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n audience is a group of people that is defined by both a common set of traits shared by its members, and by your decision
to deliver value to that group in the form of content or functionality.
In this section, I discuss the idea of audiences from the perspectives
of marketing, software development, and writing. I discuss how you
may go about segmenting users into audiences, and then I detail the
information that you need to capture about each of your audiences
so that you can deliver the best content to them.
It never ceases to amaze me how much lip service people pay to
understanding their audiences and how little real effort they put into
doing so. I’ve never run into someone who disagrees with the statement “You must understand who you’re serving if you’re to serve
them well.” On the other hand, I know of precious few who do anything more than a cursory analysis of those they intend to serve.
Cataloging Audiences Jumpstart
This Jumpstart summarizes what you need to do to include localization in your CM process and system.
Use this jumpstart as a summary without the weight of detail, or as a
quick review if you’ve already read the chapter and want a checklist
of what you need to do localization.
To analyze your audiences you can follow these steps:
1. Define your potential audiences. If your organization doesn’t
already have a well-defined audience document, expect to
spend several iterations refining your audience definition with
key stakeholders.
2. Refine your list of audiences. Determine how the CMS can help
you serve each audience better and also reach your goals.
3. For each audience on your final list:
• Identify them by giving each audience a name and charting the characteristics that describe it.
• Describe their demographics using a narrative that
explains the audience and how they benefit from your
organization. Also include descriptive characteristics
such as their jobs, technical savvy, and traditional demographics, as well as the size of this audience.
In This Chapter
Serving versus exploiting
your audiences
Looking at audiences
through the lens of a
Collecting information
about your audiences
during logical design
Part IV ✦ Designing a CMS
• Determine their attitudes, including their beliefs and opinions about the subjects
of your content. Describe how you will establish credibility with the audience,
what arguments will resonate with them, how to approach them effectively, and
how much personal data you can gather from them.
• Understand how they will compare your offerings to competitive publications.
Determine what publications (yours and others) the audience most commonly
• Determine what you offer of value to them. Outline what benefits you offer and
what costs you extract. Describe how you communicate this value equation to
them and monitor it over time.
• Decide how they will use your information. Start by identifying their goals for
each of the publications you target to them; next, develop use case reviews, test
usability, and describe how you expect the audience to use each publication.
• Figure out what sort of profile to create for them. A profile is a collection of traits
and trait values. Decide which traits you can use to categorize individuals and
place them in the correct audience.
• Determine the localities that your audience encompasses. Localities take into
account the local culture as well as the capability of your organization to provide
content tailored to that locale. Include primary, constituent, and key localities in
your description.
• Determine the tasks that you must do on an ongoing basis to accommodate the
audiences that you identify. These tasks can range from periodic review of audience definitions to monitoring their activities via site logs. You might also review
competing publications and do periodic usability and use case reviews.
4. Relate your audiences to the other entities in your analysis. Be sure, above all, that by
serving them with the information they want you are able to advance your goals
After you’ve identified and described your audiences, you can use the traits to serve as the
user profiles on which you can build your personalization module.
Serving versus Exploiting an Audience
At the same time as you want to serve your audience, you also want to get something from
them. The more that you know about people, the better you can anticipate their needs and
provide them with just the right content. On the other hand, the better you know people, the
more you can manipulate them into doing what you want them to. (Usually, you want them to
buy something.)
This paradox plays out on both sides of the computer screen. Users expect the Web sites that
they visit to be smart enough to anticipate their needs. They gravitate toward sites that seem
to know them and remember their preferences. On the other hand, users are wary or even
hostile toward sites that ask a lot of questions. The question immediately comes to mind:
“What are they going to do with this information?”
Direct marketers live by the creed of “Know thy audience.” They collect as much information
as possible on you and then carefully craft a message that they think you may respond to.
Direct marketers live and die by the lists of targeted audiences that they create. Marketers
walk that very thin line between serving their audiences and exploiting them. And, very interestingly, the line isn’t a sharp one. Consider the same piece of junk mail sent to two neighbors.
Chapter 25 ✦ Cataloging Audiences
The mail is a flyer advertising a long-distance telephone plan. Neighbor A has a plan and is
happy with it. She feels put upon and manipulated and says, “I hate all these advertisements
trying to get me to buy something!” Neighbor B just moved in and has been researching longdistance phone plans all day. She looks with interest on the ad and says, “How fortuitous to
get this today. I wish that every phone company had sent me one.”
However thin and imprecise the line is between service and exploitation, a line still exists.
And in your own publications, you can choose to cross it or not.
For the record, I forbid you to use any of the techniques that I mention in this book to manipulate or behave unethically toward your audiences!
Content Mismanagement
In an inner-city elementary school a few years ago, there was a librarian who kept books from
children and children from books. The librarian didn’t teach children how to use libraries, they
were not made to feel at home, and their curiosity was not welcomed. The library shelves were
almost naked, but the librarian stood in the way of parents and teachers who were trying to get
more books.
A working library includes book checkout, return, and a functioning catalogue so a student can
learn to get from subject, author, or title to a book on the shelf. This library had none of those;
and students, even teachers, couldn’t predictably find a book without asking the librarian. The
books on the shelves didn’t match the catalogue; the numbers swung wildly, as did the alphabet.
The librarian used a “personal” system instead of the system used at other schools and libraries.
When asked how students were to locate books in his system, the librarian answered, “Every
library has its idiosyncrasies and the children know mine.” Even if that were true, is the purpose
of a school library for students to learn a unique and idiosyncratic system or conventional library
skills that can be used in other libraries and throughout their lives?
The librarian kept many books locked away out of the general collection, and most new books
never got put on the shelves. As a result, even the school PTA stopped donating books to the
The librarian repeatedly stated, “I will not change,” and that rather than alter his system in “my”
library, he would forfeit funding to get books — and in fact he did so. Teachers’ objections weren’t
able to change the librarian’s ways, so most classes didn’t use the library. Instead teachers kept
limited book collections in their classrooms.
Many children were robbed of irreplaceable time and precious opportunities. Each day was an
irredeemable loss to children who pass this way but once.
It’s already a struggle for kids to get a decent education. There can be no waste of scarce
resources. But this librarian was not forced out; he left in his own time, only when he became eligible for retirement.
In this century we have learned the hard way that “evil flourishes when good people do nothing.”
When children are deprived of tools for understanding the world because a school library is run
as the librarian’s private kingdom, and nobody can or will do something about it, something is
terribly wrong. A great deal of content is being tragically mismanaged.
Donald J. Horowitz, former Superior Court Judge, State of Washington; Chair, Access to Justice
Technology Bill of Rights Committee, Washington Access to Justice Board
Part IV ✦ Designing a CMS
I believe that the key to staying on the right side of the line between service and exploitation
is to place a value proposition at the base of your audience analysis. For each audience that
you expect to serve, you must decide what its members want from you and what you want
from them. Then make sure that the equation is balanced. If you’re willing to give as much
value as you expect from your audiences in return, the relationship involves no exploitation.
Your value propositions can serve as the guiding principles behind every other part of how
you work with this audience.
What Is an Audience?
Audiences are simply groups of people that you choose to serve in some way. The first natural
question to answer is, “How do I know someone who’s in my audience from someone who’s
not?” The answer is to find the set of traits that distinguishes this audience from others and
then figure out whether the person in question demonstrates these traits.
A trait is a specific characteristic of a person that you can discover, store, and combine with
other characteristics to know this person. For you, a person, to know another person is one
thing. For a computer to know a person is quite another. For you or me, a person isn’t some
set of data points; she’s a complex being whom we intuitively “get.” You say that you know
someone if you can recognize her and can accurately predict what she may do, say, and want.
No computer that I know of can “get” a person in this sense, so you better settle for something
less. You can settle for coming up with a few isolated traits and using them to try to predict
wants. And, amazingly, that approach basically works. In most of the circumstances that you
face in a CMS, you can limit the number of potential wants that you serve. You can also draw
wide enough distinctions between your users that determining who’s who and what they
probably want isn’t too hard. As you learn to discern more traits more accurately, you can
continue to get better at predicting more wants for more people.
Although many disciplines talk around or about audiences, I’ve never seen the concept nailed
down enough to become specifically useful in the context of a CMS. So in the following list, I
try to draw the elements of audiences out of the three different disciplines in which I’ve seen
the concept operate. My goal is to piece together a use of the term audience that you can
apply very specifically to a CMS:
✦ From the discipline of writing and oral communication: I draw the idea of audience
analysis, which tries to define what you need to know to “speak” to a particular group
of people.
✦ From marketing: I draw the notions of segmentation and profiling, which tries to tie
groups of people together by using data about them.
✦ From computer science: I draw the notion of the user as a kind of person that an
application must serve psychologically and ergonomically.
From these three bases, I construct the set of data that you can gather to understand, serve,
and be served by your audiences.
Audiences and communicators
Writers, public speakers, and other communication professionals have used the concept of
an audience analysis for a long time. A lot is written on this subject, appearing in textbooks
and the popular press. Most of the work that I’ve seen boils down to the following seemingly
simple points:
Chapter 25 ✦ Cataloging Audiences
✦ Who are these people objectively? What are their ages, interests, jobs, and other
relevant data?
✦ What does this audience already know and believe about this subject?
✦ What are people’s needs and desires for new information in your subject area?
✦ What kind of presentation style are they likely to respond to favorably?
✦ What publications do they already trust, and to which are they likely to compare
✦ What’s the author’s relationship to this audience? Is she a peer, an expert, or an
✦ How do you establish credibility with this audience? What do audience members
consider good information sources, arguments, and examples?
✦ What tasks and purposes do your audience members have in mind as they approach
your material?
This sort of analysis has motivated communicators from the ancient Greek rhetoricians to
the modern technical writer and journalist. I believe that it’s a pretty good list of the sorts of
information required to understand how to communicate with an audience. Most of the time,
you conduct this analysis quite informally, and it results in an intuitive feel that gives the
communicator a sense of how to approach an audience. For a CMS audience analysis, you can
make the answers to these questions explicit and relate them to the parts of the CMS that
they’re going to help structure.
Audiences and marketing
I rarely hear marketing people use the word audience, but I hear them talk about target markets all the time. A market itself is a group of people with common concerns that motivate
their behaviors — basically, it’s an audience. Within the broad market that an organization
serves are market segments that consist of subgroups with identifiable traits and targetable
Marketers are getting more and more precise in how they construct and manage segment
data and how they target individuals. Today’s merchandizing and campaign-management systems are very sophisticated in the ways that they divide people into categories (or segments)
based on the data that they can collect or acquire. These systems match profiles to the materials that each group is to receive. Profiles are sets of traits and trait values that you can
group together to define a kind of person.
Traits are another form of metadata. They consist of data about a person.
Traits such as age, sex, interests, pages viewed, job type, and time on the site, for example,
may be at your disposal and you can use them to define segments. You may create a segment
that you call Info Addicts, for example, that consists of males between the ages of 16 and 25
who spent a lot of time on your site. Based on the age and sex of a visitor (which you ask or
otherwise obtain) and the time that visitor spends on the site (which you measure), you can
determine who is and who’s not an Info Addict. Of course, the next question is, “So what?”
What do you do differently with an Info Addict than with any other visitor?
Part IV ✦ Designing a CMS
Marketers use segmentation information to understand and speak to a market segment. They
may design an ad campaign, for example, to reach these info addicts and draw them to your
site. The kind of advertisements that Info Addicts receive are different from those that a segment that you call, say, Casual Browsers receives.
You can use this same approach in your CMS to identify audiences and target content to them.
Audiences and users
I’ve never heard programmers use the word audience; but as they talk about users, programmers are using the same concept. Users are the consumers of computer applications.
Users access an application through a user interface. To be successful, a user interface must
be usable. Usability testers recruit representatives of user groups and watch them use the
application to see whether it works well for them. What are these user groups if they’re not
Today’s hot design process Unified Modeling Language (UML) makes the link to audiences even
more tangible. Programmers use UML to model the way that you use an application before
they put any effort into programming it. UML defines roles as the types of people who’re
likely to use an application. In UML, you create a set of use cases that define what a type of
person wants to accomplish and how you can expect her to go about accomplishing it.
For an electronic publication, audiences are users. In fact, I call audience members users
throughout this book as I discuss people interacting with Web sites and other electronic publications. Thus application usability, user groups, and use cases apply literally to much of
what a CMS produces.
In fact, I carry the notions of usability and use cases forward into my discussion of CMS audience analysis. As part of the audience analysis that you do for a CMS, you can define a set of
use cases and usability concerns for each audience.
How many audiences do you have?
The Web gave rise to the notion of “one-to-one electronic marketing.” The idea is to use technology to reach out to each person and serve that person individually. The computer, many
believe, can know you and serve you the way that the corner grocer used to. Personally, I
can’t imagine a computer leaving me with the same feeling as the retailers of my youth. But
personality aside, is an audience size of one obtainable in your organization? And if it’s even
technically feasible, is driving toward that much segmentation advisable?
First, you need to determine what level of audience segmentation is feasible. Considering that
most publishing systems in use today don’t have any notion of audiences (that is, they serve
one conglomerate audience), you may be best off by beginning modestly. You may ask, “What’s
the smallest number of audiences that we can divide our users into and still derive tangible
business benefit?” Or you may ask, “What audience segments does everybody agree on
today?” or even, “Can we latch onto one or two traits to use to divide our users into just two
Regardless of how ambitious your approach is, the following things are sure:
✦ You need at least a few cycles of defining and refining audiences before you can know
for sure that you have it right. If your organization’s worked at this goal for a while, you
can perhaps say right now who your key audiences are. If not, expect to start somewhere and continue to refine toward a stable set of audiences.
Chapter 25 ✦ Cataloging Audiences
✦ Your audiences change over time. Not only do your segments get smaller and smaller,
but you also begin to expand toward audiences that you may not have been initially
prepared to serve or that present themselves as good opportunities to broaden your
Second, what level of audience segmentation is desirable? One-to-one marketing would have
you believe that you should aim to serve segments of one: You should know each person as
an individual and target each one personally. Supposing that this task is even feasible — that
is, that you can put in place the technology to accomplish it — I’d question whether it’s generally desirable. What does having audience segments of one really do for you? Most argue that
the benefit lies in increased loyalty and a better sense of service and trust. Maybe so, but it
comes with a cost as well, as the following list describes:
✦ Content differentiation: Can you segment and tag your content so thoroughly that it’s
different for each person who receives it?
✦ Traits: Can you create and maintain user profiles that are rich enough to differentiate
every user?
✦ Leverage: Do you want to forgo the capability to develop messages with wide appeal
and leveragability over a large number of people?
The whole concept of one-person audiences flies in the face of audience analysis. Authors
don’t create different content for each person. They create different content for each kind of
person. It contradicts, too, the basic idea that organizations serve constituent groups and not
isolated individuals. They craft value (products, services, information) that appeals to a kind
of person and not to an aggregation of lone individuals who are more different than the same.
So if the extra work of very small audiences doesn’t stop you, the lack of real value to your
organization may.
On the other hand, in some cases, certain aspects of one-to-one marketing do work: identifying
users, for example, and then providing them with their purchase history; or, as Amazon.com
does, sending e-mail messages announcing books that may interest a reader based on past
purchases. In this last example, conceivably no two people receive the same series of e-mail
Audiences and Localization
Localization is the process of making content as understandable as possible in the variety of
cultures that view it. Most simply put, if you want people from more than one culture to use
your content, you’d better think about localization.
Communication is at the center of a CMS. How you communicate depends a lot on the culture
of the person with whom you’re communicating. Thus a CMS that communicates well with
people of various cultures has localization at its core. As central as localization may be, however, I’ve rarely seen it at the core of a CMS. Rather, it’s normally at the periphery and is most
often an afterthought. Why? Following are two reasons:
✦ Ignorance: Unfortunately, many people simply don’t understand enough to know that
localization is a core issue of a CMS. Either they believe that users take on the burden
of understanding the language and conventions of the native culture of the organization;
or they think that simply translating some of the text of the system as an afterthought
is enough. Especially in the United States, but clearly in every country to some degree,
an ignorance of the need for localization has helped prevent localization’s wide-scale
Part IV ✦ Designing a CMS
✦ Difficulty: Localization is hard. It adds a lot of complexity to an already complex system. Variations in language and especially variations in content structure combine to
drive up the effort and, in turn, the cost of a localized CMS.
In a rapidly globalizing world, staying ignorant of the need to localize for very long is difficult.
And indeed, over the course of my time in the computer-information field, I’ve seen the consciousness and understanding of localization grow from a few voices to a full discipline and
A CMS can’t help you much in raising the consciousness of your organization about the need
to localize, but it can deal quite effectively with the difficulty of localization. You can hand off
a lot of the effort and organization that surrounds localization to a CMS. A CMS can organize
the localization effort, but it can’t do the localization. That requires people. So, although a
CMS can make localization a lot easier, it remains an expensive and slow process.
I claim no great expertise in localization. I’ve seen more aborted attempts at localization than
I have successes. So my goal in this discussion isn’t to present a comprehensive account of
localization or to survey the current trends, but rather to present a set of concepts and
vocabulary around localization that I can weave into the fabric of my wider discussions of
content management.
What is localization?
Localization is the process of making content as understandable as possible in the variety of
cultures in which people view it. I’m going to work back from this definition to one that’s
more useful in the context of a CMS.
The definition has the following three major concepts:
✦ Culture: I want to keep this very complex issue as simple as possible and define culture
as a set of shared communication and behavior standards that a group of people adopts
and upholds. Not all that long ago, geography was the main indicator of culture. People
who lived near each other shared a culture. Today, that’s too simple a way to look at it.
As anyone who’s walked down the street in any major city of the world can tell you, cultures aren’t countries. Today, I’d define culture as a dynamic mix of language, region,
ethnicity, and other affiliations. However, to stay within the general bounds of the
accepted localization terminology, I use the word locality and not culture to capture the
concept of localization. This has validity in the software development (and larger business) world, where often local subsidiaries of a company are responsible for handling
the marketing of company products for their locality.
✦ Understanding: What makes content as understandable as possible? Clearly the language in which you write any text is the biggest factor. But it’s not just language. As I
discuss in the following section, translation is only the start. You must recognize and
change a world of other, more subtle local conventions.
✦ Process: Localization is a process. In fact, I’d say that, by and large, it’s an authoring
process. The content that someone authors for one locality, someone else must then
reauthor for another. The localization process encompasses many mechanical parts,
where bits of content move from person to person for processing. But after the content
arrives on the localizer’s screen, the mechanics end and it becomes a human process
of knowing what works in one locality or the other.
Chapter 25 ✦ Cataloging Audiences
So, for the purpose of a CMS, I define localization as follows:
An authoring process in which you make the communication conventions of your content optimally understandable in the various languages, regions, and affiliation groups
that you care to serve.
What are your localities?
A locality is a specific combination of language, region, and affiliations. Following are some
examples of localities that illustrate the concept:
✦ Turkey: You define this locality by a region (Turkey). Regardless of the language that
some inhabitants may speak, you use Turkish to communicate; and regardless of their
ethnic or religious affiliations (Kurds, Moslems, and so on), you speak to them as secular Moslems. You would create this locality if you were opening an office in Istanbul.
✦ Francophones: You define this locality by language (French). Regardless of location
(Africa, Europe, North America) and any other affiliations (citizenship, political persuasion, religion, and so on), you speak to this audience in French. You may create a locality such as this one if you discover that 30 percent of your product inquiries come from
French-speaking people.
✦ Social conservatives: You define this locality by an affiliation. It includes people that
may be offended by words or images that depict the human body or allude to sex.
You may create this locality to acknowledge the fact that half the people who visit your
Web site come from regions or religions where conservative mores prevail. Regardless
of the language that they speak or the region where they live, you speak to these people without sexual words or images.
I choose the preceding three examples not because they’re common ways that people localize,
but to make the point that a locality isn’t always a language. For you to consider it a locality, a
group of people must share a set of communication assumptions that you care to cater to.
Given the amount of work that catering to communication assumptions involves, you’re
unlikely to create a locality for every group that you may discover. Rather, you identify the
following types of localities:
✦ A primary locality: This type is the default locality for your content. The most popular
primary locality today is International English. This locality assumes a fluency in the
English language but tries to use no expressions or styles that are idiomatic to a particular region where English is spoken.
✦ Constituent localities: These types are all the localities where you expect people to use
your publications.
✦ Key localities: These types are the localities that you choose to actually serve.
To implement localization in a CMS, you group all the constituent localities into a few key
localities. You choose the key localities to cover the widest set of constituents possible. The
primary locality serves as the master content that you then localize into the assumptions of
the key localities.
I’m aware that the primary locality of this book is American Techno English. This locality
involves the set of communication assumptions common to educated middle- and upperclass citizens of the United States who have a strong affiliation to the Web and electronicpublication communities. If you’re not in this group, I apologize for making things easier for
me and harder for you by using words such as Techno English.
Part IV ✦ Designing a CMS
Audiences and locality
Audiences and localities aren’t the same concept. An audience certainly may all reside in a
single locality, but an audience may also spread over a range of localities. I’ve heard some
people advocate dividing each locality into its own audience from the start. The idea is that
each locality exhibits such a different set of needs that it’s necessarily a different group. Well,
maybe, but then again, maybe not. I think that assuming that you always find big differences
between localities is just as wrong as assuming that all localities are the same (which is the
argument that people sometimes make to avoid localization altogether).
The chief lesson that audience analysis teaches you is not to assume anything but instead to
find out. Your best bet, I believe, is to define your audience segments based on the content
needs that you can identify and cater to. If those needs happen to divide people by language
or regional lines, fine. If not, that’s fine, too.
In any case, don’t confuse localization with audience. A Spanish-speaking person in Chile may
share more significant traits with a Russian speaker in Israel than with a Chilean in the next
office. Just because one can’t read Russian and the other can’t read Spanish doesn’t make
them two audiences. It makes them members of two localities.
Different audiences get different content. Different localities get the same content in
different ways.
Nonetheless, I choose the audience chapter as the spot for my major discussion of localization for the following good reasons:
✦ You direct most localization toward an audience.
✦ Localities often are audiences.
✦ A localization analysis shares much in common with an audience analysis.
What gets localized?
Obviously, the main event of localization is translation. Translating text and tracking your
translations is a big job and may be all that you ever manage to do to localize your content.
As part of the translation or, better, as a part of the original authoring of your content, however, you want to consider the following more subtle communication conventions:
✦ Idioms: These conventions are word uses that are particular to a locality. The phrase
on the fly, for example, which I use frequently, isn’t in general use throughout the
English-speaking world and likely doesn’t even have a good translation in many other
languages. So to localize a phrase such as on the fly may require more than translating
the words. It may require more than finding the corresponding expression in the other
locality. It may require a reauthoring of the phrase to get its true meaning across in different localities.
✦ Metaphors: These conventions are phrases that use one set of circumstances to illustrate a similar relationship in another set of circumstances. In this book, for example, I
discuss the “wheel of content management.” The idea is that the relationships between
content-management entities is similar to that of the relationship between the parts of
a wheel. Does that metaphor make sense in all localities? I hope so! If not, a large section of this book needs reauthoring to fix the problem.
✦ Connotations: These conventions are the additional nuances of meaning that you
ascribe to a word or phrase in addition to the main meanings that you find in a dictionary. Meanings are fairly standard, but connotations vary widely by locality. I choose
Chapter 25 ✦ Cataloging Audiences
the word component, for example, to describe classes of content partly for its connotation to me. I remember creating a stereo system out of what are generally known as
components. Each component is sold separately, but together they make a wonderful
✦ References: These conventions are specific mentions of people, things, or events that
you use to make a point. I frequently refer to Amazon (at www.amazon.com), for example, hoping that it’s an example that’s known to my audience regardless of locality. I
suspect that I’m right, but then, I wouldn’t know if I was wrong.
This list isn’t exhaustive, but it gives you a feeling for the kind of conventions that localization
involves beyond simple translation. To continue, I turn now to the hot spots (yet another
idiomatic expression) of localization, as the following list describes:
✦ Look-and-feel: In publications, you spend a lot of time figuring out how to make your
publications communicate certain emotions and intangible ideas. This area may be
the most locality-bound part of a CMS. What color, imagery, sound, and text style communicates which emotion varies a lot from locality to locality. What in one locality says
“elegant” may, in a different locality, say “bizarre!”
✦ Messages: These concepts are the key ideas that you want a user to take away from
your publications. (See Chapter 26, “Designing Publications,” in the section “Messages.”)
Messages are locality bound. The immediate message especially, which you communicate as much by look-and-feel as by words, may not map well between localities.
✦ Tone: A general tone (casual, formal, official, friendly, and so on) is often hard to replicate across localities without major reauthoring. In this book, for example, I try to
maintain a casual and friendly tone. In some localities, such a tone may very well read
as disrespectful or even comical.
✦ Examples: You use examples to bring a concrete and tangible reference to bear on an
abstract concept. As references, examples are locality bound. Examples must address
the experience of your audience but must also make sense to your various localities.
✦ Illustrations: You use illustrations to summarize complex concepts or capture the
essence of the text around them. Aside from the fact that illustrations are technically
much harder to translate, you can embed a lot of local context in illustrations that
can make them confusing outside their locality of origin. I use a picture of a “standard”
organizational chart, for example, to discuss information flow in the organization. (See
Chapter 14, “Working within the Organization,” in the section “Tracking Information
Flow in the Organization.”) If that “standard” chart is unknown in your locality, in no
way does my illustration help you to understand the concept. In fact, it’s likely to confuse you more.
Localization and content management
Localization and content management go hand in hand. In fact I’d go so far as to say that the
central issues of localization are among the central issues of content management, as the following list discusses:
✦ Collection: How do you author or acquire content in a way that frees it from its context
by explicitly stating its context? For localization, you make content free from its locality
by tagging the parts that are locality bound. In content management in general, you
make content free from any particular audience or publication by tagging the places
that are audience- or publication-specific. In both cases, you’re not trying to remove
the context of the content but rather to explicitly state it so that you can formulate and
Part IV ✦ Designing a CMS
implement logical rules for the use of the content. In a collection, for example, you can
tag each example with the localities that it’s useful for. You can develop alternative
examples for your other localities.
✦ Management: How do you store and administer content in such a way that people can
find, access, and most easily use it? In localization, the point is to deliver content to
the localization team as efficiently as possible. Doing so may mean delivering only the
examples that need translating to a particular language because you’re tagging them
for the locality that uses that language. In the wider content-management world, of
course, management is responsible for delivering content to wherever it needs to go.
✦ Publishing: How do you ensure that the right content gets into the right publication in
the right locations? In localization, this task is a matter of selecting the localized version
of the content. You may, for example, want to make your CMS select and display only
examples that you tag for the locality of the current user. In content management in
general, of course, this concept is the central purpose of the entire publishing system.
Localization can come into play in any or all portions of your CMS design. Thus I leave the
detailed discussion of localization analysis and design to the specific applicable sections
throughout this book. I leave this section with the following two general principles of content
management that apply especially well to localization, and I offer them as general guides to
✦ Conservation of work: A CMS doesn’t reduce the amount of work that publishing
content takes; it merely shifts the burden of that work from a human to a computer.
In localization, you want to adopt the attitude that your job is to put as much of the
work as possible onto the CMS. You can, however, only shift it so far. If you want content that’s useful to people, you can’t escape that fact that people must do a core of
the work.
✦ Balance of generality: The more general that you make your content, the easier it is to
reuse. The more general it is, however, the less it communicates. You must balance a
CMS between the constraints of reusability and strong communication. Similarly, you
must balance the need to communicate at all with your key localities with your need to
communicate well with your primary locality. Whenever I say, “on the fly,” I tip the balance a bit toward my primary locality to give them deeper and wider understanding at
the expense of other localities that may get less understanding.
For a view of how localization fits into the larger CM picture, see Chapter 39, “Building
Management Systems,” in the section “Localization System.”
An Example Audience Set
As in all logical design examples that I provide, I use the nonprofit organization PLAN
International as my semi-hypothetical example organization. For the sake of illustration, I
assume that PLAN came up with the following set of key audiences (in order of priority) in
their requirements-gathering process:
✦ Members: This audience consists of all those who join PLAN and pay a monthly fee to
support a child and a community somewhere in the world.
✦ In-country staff: This audience consists of all those who reside in diverse locations
around the world and need to know what’s happening in the organization.
Chapter 25 ✦ Cataloging Audiences
✦ Donors: This audience consists of all those who make major grants to the organization.
✦ Press: This audience consists of all those who learn about and provide publicity for the
As I move through the description of audience analysis, I draw on these hypothetical audiences for examples.
Analyzing Audiences
In the sections that follow, I lay out a methodology for coming to understand the audience
segments that you must create. In addition, I supply some logical design criteria that you can
use to fully describe each segment. As I do with all the entities in your logical design, I break
the analysis into questions to get you to think, methods that you can use to plan, and questions to help you integrate your audience analysis.
The key to finding the right set of audiences is to look within your organization to see how it
divides constituents now in order to be sure that you’re making the most of what your organization already knows. Find out how your organization communicates with each audience now
and what feedback it receives from those audiences.
For each audience, you construct the set of personal traits (for example, age, interests, and
so on.) that select a person into the audience. These traits later serve as the user profiles on
which you can build your personalization module. To most effectively speak to each audience,
you must create a set of assumptions about what members like and dislike (for example, what
motivates, impresses, and offends them). You should find publications that they know and
trust now and make sure that you’re providing content that’s consistent with their aims. These
assumptions give rise to the metadata that you add to your content so that the people who
want that content the most can find it and get it delivered to them.
After defining all your audiences, decide how they relate to each other to determine whether
simultaneously serving the variety of audiences that you want is possible and to determine
the kinds of metadata that most effectively capture the essential needs of each audience.
To help you ease into the analysis, you can ask yourself and your organization the following
set of questions:
✦ Who is the primary audience? Do you want to serve one group of people much more
than the others? If so, how much are you willing to sacrifice the needs of the lesser
audiences to those of the primary audience?
✦ Do you have too many audiences? Can you really expect to serve the range of people
you’ve identified?
✦ What are your current communications? How well and in what ways are you in touch
with your audiences now? Are they satisfied? What are the opportunities to increase
satisfaction? Are any feedback channels established? If so, what feedback has come
✦ Who are the key members? Can you find members of key audiences to review your
work as the project progresses and help you ensure that your CMS produces the right
Part IV ✦ Designing a CMS
The following sections break your audience analysis into a set of design constraints that you
should collect and account for from each audience you intend to serve.
Begin your analysis by charting the main identifying characteristics of your audiences. Come
up with a response to the following audience design constraints to help you keep track of and
rank your audiences:
✦ ID: Assign each audience a unique identifier so that you can later use it in the CMS for
profiles and rules.
✦ Name: Choose a descriptive but memorable name for each audience so that the staff
accepts the name and uses it consistently in conversation.
✦ Rank: Give each audience a priority rank. You rank audiences relative to each other if
possible. (Members are priority one, for example, and in-country staff are priority two.)
If you can’t reach agreement on relative ranking, rate them all according to an external
scale. (Members and staff are high priority, for example, whereas the press is a low
✦ Key member: For each audience, identify an exemplar to whom you can point as a
concrete example of the group. The person may or may not be available to your group
on an ongoing consulting basis, but you should at least meet with the key member once
to get a solid feeling for what people of this audience are like. If your audience is in more
than one locality, can you get a key member from each main locality?
Beyond simple identification, you should study the kind of people you expect to be in each
audience. The following constraints help you get to know the kinds of people who are in a
particular audience:
✦ Personal description: Craft a short essay that gives someone who’s never met any
members of this audience a clear idea of who they are. The essay should give a sense
of the kinds of people in this audience and what they stand to gain personally from an
affiliation with your organization. Make sure that your entire team reads and agrees
with the description.
✦ Job description: What kind of job (or jobs) do people in this audience hold? Do they all
share similar job tasks or responsibilities? What can these people gain professionally
from an affiliation with your organization?
✦ Full size: How many people in the entire world fit into the description of this audience?
✦ Current size: How many people who fit into this audience does your organization currently communicate with at all? How many do you communicate with on a regular basis?
✦ Demographics: What ages, sexes, races, regions, languages, and other such data
describe people in this audience?
✦ Localities: In which of your localities do people from this audience reside?
✦ Published data: Are any sources of data on these people available for you to access?
Chapter 25 ✦ Cataloging Audiences
✦ Platforms: What publishing channels can these people access? You can assume that
they’re capable of receiving print publications, but do they have e-mail? A fax machine?
Personal digital assistants (PDAs)? Can they access the Web? If so, what operating systems, connection bandwidth, and Web browsers do they use?
✦ Technical savvy: How technically literate are these people? Specifically, what kinds of
user interfaces are they comfortable with? What technical terms can you assume that
they know? What functionality are they likely to accept and use? (Are they likely, for
example, to do downloads? Installations? Transactions?)
Learning the attitudes that members of each audience are likely to hold toward your organization and content is an important task for you. From knowledge of attitudes, you can craft
the appropriate messaging for each audience. The following constraints help you understand
how the audience may react to your content:
✦ Credibility: According to Aristotle, the perceived credibility of the speaker is more
important than what she says in determining whether she’s convincing to the audience.
How do you establish credibility with this audience? How much credibility do you have
now with its members? Have you experienced any particular failures or successes in
the past with these people?
✦ Current beliefs: What does this audience already know and believe about the subjects
that your content addresses as well as about your organization? Are you reinforcing or
trying to change existing attitudes? Do members have any particularly strong positive
or negative beliefs that you need to take into account? Ask yourself, “What do people of
this ilk trust, respect, like, know, and believe?”
✦ Argument: What do members of this audience consider good arguments and examples? Do they respond more to a logical or an emotional appeal? Must you cite certain
sources or quote particular people for them? Can you leverage scenarios or examples
that the audience has already heard of? (Maybe, for example, you can assume that
PLAN’s press audience has heard about and closely followed a recent famine. Can you
cite information about the famine or otherwise use it as an example to show relevance
to this audience?)
✦ Style: What tone and presentation style does this audience expect and respond to? Can
you advance the expected style to a new level in a way that shows respect for the existing style and innovation (if, that is, the audience responds to innovation)? What vocabulary and usage does the audience expect and respect?
✦ Openness to giving data: How much personal data (such as the design constraints in
the preceding “Demographics” section) does this audience want to give? What profile
collection methods do members most respect and support? Are they likely to be concerned if you buy information about them from outside sources (direct-marketing
companies, for example)?
Come to know your competition. By emulating the characteristics of the publications that
each audience respects and avoiding the characteristics that they don’t like, you can significantly boost the acceptance of your own publications. The following constraints tell you
what publications and organizations each audience is likely to compare you to:
Part IV ✦ Designing a CMS
✦ Benchmark publications: What, for this audience, are the most well-known and
respected publications that cover the same information that you do? Include competitors’ Web sites and other publications as well as commercial publications such as magazines and books. What publications aren’t well regarded by this audience and why?
✦ Current publications: What publications from your organizations and others do people
from this audience most commonly read? Where do your current publications for this
audience rate relative to the field of benchmark publications?
Value proposition
If you provide value in your publications equal to their effort or expense for your audiences,
you create a stable system that continues to draw the audience and provides your organization with the value that it deserves back from its efforts. The following constraints help you
work through a value proposition for each audience:
✦ Benefit: What do you want from this audience? Include in your answer any actions
(buy, try, use, encourage others, and so on) and any attitudes (believe, trust, understand, know, and so on) that you want your publications to this audience to affect.
✦ Cost: What does this audience want from you? What must you give its members for
them to leave your publication with the highest level of satisfaction?
✦ Balance: What is the balance point between what you want from the audience and
what its members want from you? PLAN, for example, may want its in-country staff to
promote the organization in the towns and villages they serve in. Staff may want more
free time and less hassle translating materials into the local language. The balance may
be for PLAN to create a small-sized print publication that consists only of pictures of
children around the world who are involved in PLAN activities. By producing such publications, PLAN serves its own needs and also those of its staff.
✦ Communication: How do you communicate this value equation to this audience?
Crafting a balanced value proposition in the mind of your team is one thing. Really
crafting it with the audience is quite another. You’re probably not going to choose to
put the literal words of the value equation on the home page for this audience. But
what do you do? How do you clearly show the agreement the publication is willing to
make? Sometimes a simple headline is enough to get the message across. PLAN, for
example, may detect that a staff member logs into its site and so prominently displays
the tag line “Promote PLAN in 30 seconds!”
✦ Feedback: How do you monitor the acceptability of the value equation over time to
your audiences? You may or may not have the wherewithal to hold focus groups and
send out surveys, but what do you do to make sure that your equation stays in balance
while you’re continuing to deliver more to both sides?
Correctly assessing the uses that your audiences make of your publications is critical to your
success. If they’re likely to come to your publications with certain tasks in mind, discover
them and tailor your publications to help each user accomplish her goal. The following
design constraints help you catalog the tasks and goals that a particular audience may have:
✦ Goals: What are the top three things that this audience wants from each publication
that you target to it?
✦ Use cases: For each goal, develop one or more scenarios of an audience member coming to the publication with that goal in mind. Chart out the actions that the user may
Chapter 25 ✦ Cataloging Audiences
take and the assumptions that she may make in navigating to the information and functionality that helps her meet that goal. What clues can you provide for this audience to
indicate that certain content can be found in a particular place? What “wrong” assumptions may users make that you want to account for ahead of time?
✦ Usability: Given the technical savvy of this audience, how can you design your publications so that the users can reach their goals without being frustrated because they don’t
know how to use something? Can you get a group of members from this audience to test
your ideas and assumptions? At this point in the analysis, you should catalog all the
usability concerns that your audience analysis leads you to. Later, when you actually
start building publications, you can run tests on the real publications.
✦ Usage profiles: How do you want this audience to use your publications? One time,
periodically, or consistently? How much time do you expect members to spend per
✦ Disposition: What dispositions are group members are likely to bring to a publication?
Do they need quick answers, for example, or are they casually browsing; are they ready
to take action, or do they need information first; do they know what they’re looking for,
or do they want you to tell them what they’re looking for and then get it for them?
For each audience type, you need to decide the traits and trait values that distinguish that
audience from the rest of the world. After you complete this exercise for each audience, you
combine your individual analyses into one overall profile analysis that charts all the traits
that you intend to measure and how you expect to use these traits to decide who’s in what
audience. The following constraints help you work through a thorough cataloging of the traits
that you want to distinguish for each audience:
✦ Trait names: What list of traits uniquely separates this audience from the rest of the
world? Traits may be personal (age, sex, language, and so on) or professional (job title,
company type, profession, and so on).
✦ Trait values: For each trait, determine what type of metadata field it is (free text, pattern
text, Boolean, and so on). For more information on metadata fields, see Chapter 24,
“Working with Metadata,” in the section “Categorizing Metadata Fields.” This information helps you build a user-profile database or XML schema later. PLAN, for example,
may designate that donors are most likely married, with grown children, aged 50 or
older, and making more than $100,000 per year.
✦ Collection: For each trait, determine how you value it for each person who uses your
publications. You’re likely to find that some traits are nearly impossible to assess without asking. See Chapter 32, “Designing Personalization,” in the section “Personalization
and the audience,” for more information about collecting data about audience members.
✦ Minimum requirements: If you can’t collect all the trait data on a person, what’s the
minimum amount that you consider sufficient to qualify a person as part of an audience? This constraint is where the profile “rubber hits the road.” If you choose too little
trait information, you miscategorize a lot of people and upset them. If you choose too
much trait information, you can’t always collect it all for each audience member, and
you may end up with too few people who actually benefit from the targeted content
that the audience receives.
✦ Default audiences: What do you do with people you can’t place in an audience? Do you
create a “general” audience type that gets all content? Put unknowns in one of the other
audience groups? If all else fails, you can try asking users to categorize themselves. If
Part IV ✦ Designing a CMS
you do so, instead of asking them to fill in a bunch of metadata fields, show them the
personal and professional descriptive paragraphs that you wrote and ask them which
one they think best describes them. Make sure that you provide a “none of the above”
choice and a space where users can write in their own descriptions (thus providing
you with invaluable feedback about the categories that you create).
Brainstorm the full list of localities that may visit your publications. Group your list into constituent, key, and one primary locality. (See the section “Audiences and Localization,” earlier
in this chapter, for the definitions of these terms.) Then fill in the following constraints to
document your overall approach to localities:
✦ ID: Create a unique identifier for each locality that you can identify.
✦ Name: Create a name that you can use to refer to this locality later.
✦ Language: What language or languages does this locality speak?
✦ Region: In what geographical locations do people in this locality live?
✦ Affiliation: What significant affiliations (for example, social, political, religious) do
people in this locality have that affect the way that you communicate with them?
✦ Service: Is this locality your primary locality, a key locality, or a constituent locality?
If it’s a constituent locality, what key locality serves it? Does the key locality fully
encompass this locality, or are people from this locality less than optimally served? If
you expect the Russian key locality to serve all Eastern European localities, for example, what respect or understanding do you lose from nonnative Russian speakers?
✦ Audience: To what audiences do people from this locality belong? Does studying the
locality add anything to your audience analysis?
✦ Key member: Can you get a representative from this locality to serve as an advisor to
your project?
✦ Traits: How do you know that a user is in this locality? List the traits and decide how
you can collect them and how you can ensure that they’re accurate.
Consider the effect of your audience analysis on the ongoing maintenance of the CMS. Then
fill in the following table to define any tasks that you imagine must happen on a recurring
basis to run the CMS. Here are some task types to get you thinking:
✦ Periodic audience surveys.
✦ Review of the current set of audiences.
✦ Audience focus groups.
✦ Retrieval of user data that you buy periodically.
✦ Retiring inactive profiles from the user database.
✦ Review of the traits that make up each audience.
✦ Review of site logs to discover audience activity.
✦ Ongoing use case and usability testing.
✦ Periodic review of competing publications.
Chapter 25 ✦ Cataloging Audiences
Finally, fill in the following table. I’ve provided a sample entry.
Task Name
How Much
1. Audience
focus groups
Use Web feedback
to find participants.
Once at
start-up and
once per year
Can be simple
focus meetings
2. Recruit
3. Plan and
conduct meetings.
4. Debrief CMS
team on results.
The required information includes the following:
✦ Task name: Give the task a short but memorable name that describes it.
✦ Who: Indicate what person or role is responsible for accomplishing this task. (Naming
an automated process here instead of a person is acceptable.)
✦ What: Describe how the person or process accomplishes the task.
✦ When: Specify at what frequency this task needs to be accomplished or how you know
when it must occur.
✦ How much: Describe how much or how many of this sort of task you expect to do. A
numerical quantity is preferable here, but if you can’t come up with one, words such as
a lot, not much, and so on suffice.
✦ How: Detail the skills, tools, or processes the person or process must have to accomplish this task.
Don’t worry if the tasks that you come up with at this point are somewhat ill-defined or
sketchy. In your workflow analysis (in Chapter 33, “Designing Workflow and Staffing Models”),
you have ample opportunity to refine them.
After you make your way through your audience analysis or make at least one or two passes
through it, consider the following questions to help you tie the results of your analysis
together and to the rest of the logical design:
✦ The right set: Look back over each audience. Do all the answers hang together? Did
you need to answer questions with a lot of qualifiers and exceptions? Did you find a
lot of diverse job descriptions, for example, in the same audience category? Could you
identify a person who was typical of this audience? If you have the feeling that a particular audience has no center, that’s a good indication that you may need to break it into
smaller parts.
✦ The right number: Ask yourself again: Can you really serve the number of audiences
that you’ve analyzed? If not, can you combine some together for the present until you
Part IV ✦ Designing a CMS
get more time or funding to expand? On the other hand, can you serve more audiences
than you now have? How would you further subdivide the audiences if you had the
✦ Goals: How do your audiences support your CMS project goals and vice versa? Are
these the right audiences for your goals? If you could deliver the right content to these
audiences would you really be closer to meeting your organization’s goals? Are any
other goals suggested by your analysis? Are these the right goals for your audiences?
Are any others suggested?
✦ Agreement: Is your organization in agreement about these audiences? What must you
do to see this set accepted as the set of audiences that your organization serves? Are
the stakeholders in your organization all likely to agree with the way that you’ve divided
and ranked audiences? Can you hand off the ongoing audience analysis to a marketing
or public relations group? How will you ensure that other analyses further refine rather
than contradict this analysis?
✦ Understanding: Do your sponsors and project team understand these audiences?
Do they understand and support the value proposition, and are they likely to agree to
abide by it?
The notion of an audience for the purposes of a CMS isn’t so different from other prevailing
views. What a CMS needs, however, is more than just a good notion of an audience — it needs
a lot of factual data about your audiences that it can use to select content. To analyze audiences for a CMS, you must perform the following tasks:
✦ Name and identify each one.
✦ Collect as much demographic and statistical data as you can on each one.
✦ Understand and account for the attitudes of the audiences in the construction of your
content and publications.
✦ Decide what publications audiences are most likely to compare yours to and make sure
that your publications compare favorably.
✦ Understand the uses that each audience is likely to make of your publications and
make sure that you serve those uses.
✦ Create profiles for each audience that indicate definitively which users are in which
In the next chapter, I discuss the complex task of fully analyzing and designing your
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