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Chapter 4. The Web User, Part 1: The Audience > Generating an Audience Profile

Generating an Audience Profile

Defining the target audience for a given Web site means generating a document that specifies the relevant characteristics, the range and frequency values of the identified characteristics, and how this specified information might impact design decisions. If we are unable to define how an identified user characteristic relates to some design decision, then that characteristic should not remain part of the user profile. Box 4.2 shows an audience profile document with a few examples of frequency and design impact.

Once we generate an audience profile, the next step is to classify the audience on the basis of the most likely categories. This categorization, in turn, should be based on some key characteristic such as age range, experience level, job responsibility, national language, or culture. We should then select from the audience profile document a subset of characteristics that are most relevant to the category. The type and size of each audience category will help us determine the types of interface styles required for the Web site. For example, if the target audience is 50 percent English speaking and 50 percent French speaking, then the site will need to be available in two languages and designed for two different cultures.


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