Recognizing Deeper User Goals

In the process of redesigning our site, we’re putting a lot of effort into connecting with our users’ emotions. Our users are people trying to prevent crime in their schools, communities, and workplaces. We should do more than present information to them, we also need to put that information in context and convey the enormous importance of the work that our users are doing to keep people safe with the resources we provide.

This reaches to the core of our users’ goals. In About Face 3 Alan Cooper gets to the heart of this:

Users’ goals are often quite different from what we might guess them to be. For example, we might think that an accounting clerk’s goal is to process invoices efficiently. This is probably not true. Efficient invoice processing is more likely the goal of the clerk’s employer. The clerk is more likely concentrating on goals like appearing competent at his job and keeping himself engaged with his work while performing routine and repetitive tasks, although he may not verbally (or even consciously) acknowledge this.

In interviews, I’ve spoken with crime prevention practitioners who are using the materials we provide on our site to educate kids and work with law enforcement to help prevent crime. We give them the tools that they need to do their jobs, but there’s also a huge opportunity there to recognize them for keeping people across the country safe, and turning at-risk individuals away from criminal activity. By expressing recognition and gratitude to the people who perform this important work, we can help fulfill their deeper goals – to be appreciated for helping their communities and to be reassured that they’re making a difference (which they are). In turn, they will feel much more engaged by the site.

There are several ways we can attempt to do this:

  1. Highlight images and stories of our crime prevention programs in action.
  2. Emphasize the real impact that crime prevention efforts are having with statistics and examples.
  3. Promote the work that crime prevention practitioners are doing with our help, rather than just promoting what we’re doing.

In my next post I’ll write about how we will meet our users’ goals of communicating, collaborating, and sharing with other practitioners in the field with more interactive and user-generated content combined with some social networking integration.

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