communicating with will be valuable in the end and help to make your designs the best they can be.