Lets get this out of the way; I don’t like shopping at IKEA. It’s all wrong for me, but others love it. The store is designed so that you see everything; It’s a great place for people who love to shop and browse for the right item.
For those who don’t know, IKEA is a low cost furniture store with its roots in Sweden in the early 1940s.
Why do I bring it up? Because you can’t be all things to all people. I see this all the time working with clients at User Insight. There are a variety of customer types who want to use your services, and you can’t please them all simultaneously.
It is critical to identify the groups you want to target and focus on them. Understand why they feel the way they do and what is important to them. At User Insight, we recommend a number of ways to get to know your users but one method is through persona development (https://userinsight.com/you-dont-know-what-you-dont-know/).
Focusing on a particular group (or groups) to drive development (building navigation) or ideation (supporting apps, products and experiences) helps ensure focus and common goals for internal teams. From a research and design perspective it helps to provide parameters around the target audience to recruit so the results aren’t convoluted and skewed. Too often when people test a concept or experience with a general recruit, half will like it while the other half hate it and they don’t learn much.
IKEA has chosen a path and some people love them for it:(http://gerdsumer.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/5-reasons-why-i-love-ikea/). Others, like me, may never return (http://aboutcolonblank.com/?tag=ikea-map). Figuring out the behaviors and motivations of those that love IKEA will help designers build better experiences. Separating out those that will never return will allow them to focus their efforts.
Converting those that would never return is a whole other blog post…