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Determining your audience

After you have decided what you want your website to accomplish, you need to decide who you want your visitors to be. This may seem to be an unnecessary question, since most people want everyone to visit their website; but it is difficult to create a website that every person in the world will be able to use. People around the world use different browsers, connect at different speeds, may or may not have media plug-ins, and use different types of devices to view Internet content. Because all of these factors can affect the use of your site, determining your target audience is a crucial step during the initial phase of website planning.

The audience for The Wildlife Project website is probably one of the most difficult to design for because people from all over the world, from many different age groups, will use the site. As the designer, you must think about the kinds of computers visitors to the site will be using. What platform might be the dominant one (Macintosh, Windows, Linux, and so on)? What is the average connection speed (33.6 modem or DSL) of the typical user? What kinds of browsers, monitor sizes, and other Internet access devices will they be using? All of these factors can greatly affect the way your web page appears to visitors and will also affect the way you test your site once you've created it.

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