I'm a new visitor to this site, and I've noticed that many questions posted here seem to leave out details about the intended audience. In my view, that makes a question incomplete. I could cite examples, but I don't want to point out individuals.

In response to incomplete questions, some of us fire off short answers based on their own opinion. There's also plenty of good general advice that inevitably includes the phrase "It depends on your audience." I also love answers that provide specific examples. I myself just finished writing an answer that amounts to: "You'll have to do your own research" because there's not enough info in the question about the target audience for me to comfortably hazard a guess.

I could think of many reasons — not all bad — why people would leave critical details out of their question (business confidentiality, corporate issues) but I find this lack of focus on audience — from people who are practicing user-interface design — a tad unsettling.

Maybe it's just been an off week. Or maybe people really do tend to leave out info about audience in the questions they post, here. Maybe there are different segments of users on this site, and only one of those segments has attracted my attention. I'd like to ask this navel-gazing question for those who see themselves as part of a professional community of UI designers: why is "audience" being overlooked in so many questions, and can we identify a subset of users that needs our support in this?

  • hear hear! +++++ if I could Commented Sep 7, 2010 at 6:28
  • 3
    You should post a comment on the question you have a complaint about and ask the person asking the question to elaborate.
    – Rahul
    Commented Sep 7, 2010 at 12:03

5 Answers 5


I know from my point of view, when I post a question, I try to keep strictly to the facts, and as simple as possible.

  1. I don't want my opinion or irrelevant information to pollute the possible answers.
  2. Maybe my target audience is everyone, or just the an every day user.

Perhaps by leaving information like this out of the question, because it doesn't directly apply, we allow you, the answerer, to assume. Which gives us broader answers due to people seeing things differently, which in turn has a chance of causing us to look at our project from a different perspective. Giving us a way to increase the size of our target audience due to something we missed.

I'm sure there are lots of things I, and others, leave out of questions. But I don't like the assumption that we don't have our audience in mind, or they're being overlooked simply because we don't tell you who they are. I doubt many of us would have jobs for very long if that were the case.

  • 2
    I think your answer is reasonable but the fact remains that we cannot design without the user and I believe you would get much better answers if you gave more information about who the users are. I'm not saying you don't think about the user but what I do believe JeromeR points out is that many questions that need more context for a fair answer to be given don't have that context. Commented Sep 7, 2010 at 22:35
  • Very true, we can't create anything serious without the user in mind. I understand that. But I agree with Rahul, if the question needs it then "You should post a comment on the question you have a complaint about and ask the person asking the question to elaborate." Commented Sep 8, 2010 at 11:37

i'd say that you have to always design for idiots. so the target audience is that dumb guy we all never meet (thank god) but have to account for.

because not all of our audience is dumb, but some people will be slower on the uptake on some things, other on others.

so for me - the audience is always the same.


A small expert audience. About 5, max 8 people answer almost all questions. I marked "answered" after I had got 2 answers because I did not got any more ones for a long time. Really I still have questions. :(

  • 1
    Go to uxexchange.com ...Lot's of UX Professionals there with experience and happy to help out. Commented Sep 7, 2010 at 22:32
  • @WmasterJ thanks!
    – igor
    Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 6:14

I believe that there are 2 aspects of UXSE at odds with each other: UX requires knowledge of a specific user base for the solution to work best for those users while the SE site format expects answers (and questions) that can be used by the community as a whole.

Unfortunately, by adding specifics of the audience we limit the usefulness of the Q&A for the community, but by keeping questions generic, we limit the value of the UX guidance given.

Perhaps it would be best if we could find and explicitly define the middle ground between these competing requirements?


Maybe because when we develop that super-cool farting emulator iPhone application we think: Hey, this is what enterprise companies have been waiting for... I must design the UI accordingly and offer mainframe integration!

  • This is actually a rather cogent question. Audience analysis is meaningful and important; the destructive interference is in bad taste.
    – Matthew
    Commented Sep 14, 2010 at 22:11

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