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Blueprints for Success are Provided by the User

Every person has a different opinion about what success is. For one individual, success for this site could be creating a well researched website that covers all aspects of the bridge. Another person could define success as having done extensive research on just one topic. It all can vary from person to person. For our purposes, I do feel that we need to agree upon an audience if we want to determine success with our user base, outside of an exit survey or a hit count.

I realize that we are shying away from the thought of a general audience. I would agree that this shouldn’t be used to define our audience. However, since we are developing a website on a topic that has already been researched, I do feel that we should use some type of academic anchor point, even if everyone is going to have access to our website. I believe that this will help us to create a better website by being more specific, and will also give us the chance to talk with real users of our site. I don’t think that we should be worried about those that just happen to stumble upon our website. I do believe that we should try to retain a specific user base be creating a site that they will keep coming back too.

In information architecture, they stress the importance of realizing that everyone has different perspectives. “The fact is that labeling and organization systems are intensely affected by their creators’ perspectives.? (O’Reilly, 2007, p.57) Because of the various perspectives we have when creating this site, it will be difficult to pull the topics together in a way that all of the creators (us) will be happy.

In the same regard, we could put together the best site in the world on this subject, and if no one wants to look at it, or come back to it, have we succeeded? We may say yes, or users may say no, for many various reasons.

Because of these two issues, I feel that it will be much more beneficial to our users, and much easier for us to compile information if we are putting together a website that will be based on an audience, and not what we THINK people want. I believe that when we have a happy user base, getting the information that they are seeking, we WILL be successful.

If there are a thousand websites out there, compiling information about the 35w bridge, there really won’t be any reason for users to choose our website over the next. If we just provide information to a broad, unidentified audience, we will just be an Internet echo.

We need to be unique, and it is my belief, that our audience’s need will determine our success.


Hi Quinn, thanks for your comment in which you commented on how "[you] think that we should be putting together a site that has information that is important to our audience." Then in your post, you mention the audience again. You focus on the audience, and I think this is really great! It shows that you really care about the needs of the site visitors, and I seriously applaud you for it. Not to sound too emotional, but I feel as though people are sometimes very selfish and only think about themselves. It's refreshing to read your thoughts and feels good knowing that there are people (like you) out there who are selfless. You're a good man, Quinn!

Quinn -- you make a very good point here, but you don't tell us what specific audience you want to slant toward. (I realize you did in last week's forums, but we don't always remember by the next week...)