When building a website, you must first meet the needs of your audience to succeed. At least in theory, few people would disagree with this: why not have a website without serving the audience? Unfortunately, this idea is often lost when planning and implementing actual websites. It started as a friendly collaborative project, often ending with parts of the organization scrambling to apply what they think is the best office or department for them.

Don’t let this happen to you. People who are satisfied with your website will think better about your organization, and your swap blade skills may be a little rusty. With this in mind, here are some statements that you will never hear users say-although from the perspective of many sites, many site owners have different views on this.

“Forget the product or service that I’m trying to find…tell me how I can learn more about this organization’s executive team and how wonderful they are! I bet they have nice smiles.”
“This landing page is waaaay too simple. Why not make the layout reflect our staffing chart?”
“Why isn’t this menu more complicated? I’d really like to see more flyouts and have it go down another two or three levels.”
“Why would you need a decent search function? Exploration enlarges the human spirit! Did Columbus have a search engine? Did Columbus discover a new continent? Exactly! I like to think of it as ‘online spelunking.’”
“Can we get more pictures of the organization’s executive team? At least a glamour shot or two?”
“This font is too big for my mobile device. Why can’t it be small and just a single serif beyond illegible? I love making that pinching gesture on my screen- it allows me to feel more in control of my life.”
“Could we get a few more colors and drop shadows? I like a site that makes me feel like I’m looking at a seasick rainbow that just got off a whale-watching boat tour without taking any Dramamine.”
“Did I mention how much I love text-heavy pages? Sometimes it’s nice to remember that images exist… only sometimes though.”
“I hate being able to scroll smoothly through a continuous webpage. It takes all the challenge out of reading through a document. I would like to see more PDFs with (at the very least) 8-10 pages at the beginning with no meaningful content, in addition to unwieldy pagination. Huge, print-ready images = always a plus!”
“What press releases did this organization issue seven years ago? I’d like to read them each, one-by-one, in chronological order.”
Of course, if you do think your users will say any of those things, you could always ask them. But that will have to be another blog post.

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