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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Understanding Audiences

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Guide to understanding audiences and personas

Training session 2 materials:

We need to understand our audiences so we can cater to their needs.

Our primary goal: understand the site user’s frame of mind.

Personas: Personas are fictional representations of website audiences. They help us to keep our site users in mind and guide the discussion around content creation.
The idea: personas help guide us in the right general direction. They are not law and they are not perfect, but they are a representative we can rely on to help gut check decisions.

How do we put ourselves in the end-user’s shoes?

Questions to consider when crafting or reviewing content:

  1. What persona am I writing for?
    • How old are they?
    • Where do they live?
    • What do they do? (work full time, high school student, stay-at-home mom?)
  2. What is this site visitor’s current mindset or scenario?
    • Why is this site visitor looking at your website?
    • What is this site visitor’s primary motivation?
  3. Who or what influences their decisions?
    • Other university websites? Third party ranking websites?
    • Parents, family, friends, or teachers? Business associates or competitors?
  4. What goals does this site visitor have?
    • Want to attend school close to home, but not too close?
    • Want to go back to school to complete a degree as a working adult?
    • Want to find the best school for son or daughter without breaking the bank?
  5. What information does this site visitor need in order to reach their goals?
  6. What fears does this site visitor have?
    • Do they fear not getting a job after graduation?
    • Is the cost of education a pain point?
    • How can we address their fears?