Demographics and Website Design

Understanding your target audience

The true potential of your website can only be realized by understanding the audience you wish to draw and focusing your efforts toward them. This target audience must be understood if you wish to design a website that captures their attention. It is only by studying this demographic or group of people that you can begin to understand their mindset and subsequently apply this knowledge to the design of your website.

Demographic data helps you understand the people you want to reach. Gender, age, occupation and income are typical examples of audience demographics. Using this information the webmaster can begin to develop a website design that interests the type of visitors they wish to see coming to their site.

Demographics and website design go hand in hand. Before you begin to develop your website have a clear picture in your mind of the target audience you want to reach. Without a profile of this audience it will be impossible to design a website that appeals to them.

Demographically designed website elements

Demographic data plays a role in developing your website layout, the graphic elements you employ and the message you are presenting. All of these things have an impact on how your visitor perceives your website, and therefore these elements must be keyed to their mindset. You can only do this if you know something about who these people are.

Website layout

Your website layout the layout of individual webpages and your website navigation scheme must all appeal to the people who are visiting your website. The part that demographics plays in this aspect of website design is to help you identify your target audience’s likes and dislikes. Using this knowledge you can begin to develop a website layout that matches their mindset. In general it is best to use a clean and unobtrusive layout that focuses your visitor’s attention on the visible copy found on your webpages.

Graphic elements

Deciding on what graphics, color scheme and pictorial elements to employ in your website design must be driven by the characteristics of your website’s demographics. Some audiences might be attracted to bold, dramatic graphics while others would prefer more subtle and subdued tones. These types of preferences can only be discovered by careful analysis of the segment of the population that comprises your target audience.

Central message

All of the preceding design factors are meant to focus and frame the core subject matter of your site. It is the central message of your website that must get top billing in your website design. No matter how clean your layouts are or how nice your webpages look you will fail in your website design if you do not provide meaningful content that is relevant to your visitors. Demographic analysis is the method by which can define the type of content that will be a hit with the people visiting your website.

Create a visitor profile

Use demographic data to create a visitor profile. Build an outline of the personality of the average person who visits your website. Identify their needs, desires, ambitions, background, etc. This is your visitor profile. Applying this tool can help you to better understand your potential audience and develop a website design that appeals to them.

People come in all shapes and sizes. Their beliefs, lifestyles, hopes, dreams and aspirations are as varied and numerous as the stars in the sky. Reaching a particular segment of this population is the goal of demographic study and analysis. Used intelligently the information you glean from this data will ensure a successful website design.