A helpful way of gathering information about your readers is to conduct an audience analysis using a chart where on the x axis you list all possible and potential audiences you consider and on the y axis list audience analysis questions. For potential audiences refer to my previous post: “Three types of audiences”.
Depending on the purpose and needs of your documents and the budget of your project, you may perform a brief audience profile, or you can perform in-depth analysis, or something in between.
In the figure, I put green check marks against the questions for those I have answers. That provides me with a quick overview of what kind of information and for what types of audience I already have. And what information (if any) I need to find. Also you might newer find answers on some audience-related questions . That is OK.
The chart will provide you with a quick overview of what you know and what you don’t know about your potential audience(s). And you will decide if you have a enough information to proceed with your document, or you need more time for analysis. You may expand or contract the list of question to match your particular situation, but remember – the more you know about your potential readers, the more user-centered your communications may be. Knowing your audience would also help you to avoid delays in publication and will help you produce documents of better quality.
Kibiwott Peter Kurgat (2011). Needs Analysis in Writing: a study into academic writing needs of undergraduate students Lambert Acdemic Publishing DOI: ISBN: 978-3-8443-8735-3