There are 5 basic goals that users come to the web for:
1. Share: Think back to this past Christmas season. What
was number one reason people got online? According to Pew Research,
it was not to buy gifts, but to send email. They wanted that emotion
of warm, human connectedness.
2. Inform: People have a need to know, which is why they
come to news and weather sites, for example, and why MSNBC.com and
CNN.com are so highly rated. 96% of web users are seeking information,
says Jakob Nielsen.
3. Create: This is the flip side of inform and this is one
of the ways, obviously, the web is so different. For just one example,
think about any forum, or my new favorite, Plastic.com, where users
are creating content.
4. Entertain: The game sites certainly satisfy this goal,
but so does Shockwave with its animations, so do all the goofy indie
film sites, so does AdCritic.com, where you can see the best TV
ads of the week.
5. Transact: To buy and sell. Need I say more than Amazon
Now you may be thinking, I'm an editor, so I'm in the business
of fulfilling goal #2, inform. But if you are going to create a
meaningful experience, you need to consider all your visitors'
goals. Knowing the five goals doesn't tell you how to help satisfy
them, in other words how to engage people and connect with them
on the web.