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I would like to know if there is a general way of finding target user groups for simple mobile apps.

In this instance, it might be a simple webapp or an iPhone app which allows users to send real gifts to their family and friends. One could argue that this app can be used by anyone and everyone, but from a UX point of view we need a target user groups to design. How to find? Any methodologies or anything you practice?

Edit: what am trying to find is the target user group, so I can create personas and do my UX research and help with the design.

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Well target users are who you want to target....do you mean you want to identify the most valuable users? What do you want users to do more of? –  Ben Brocka May 27 '12 at 3:15
    
This should go to startups.SE. –  Vitaly Mijiritsky May 27 '12 at 8:41
    
@BenBrocka what am trying to find is the target user group, so I can create personas and do my UX research and help with the design. –  Pratheep ch May 27 '12 at 21:24
    
With these 'for everybody' applications the simplest way to split up the user base is to get a spread of different age groups. –  PhillipW May 28 '12 at 8:49
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4 Answers 4

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The idea is to find the different kinds of users so you can develop personas.

To do that focus on the value your product provides to different people. For example if one persona is a very busy person living in a non-English-speaking country with relatively poor/flaky 3G connectivity and not much time to use any app (much less yours), that can help you tune your app to be appropriate for her use. If your app is not localised and depends on an always-on Internet connection, your app is currently not meeting her needs very well.

The decision you need to make (and the reason you generally do this work before design and development) is to figure out if it's worth it for you to target that kind of user; whether the value to you/your client is enough to justify the effort to support her.

If you can't eliminate any kinds of users as explicitly outside the scope of your app, you're going to have many, many personas and it's very quickly going to be unwieldy. The trick, then, is to pick the top 4 or 5 based on your own ability to support them to a high degree.

If that means eliminating, for example, the 75-year-old male user who can benefit greatly by using your app, but who cost you a disproportionately-large amount to support as a customer (due to their specialist needs) you can do so.

Many people have difficulty establishing their personas, but it seems to me that it usually happens because people instinctively hate the idea of limiting their potential market. The purpose of personas is not to restrict your market to a select few individuals or people like them so much as to make sure you're focusing your attention on the differing needs of users like them who you've identified as a market you can support profitably. Removing that persona as a target does not mean restricting access to those kinds of users; it simply means prioritising the user group where you see the most valuable opportunities to address a need.

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Start evaluating some dimensions/variables to narrow your search.

A lot of projects often feel like they could be for anyone at first, but when you start asking the right questions, it will start to become clear who your target market is.


Ideas:

  1. You app is probably just for people who have smartphones, right? Start there!

  2. Is your app only for iPhone? Maybe narrow it to people that have iPhones ;)

  3. Is the app for all ages? Even if not, is it more likely that adults would use it?

  4. Are you target people who normally send lots of gifts? Or are you targeting people who don't normally give gifts? (Even if the answer to this is both, they might be two separate target audiences you need to account for)

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That's the Holy Grail of UX. "everyone and anyone". In my company we would develop a light weight version and find our own test groups. Friends, family, aquaintences. Sometimes you gotta do your own homework.

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It’s not clear your question, but I can say that the UX goes way beyond design, it can and it will impact even your product functionalities. Is the app for a 9 year old girl or is it for a 40's non-savvy executive? Can you see the variables? The UX is not only about design; remember that.

It's quite hard after the product is done; you try to fit it on a particular target group. You may want to sell it for a specific group, but the UX, functionalities and so on, will fit better for another group. So, my advice would be for you to step back and review your UX process. The process of building something is not straightforward as many people think. http://blog.samuelericson.com/2010/10/another-ux-process-diagram/

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