I work with lots of clients on their website strategy. All too often, they want to rush ahead to the visuals. The most crucial step before going to the design is to define the purpose for the site.
The problem is that clients create a broad definition of the purpose of the website. Typical example:
- Generate sales leads
- Provide customer support
- Promote business partnerships
That is three distinct audiences, each with their own set of tasks for the site. Typically, I try to recommend a balance of these for my clients.
Lately, I’ve started talking to the clients about picking one audience and not compromising. And if you need to support multiple audiences, consider having different targeted sites for each audience with content and functionality just for them. At first, it might seem more expensive to create and support multiple sites, but compromising on the audience will almost always compromise your results.