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Who do I design for first?

04 July 2016

When designing a website, you may get a variety of answers to the question “Who or what do I design for first?”. Some will tell you to build it around SEO or maybe the needs of your business (functionality or your aims). Whilst these two definitely play a part, the main reason for your website is to give your existing and potential customers what they want and cater for their needs.

Product or service information, industry related blog articles containing free tips or a good price – different customer bases will have different driving forces so there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution.

What do my customers want?

To find out what your customers want, you could do any or all of the following:

  • Have a look at your biggest competition. Chances are, the biggest in your industry are there because they give people what they want. So have a look at their website. You don’t have to copy or compete directly but see what is working for others.
  • Do some testing of your own. Try changing your home page by changing what you prioritise on your website. So try having a special offer as the main focal point, then free information, then maybe one of your USPs. Monitor your traffic and conversion rate closely and when you see a positive change, use that information to try further ideas.
  • Ask customers directly. Use social media or phone calls as the opportunity to ask people directly. You could ask why people chose you or why they continue to come back. Ask them what people looked at before they decided on your company. The answers may surprise you and you won’t know until you ask!

Your emotions

Emotion is tied to website design on so many levels. As a business owner, you may be attached to certain ideas on what you want to see on the screen. However, as someone that knows the business and industry inside and out, a new visitor may have a very different idea or need to you. Any good website designer will research your demographics and competitors to get a feel for your industry and will always explain the reasoning behind any ideas that may differ to something you have suggested.

Most good designers will have a certain degree of emotion in designs that they produce too. A new website design is a direct example of what a designer can do with the brief given, with out of the box ideas whilst keeping to what visitors expect to see.

It’s all about your visitors…

However, again, the main emotion you need to think about - is your visitors’. From the colours chosen to the imagery used, emotional psychology has to be thought about. If you are selling a product at the cheapest available, then promoting a great service or luxury feel isn’t going to match your bargain hunting audience. This works the other way too. If you aren’t the cheapest around but pride yourself on customer service, then lead with it.

Emotion is the bridge connecting you and your visitors so don’t try and be something you are not – embrace your business model and make all of your marketing/design consistent. Build around your customers’ needs first with a great website design.