Your audience is your critical end users of your product, and as the developer, you need to ensure that your product is suited for them. Audiences come from a variety of age brackets, locations and demographics, and every aspect of your product’s design must be designed with the audience in mind.
What is your Audience?
Who will use your product? Saying “everyone” isn’t a good enough answer. Your audience has very specific needs that your product will meet. Social Networks appeal to a many people but have very specific language, age and content restrictions for their audience.
For example, you must be a AGE to sign up to Facebook, but because the age requirement is lower than 18, Facebook is obliged to restrict the content on its service to remain as suitable for that audience as possible. Facebook’s apps also provide a user-friendly design and features that target connecting people, such as a feed algorithms that highlights popular moments, and the ability to tag, comment and share posts. Facebook’s use of language, is not verbose and directly compliments the content “<PERSON> replied to a comment” “<PERSON> shared <OTHER PERSON’S> post”
As another example, in Games, creators have more restrictions to their content. Because Games are rated by an agency for the countries that they’re released in, the restrictions themselves can vary, but the general idea remains THE SAME. For younger audiences, violence must be negligible (either by omission or by adopting a cartoon-visual style to void the seriousness of the act), plot devices must be simpler and less dramatic and dialogue and written text needs to be simple and easy to understand for a younger audience.
How can I sell my product to the right audience?
When designing a product, you should know who should be buying your product. If you are creating an application to assist professionals doing work in their fields, your app doesn’t need to be consumer facing, and as such, doesn’t need a well-designed aesthetic, and should focus on performing its task. Further, an app targeted to professionals is free to use professional language and provide its data and functions in a manner that allows for quick readability instead of a good looks. In the other direction, creating a game for adults has access to adult, violent and sexual themes and events, does not need to censor itself, and is free to use curse-words, can rely on a darker visual aesthetic, and can tell its story in more unique ways (since the audience is presumably older enough to follow more scattered narrative threads and themes).
The content of your product is important too. Like before, Violent and adult situations and themes are more suited for adults in Games, Film and Music, because these themes occasionally align with the lives of adults, or introduce themes that adults are interested in. In games especially, rating agencies are harsher when grading games because the act of doing something in a game is more visceral than watching the act happen in a video.
Dialogue and Written Text
For appropriate content, different language applies. Children have a different range of language compared to adults, and have different requirements in content that appeals to them. The same goes for adults and professionals, who would prefer specific themes and topics be covered with their preferred level of specificity. This also applies to curse language, which is omitted for young audiences but included for adults.
By targeting the various parts of your project to suit your audience, your content will become more accessible and directed for your audience. Having a targeted audience enables you to focus your efforts on engaging one group of people, however big or small, and maximise the effect your product will have on them. In past work, I haven’t discussed how the age bracket will affect my projects at all, which makes it difficult to describe to others how my game will target their desires/assumed knowledge. By doing this, I can ensure that I don’t employ a “shotgun” approach to designing games.