Software Design For Audiences – General versus Specific
So here is the problem — I’ve got limited key presses on my keyboard to make something awesome happen — even then, the awesome factor is debatable. I won’t be around forever so I need to build something the right way with as few mistakes as possible.
Which leads me to a problem I’ve found with every project I’ve worked on — Who is my target audience?
I know I’m not the first person to run into it, but I still have a hard time committing to a design until I’ve passed this hurdle — which I’m still stuck on as I write this.
General versus Specific
It’s a tough question. On one hand you can try to target a very broad audience — for example Yahoo Answers. You might get a lot more traffic because you cater to a much larger group of internet users. However, at the same time it seems that the more general you are, then the more competition you have — most likely with more programming resources on their side.
On the other hand you could try to hit a specific audience — for example StackOverflow.com. Same general idea, but more attractive to a specific group of people because they know that the content they are going to find is going to coincide with their interests. But unless your that specific group cares then you’re left with a product that no one cares about.
Is Specific Less Competition?
I was speaking with a guy where I work at the other day and we started talking about one of his friends who made it big in software development. He made big bucks selling a software package he had designed and was living it up in style while he worked on his next project. What was the software? Office management tools? A Facebook/Myspace style application?
No — Surprisingly it was software to manage State Fairs — You know, those carnivals that show up in your city from time to time. The thing was that there wasn’t any software out there already. Instead, the market was completely empty and ready for someone to swoop in and grab up all the customers.
Does “specific” targets equal to “less competition” — I’m not really sure, but it certainly seems that way.
I’m still stuck trying to decide what to do in this situation. Do I go for the bigger audience, knowing that I have a higher amounts of competition — or the specific group where I have a much higher chance missing my mark?
What do you think — which audience should be the target of programmers with limited resources?