Design for the customers you don't have

I think the sentiment below applies in most channels and domains, not just the web. Indeed, when I look at a contact centre, I'm always keen to ask whether non-telephony channels are on the plan later down the line (e.g. social media). You always need to be looking ahead. Nik.

When doing any sort of redesign work on the web, you want to keep your existing customers in mind. You have no doubt done countless hours of research and user testing to get your business and website to where it is today. It is probably even safe to say that you have a very good understand of your customers and who they are.

Thats all fine and dandy. Great even.

But, to me it seems flawed to only take into account your current customers when doing any sort of research, planning, or designing. If you only ever take your current customers into account, how can you ever plan on growing your business?

Yes, if you understand your current customer and build for them, your company will most likely grow at a steady rate. Again, this is fine if its the way you want to do things. But, most business owners I know are constantly looking to the future and how they can grow their business.

By growing a business, one would assumes you are looking to acquire customers that are different from the ones you currently have. These new customers may be fairly similar to the ones your currently have or the may be extremely different. So do yourself a favor, when doing your research and user testing, get feedback from people outside of your customer profile.

Getting feedback from people outside of your typical customer profile will help give you valuable insights on how to grow your business to appeal to a wider variety of people.

[full article source at Outlaw Design]