Designing For a Particular Audience
If you take the time to look around at web sites that are well designed and very effective, you'll see that making sure to target the right audience has a major impact on the design of a website. When designing for a company's website, there is one goal you should have in mind: your target audience. Not thinking about who you are designing for can be disastrous not only for the design team, but for the company you are designing for as well.
Research Is Key
The most important part to any project is research, research, research! In case we didn't stress it enough, research helps you gain information about the audience that you are trying to reach. Included in your research should be both demographics data and psychographics (how they think, feel, want, etc.) data so you can fully understand who you are designing for. Research should also indicate why customers would want to come to the website in the first place, and what they might be trying to take away from it.
Knowing Your Users
Once you have gathered information about your audience and you feel like you understand them, it's time to begin the design process! Knowing what your target audience likes and wants will help you come up with ideas for the layout that much easier. Try to put yourself in the audience's shoes. What would you like to see and how would you like to see it when visiting that particular site? Even if you have a hard time relating, you can still get a good idea as to what they might want.
Design With Your Audience In Mind
When it comes to targeting a particular audience, make sure that the message that the company is trying to convey is clear and concise for the user. Different products and services should be highlighted as well as giving existing customers a reason to keep coming back to the site. Your clients depend on your design for their website. If the design ends up being ineffective, it can be a direct reflection on you as a designer as well as your design company. Rather than just work hard and create a bunch of different designs from the beginning, research and think about who your target audience is and what they would want. Remember, it is always about the user!