There is clearly some overlap between audience analysis and requirements analysis, especially where the latter considers users of the information. However, requirements analysis considers the needs of all stakeholders, while audience analysis focuses on the characteristics of the audience that may affect the way they use the document you are developing.
Audience analysis involves examining a range of audience characteristics, including:
- demographic background
- educational level
- native language (especially if this is not English)
- job responsibilities
- work experience
- knowledge of product being documented
- age group
- working environment
- context of use of the product and documentation, and
- any expectations of the documentation.
The results of your analysis will affect the language, terminology, level of detail of your document and its structure, content and delivery format. You need to understand the needs and characteristics of the end users/audience as well as you possibly can.
The results of your analysis are then recorded in an information plan.