WEB202 » User Needs

What types of things does our audience want from our website to sell them on our products or services? By answering this question we will be directly addressing user needs.

What do our users want to get out of this site?

We need to understand that we are not designing this website for ourselves. We are designing for other people and we need to understand what they want and need out of our website

See Also: Wants & Needs Analysis | HCDE518 | Mike Sinkula

By dividing our audience into smaller groups of users that have key characteristics in common, we can define the users needs in more manageable chunks.

We also need to understand how much these users know about the subject matter of our site and what website trends they may be familiar with. User Research is a field devoted to collecting the data needed to develop that understanding using tools such as surveys, interviews and focus groups.

We can then start to develop User Personas with the following criteria:

  1. Demographics: gender, age, education level, marital status, income, etc.
  2. Psychographics: describe the attitudes and perceptions that this user has about the world, technology, etc.
  3. Taskographics: describe a typical task the user might perform on the new site? (For example, register, log on, search for information, buy a specific product, send their email address, or call for more information.)
  4. Sellographics: what types of written and/or visual information does this user want in terms of how it relates to your products or services in order to make that “sale.”

See Also:


Mike's Picture


“The market is flooded with my two cents.”

Mike is continuously looking for the best prices on the most sophisticated audio equipment for his home studio.

Age: 38

Occupation: Instructor, designer, musician and audio engineer

Family: Married with a dog, two cats and a child in the future

Household Income: 90,000/yr.

Personal Profile: Mike graduated from CSU, Chico with a B.A. in Graphic Design & Visual Communications in 1993. He was one of the first punks to come to the Seattle area in 1994 with a B.A. in Graphic Design that also had computer experience using graphic applications on the Macintosh.

Mike has been and will always be a Mac snob. He has owned many over his lifetime and currently has a MacBook Pro laptop that he uses day in and day out for his professional work.

In 1998 Mike was told that he needed to learn web design to be able to compete in his field. So, he took it upon himself learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP. Since first learning these skills, Mike has gone on to teach Web Design at Seattle Central Community College… including this class that you are taking right now.

Internet Usage: Mike is continually using the internet and tries to keep up-to-date on the latest usability trends. He does everything from social networking, to getting his daily dose of “Keith,” to searching for and analyzing products and information that he may buy online.

Since he is a web designer himself, he is also consistently publishing his own content online as well. If you see him knee-deep in code at Caffe Ladro, you may need to tap him on top of the head in order for him to notice you. Don’t be offended.

Unlike many people, Mike is not usually attracted to the latest “cool thing” that one of his friends has found online. If he wanted to see a bunch of flying monkeys, he would watch the “Dark Side of Oz” again. Instead, Mike is more attracted to the “simple and clean” website that is easy to figure out and has the necessary information, applications and features that make the experience worthwhile.

Like many of us, he has been disappointed when he is searching the web for information on many occasions. Therefore, he finds himself searching for information and buying online from only a few select websites that have the features and information that he can count on.

User Goals: Mike has been known to be extremely opinionated about his web usage experience. But, he still hopes for the best when he searches for very specific information online such as measurements and/or applications of a product to see if it will be compatible with his current equipment.

Wants & Needs: So, get your dimensions and photos of the front and back panels ready for him to see. You might also want to have the product manual in PDF form ready as well that he can download, print and stick in his notebook.

Frequently Used Sites:









This portion of the Premium Design Works website is written by Mike Sinkula for the Web Design & Development students at Seattle Central College and the Human Centered Design & Engineering students at the University of Washington.


  1. James F says:

    http://jamesfuthey.com/shirts/ – User Needs & Primary Persona

  2. Doreen Jones says:

    Here’s the link to my Site Objectives & User Needs assignment!


    Thanks! :)

  3. Brian Bailey says:

    Link to User Needs may now be found here: http://photonery.com/web202/

  4. Lia Ngiramolau says:


    User Needs is on user needs link

  5. Nathaniel Cohn says:


    I’ll follow up with a hard copy on Monday.

  6. celine says:

    Thank you, “Personality in a Website” was a wonderful article!

  7. robert hernandez says:

    Site objectives, user need and persona


  8. Sergio says:

    Great way for explaining the persona methodology. I really think its fabulous the *graphics stuff you point out. I sure will share your post with my students, so they use your methodology for our class exercises. I’ll share with you them as soon as I have them (mid-august I presume). So Thanks Mike!


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