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Set good goals. Here's how.

I've been away from this blog for a few weeks and am having a hard time coming back. I'm in a sort of philosophical haze brought on by Los Angeles, the #blacklivesmatter protests, poetry and shopping for home goods (sad, perhaps, but true). I've been trying to sort out how this blog can be practical and useful to you but still reflect a bigger perspective on life, art, etc. So here's a practical piece I wrote to serve until I get back in the game.  

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Recently, I learned about ABCD objectives. They're often used by teachers to set student objectives, but they make sense for web design as well. Here's how it works: 
 
A - Audience.  Who is the audience?
 
B - Behavior. What would we like that audience to do? 
 
C - Condition.  Where will their behavior take place? Under what conditions?
 
D - Degree.  To what degree does the audience need to be successful? 
 
Artist website example: 
 
Audience: Fans of your art.
Behavior: Subscribe to your mailing list. (action)
Condition: While visiting your website. 
Degree: At least 10 times per month. 
 
Altogether now: Fans of your art should subscribe to your mailing list while visiting your website at least ten times per month. 
 
Newsletter example: 
 
Audience: Newsletter subscribers in New York. 
Behavior: Click on a link about your upcoming show in New York.
Condition: While reading your newsletter. 
Degree: At least 20% of total subscribers. 
 
At least 20% of my newsletter subscribers who live in New York will click on a link about my upcoming NYC show while reading my newsletter. 
 
Done!
 
I feel like this is a little "Well, duh", and there are lots of ways to describe goals and targets (like SMART goals) but this one hits a lot of important ideas for web design. 
 
It's important to remember WHO the user is, WHAT we want them to do, WHERE they'll be when they do it, and HOW MUCH we need them to do it to consider it a success. All of those factors can and should be taken into account when you're ponying up the cash for a new website. The last point often slips away from people, but it's really critical to know when your website is having the desired effect. 
 
The best part is, because these goals are so concrete, you can actually measure them and see if you're hitting your targets.  Try it out and tell me what you think. 

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