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In the spring of 09, National Wildlife Federation sent out a survey to its constituents presenting the new website design. Happily, the profanity used was in adulation not condemnation for the designs. Which is a proud success note as from day one of the design strategy, a great amount of time was spent thinking through who the web audience is and will be for the organization. Based on the result the website will be appealing to its core demographic while catching the fancy of new handsome suitors… meaning, it will flirt with new people while not upsetting the ones its been married to for 20 years.

View the Redesign

Tips on designing for audiences

When considering designing for an audience, it is important not to get hung up on characterizations and stereotypes. While they can be considered, they usually are more offensive than helpful. For National Wildlife Federation, I choose to group audience types by passions and what motivates them. From that grouping, you start to see what commercial brands attempt to tap into those passions and makes decisions on whether you agree with those attempts (do all moms like picnics on a flower filled hill?).

Part of the research also requires looking at competitor sites and define what audience type they are trying to speak to. For NWF, we felt the audience we wanted to reach out to was not being considered by the competitors — outdoor types that enjoy their old Jeeps and ratty chinos. The audience that wants to feel nature on their face while they tend to their heirloom tomatoes in pouring rain. People that know the granduer of the outdoors cannot be contained in a web browser but appreciate a design that tries with big bold photos.

The website designs and the multiple subsite designs are completed but you’ll have to wait until October to explore the live experience. In the meantime, NWF needs our support to protect the threatened and disappearing wildlife – visit for info.

Michael Schafer
Michael has spent the past 25 years applying his experience and superpowers to further the missions of social-good organizations, and has no plans to stop.