F.2 HER audiences#Potentially there are many different types of HER user, from professionals within the heritage, environment and other sectors, amateur researchers (both individuals and groups), those within education and casual users with a passing interest in a specific question or location. As HERs are encouraged to make a greater variety of information more widely available through different media and also to promote their services beyond traditional users, this diversity will rightly increase. Different members of an HER audience will want different levels of information, have very different reasons for wanting that information and will use the information in specific ways (see section F.7 for guidance on Audience Development).
Each user will also have a different level of understanding of the basic concept and role of an HER and what they can reasonably expect to gain from using it. Some will have an established relationship with an HER extending back many years, and indeed may have contributed significantly to its content, whilst for others this will be the first time they have ever encountered the resource. Each user will thus have specific needs, require different levels of support from HER staff and will have varying deadlines to meet. At the outset of each query the HER officer should find out any timescale to which the user is working.
HER staff need to be able to deliver effective service to all users whilst managing other demands on their time. Benchmark 1.2 'Access to Services' recommends that HER officers set a specified response time to enquiries, this should be viewed as an ideal maximum response time. Grouping users into categories may assist an HER officer in considering the requirements of an individual enquiry whilst prioritising and managing service delivery.
The following user types are a very general guide to users' potential requirements, capabilities, motivations and interests.