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Define Your Audience

Consider the broad spectrum of people who will be touched by your design solution.



Suggested Time

30-60 Minutes

Level of Difficulty


Materials Needed

Pens, paper, Post-its


Design team

Process Phase

Before you dig into your in-context research, it’s critical to know who you’re designing for. You’re bound to learn more once you’re in the field, but having an idea of your target audience’s needs, contexts, and history will help ensure that you start your research by asking smart questions. And don’t limit your thinking just to the people you’re designing for. You may need to consider governments, NGOs, other businesses, or competitors.


  1. With your team, write down the people or groups that are directly involved in or reached by your challenge. Are you designing for children? For farmers? Write all the groups down on Post-its and put them on a wall so you can visualize your audience.
  2. Now add people or groups who are peripherally relevant, or are associated with your direct audience.
  3. Think about the connections these people have with your topic. Who are the fans? Who are the skeptics? Who do you need the most on your side? Add them to the wall.
  4. Now arrange these Post-its into a map of the people involved in your challenge. Save it and refer to it as you move through your challenge.