First identify the audienceAre they kids? Geeks? Geeky kids? Justin Bieber fans? Well you need to be thinking about that from the start. If you already have a clearly defined audience then you have a great starting point, otherwise you should revert to the time-tested method of creating personas and working out a target audience based on the personas you created. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to hire a marketing consultant right now!
Tailor the interface to suit the primary audienceNow you've got the fundamental concept of who you're designing for (remember, it's not the client), the next step is to make UI decisions based on the definition of that audience. So for example, if we're designing for young kids, then the decisions we'd make would be something like this:
- Simple layout with no advanced navigation techniques, site search etc.
- Large, rounded sans-serif fonts (consider cartoon styles).
- More use of bold typeface than normal
- Maximal use of images, particularly illustrations
- Minimal text, lots of white space
- More use of primary colors than normal
- More animations than normal
- Complex layouts with sophisticated navigation system
- More emphasis on text, using highly relevant images only to enhance the text
- Use photo-realistic images whenever possible
- Use charts, graphs, and tables for data presentation
- Smaller fonts, consider serif when it's important that text is highly readable
- Minimal use of bright colors, avoidance of pure primary colors unless they're relevant
- Avoid animations unless essential
Don't let your clients sabotage themselvesClients often destroy all the good work you do for them by making suggestions and recommendations based on what they like to see in a website. You need to remind them that the site is not for them, it's for their audience. If you don't, then you're letting your client down, and more importantly you're creating one more site that can't go in your portfolio because it misses the mark. Featured image, audience image via Shutterstock.
Emma Grant is a professional freelance content writer from Ireland. Over the past three years she has travelled the world while running her business from her laptop. You find her at www.florencewritinggale.com
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