CWS Podcast - Ep. 17: Do Not Force Identities on Users

cws_podcastIn this episode I will explore the dangers of creating navigation and sections of your site built around the visitor's identity. While it may seem like a good idea, important parts of your site may seem invisible if the visitor does not identify with it. The best example is how the Dell computer website used to be organized; Home, Work, and Students. Where would a part time student that lives at home while running their own small business click? Similar situations may exist at your church, and I will examine how to identify and avoid those pitfalls.

Topics covered include:

  • Focusing on the "what", not the "who"
  • Realizing when demographics do matter
  • Advice for multi-site churches

Action Item: Review the points mentioned above and see if your navigation or aspects of your site rely too heavily on visitors self-identifying with a particular segment. I recognize that there are some where you must, but keep it at a minimum. Also, do not segregate based on where someone is located; give them options to travel or request you move closer to them. Lastly, remember that the majority of your content should be focused around meeting various user needs, not presenting activities within your own vocabulary and hoping they find them.

Note: This episode is based on my previous article "Do not Force Identities on Users"


Author: Stephen Morrissey

I have been making websites since 1996, and using social media since 2006. My current profession is designing user experiences for corporate software, websites, and mobile applications. I started sharing my knowledge with the world in 2011, about a year after a revival in my faith.