Planning Your Website

Planning Your Website

There are several things to consider before launching into the the process of building your website. In this section, I touch on some high-level areas to work through as you plan your website.


What is the product or service or topic of the website? What are the goals of the website? (More to come…)


Having good insight about your target audience is critical to the planning and design of your website. A couple of approaches include conducting research to better understand your audience and creating personas to reflect audience attributes. This will inform your design.

Conduct research to better understand your audience.
Learning the audience starts with knowing demographic info, such as age, gender, education, income and location. If possible, also delving deeper into attitudes, habits, and preferences. Knowing more about your audience will:

  1. Keep the focus on what the audience needs
  2. Serve as a benchmark for every content and design decision
  3. Help eliminate or minimize elements that distract from the goals of the website
  4. Help focus on developing content that speaks to the audience as individuals in a way that reflects an appropriate tone for your website.

Research will also help you:

  • anticipate what will work for audience member
  • avoid alienating them
  • develop empathy for them
  • connect with them
  • avoid confusing them
  • do your best to make life easier for the people who visit your website

Methods. Some Basic research techniques include interviewing the target audience (one-on-one, in person or on the phone, online surveys). You can also conduct usability testing, observe people using the website.

Audience Personas

What are personas? Use your psychographic research to group audience members into categories. You can then create what usability specialists call “personas” to represent your primary and secondary audiences. A persona is an imaginary person, with a name and a life story, whose traits represent the typical audience member. It’s used to help the design and development team speak to the audience’s needs.