UX Design for different user generations

Earlier we’ve told you about the biggest mistakes in user design. One of them was ux designing for the wrong user generation. Diverse age groups have diverse demands concerning technology and online interface and that’s why it’s important to adjust your design to the right user generation. In this Happy Story we discuss the importance of designing for the right generation and the online needs and demands of each generation.

So at the end of this article you know:

✓ Why it is important to design for the right generation

✓ How to make the best design for each user generation

Different user generations have different dependencies on digital platforms, what means that they have certain expectations, needs and demands. What works for one or two generations, may not work for others. And if your audience gets frustrated about the design because it’s not designed for their needs or expectations, there is a big chance they will not visit your site/product ever again. There is a big importance in knowing your audience and making the right design for them. We will discuss the different generations, from 0 to 80 years old and what to keep in mind when you are designing for these generations.

Toddlers: 0 to 8 years  

Important to keep in mind with toddlers: young children want to be entertained and the ultimate goal is to keep them busy. You want to keep their attention and in the case of this generation, this can be pretty difficult. It’s important to keep your interface as easy as possible: uncluttered, with short words and sentences, minimal elements and easy UI maps. Make the content as lively as possible by using animation, sound, videos and illustrations. Kids love exiting colors, palettes and themes, so make use of bright colors! Another way to get the attention from toddlers, is to use characters they know, for example from TV/movies/comics!

Tweens or Teens: 9 to 19 years

Although this generation has some similarities with the toddler-generation, it’s important to keep in mind that tweens/teens rely on technology to keep up with everything happening in the world. They are much better in finding their way online and instead of face-to-face contact, online contact with their friends and family is getting more attention. With this generation, the content has to appear young and fresh and just like toddlers, they like bright colors and graphics. Teens resent reading too much, so don’t use too much text. They love interaction and appreciate content like message boards or chatbots and interactive features like games and quizzes. This generation is very good at multitasking across sites, so make sure the content is clear and uncluttered.

The Young Adults: 20 to 35 years

Also called, the digital natives or millennials. This generation is a critically important user group. These people grew up with access to digital communications technology. Young adults are constantly online and have the most knowledge about technology and online interfaces. These people are the ones that change the wind of business and are constantly changing and improving technology. This group uses online sites for almost every task in their life and demand a lot from the online interface. For this generation, usability and accessibility are essential and they prefer text over visuals. The site/product has to be handy in use and it has to be easy to get access to the right information. In other words: the content and navigation has to be clear and simple!

The Older Adults: 36 to 55 years

Elderly users tend to be ignored when concerning user design. This is a waste, because this generation understands the real value of user experience and engagement with a brand or product. With the growing importance of technology, the older adults are also starting to get more involved with technology. But they still need to learn a lot about the use of online platforms. For this generation it’s important to design an easy interface. Their online experience needs to be efficient and effective. Be clear with your content: make sure the text and navigation is easy to understand. Keep it simple, easy as that!

The Seniors: 56 to 80 years and beyond

This generation didn’t grew up with technology and still has to learn a lot about devices as smartphones or tablets. This age group of users seems to be the simplest, but that’s wrong. Seniors are one of the most difficult groups to make a design for. There are quite a few aspects to keep in mind when designing a ‘senior-friendly’ digital platform. The first aspect is the fact that the hearing and visual capacities of this generation will go backwards. That’s why it’s important to provide visual and hearing aid, subtitles and a bigger font that is easy to read. Even better: let the people adjust the text size themselves. Another aspect is that they are quickly distracted, so don’t add too much animations and use simple plain backgrounds. Keep it simple, don’t add too much difficult content and make sure the user finds where she/he is looking for.

As you can see, every generation has its own needs and expectations about the technology and design of a site/product. If you are unsure about whether your product fits these demands, we are happy to help you with a user test with the right generation. With our diverse participants database, we can make sure your design fits the expectations of the right user generation!