Generational User Experience
Different generations view websites and technology very differently. Which generation does your website serve?
One of the biggest mistakes in creating a user experience is to try to be “everything to everyone”. When determining the primary audience for your website, it is wise to not only consider the content that is relevant to them, but also the functionality and the audience’s use of technology. Users in their teens and twenties approach the web in a very different way than users in their thirties and forties. Likewise for those in their fifties and beyond.
What generational differences exist that can help web strategists capitalize on their audience’s approach to their particular website?
After determining the funnel of which age groups are more likely to be the primary audiences of a website, web strategists have a variety of tools to consider integrating into the website. Social media, video, blogs, infographics and other tools enhance a website, but how do you approach the use of each tool? Zen Web Solutions has a great breakdown of each generation’s uses of the internet. Their overall summary of each age group is below:
- Users between 16-24 years old are focused on entertainment through the web
- Users between the ages of 25-44 use the internet to access information, communicate with others and manage their life as a whole
- Users between 45-54 years old are more focused on practical purposes and using it for product research and personal communication
- Users who are 55 years old and above want functionality over entertainment
Mashable has a great post on designing for the correct generation as well. They breakdown the age groups by generation as well, providing additional insight into each group:
- Baby boomers want technology that helps get things done. Multi-channel experience is less important, as they distinguish each channel such as TV and “the internet” as independent
- Generation Xers want customization and personalized interfaces and interactions, which is not something as important to every other audience
- Millennials don’t even think about “technology”. To them, everything is technology. They think in terms of what they are doing, not the technology doing it for them.
Designing for the correct generation is essential to your success.
Web designers and strategists should continually monitor who the primary generation is for their site. Missing out on capitalizing on their web tendencies and preferences can cause their company or client to lose many opportunities for their website to be as effective as possible. There’s a few easy ways to monitor the age of your most valuable constituents online. Below are two possible ways:
- If you have a Facebook page, they have a great breakdown of the primary ages of your followers. With these constituents connected to you all the time, they often mirror the breakdown of those that visit your site the most often.
- You can take it a step further and utilize cookies to implement a survey among visitors who come to your site a certain number of times. Many companies will have an alert pop up above the site after a visitor’s third visit to see if they would be interested in a quick survey to help the company better communicate with users like them.
These are just two options to gain insights on the visitors to your site. The overall goal is to cater to the correct crowd. If a website can do that, it lends itself to many opportunities to succeed.