I am starting a building design consultancy (think architect, but not physical building design, building automation, AV instead, eco buildings, etc...).

I want a website to push prospective clients towards to get inquiries. I have defined 4 target customer types, each with a tailored marketing & sales strategy. I plan to test which customer type is best for my company.

The specific sales content differs depending on client type, so I would like the website to ask each user who they are first, then present them a dedicated page for their customer type.

First draft wire frame is below, explaining (if I was to pursue this idea) how the site could look/work. It also accounts for people who do not want to define their "customer type" and want to remain "anonymous".

Is this a good idea, or will people get turned off if they arrive on a site and get hassled to say what type of customer they are?

I am no UX designer, so any info, especially research that is A/B tested, would be awesome.

Wireframe v1.0 - New website design


3 Answers 3


I strongly caution against this plan. While role-based navigation might be appropriate in certain, very specific scenarios, it usually isn't. It has been demonstrated that role-based information architecture increases cognitive load and user anxiety (which is the opposite of a good user experience).

In most cases, you want to do research to develop clearly-labelled, mutually-exclusive cardinal categories, then base your navigation on what the user wants to buy from you, not who the user is.

Some of the problems of role-based navigation include (from the Nielsen Norman group):

  1. Users don’t know which group to choose.
  2. Users question whether the category will have information about that group or for that group.
  3. Forcing people to self-identify creates an additional step and takes people out of their task mindset.
  4. Users feel anxious that the information they see might be incomplete or incorrect.
  5. Websites with audience-based navigation often have overlapping content, which creates a greater workload for users (and content maintainers).



Asking what kind of customer someone is, is very important to you, but in UX design you need to think about what is important to your users. Focus on your offerings, your users have an idea of what they're looking for, they're just trying to figure out if you're offering it.

The "Who are you?" model is off-putting to users because it creates pressure and uncertainty of which category they fit into. I think you already know that, since you included a "?" for those who don't know. So go with your gut, this isn't a good idea! Think about whether it is really critical for you to create different experiences for different people. Are they really that different to warrant a different site experience? How else might you be able to collect information on what people visiting your site care about?

Rather than a potentially confrontational, "Who are you?" you can organize your site by what you offer. I see that below with your "Projects" section. That's the right idea and this is where you can create segmentation based on what your customers care about.

A helpful trick is to use real world scenarios, because they are very powerful. Imagine walking into a store, but before you went in, someone was standing there with a clipboard asking you "So are you looking for something specific, a whole new outfit, browsing, or going to the sale rack?" Yikes! You'd run in the other direction. A better experience would be to let a user walk in freely, let them notice the layout of the store and observe that they went to the sales rack. You can make helpful suggestions once you see where they're looking, "You know anything you buy that's on sale is another 10% off today." Relaxed and helpful when needed, that's how you want your site to feel when you present your services. So go with categorizing your offerings in ways that might reflect what kind of customer they might be and meet them where they are once they get there.

On this note, you can try to include action items in contextual ways to drive users toward contacting you with inquiries. You might think about including a "Like what you see? Send us an inquiry!" link at the bottom of each project page. :) Drive, drive, drive. In context, in context, in context.

Finally, once they get to the inquiry form, you could do something very direct to get the data you seek. Include a drop down menu item asking the customer who they are. :) You never know what kind of customers you might be attracting so let them tell you who they are, but do this in the form-like setting of the inquiry itself, where they user will expect it, not in the design of the site.


I agree with Paula.

You can also use usual categories that users would freely compare to find out what matches their needs (without stressing them).

However, considering your business model, if you offer very different products matching different client groups, you may consider crafting different websites. Each website would have its specificity for each group, and perhaps a specific graphic identity as well.

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