All About Website Usability Blog – Holly Phillips

Know thy customer, pt 3 – now what?
June 8, 2009, 4:52 am
Filed under: personas, usability basics

Now you have a great, rich persona or lots of research about your target market and key customers.  Clearly this helps you decide what products they might be interested in, but how does this help you design a website?  After all, good design is good design, right?

Yes and no.  Clearly the basics of good website design apply no matter who your target customers are.  You need to make sure your site is intuitive, clearly laid out, uses clear scentful link names, etc.  But once you have a clear idea of your customer, that can help guide your design decisions.  For example, we were trying to decide whether to include links to arranging for product calibration on our main product pages.  Doing so would have added more complexity to the pages, but the division in charge of our calibration services really wanted those links. 

Our persona research let us answer that debate.  We knew that our key personas never arranged for calibration of his products himself; instead, he sent his units to his centralized calibration team who them would arrange for repair using a very different part of the site.  Knowing that let us confidently decide to NOT include calibration links on the main product pages, since we knew the people who needed those links would never look at that page.

One of the biggest benefits of having solid personas (or customer research) is to enable confident decisions like this.  Since you can’t do direct research to support every design decision, having personas is the next best thing.


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