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Do You Know Who Your Users Are?

Posted on September 18, 2014 

Website Design in SeattleKnowing how your users process the digital world can be a huge benefit when it comes to Website Design in Seattle, and age is a critical factor. Just as generational differences govern tastes in cars and clothing, they can also impact how people interact with websites and mobile applications. Understanding these differences can be a real aid to the design of a business website. If your users are primarily under 30, their expectations and therefore, your design, may be very different than if they are primarily over 60. Let’s take a look at generations and expectations.

The Greatest Generation (1929 – 1945)
Born before 1945, the greatest generation (a term coined by journalist Tom Brokaw) grew up in a print world, and were not introduced to personal computers until they were in their 50s and 60s. They can be insecure about their digital skills, with some physical limitations (such as poor eyesight) and often give up and blame themselves when things go wrong online.

Do not make the mistake of thinking they are luddites. In many cases, older Americans are extremely computer savvy, using machines to keep in contact with family, share photos, organize their social lives — in short, everything we all do. But ease of use is important here. If your audience is older, prioritize simple processes over aesthetics.

Baby Boomers (1946 -1964)
Vietnam-era Americans were introduced to technology in the workplace, late in their careers. Most are computer savvy. Fewer have adapted to smartphones. Often, they see technology as a tool to get things done, rather than a vehicle for recreation. Their computer skills are mixed, and many lack confidence.

The design lessons are the same here. Ease of use trumps aesthetics. Some simple steps, such as larger font sizes and clear instructions, can go a long way.

Generation X (1965 – 1979)
The first generation to grow up in front of a television was a bridge generation in terms of technology. Gen X — a term taken from Billy Idol’s band, and later popularized in a book by Douglas Copeland — knew newspapers, but were introduced to computers in their teens and to mobile phones in their young 20s.

Gen X is highly adaptable — and highly skeptical. This is the generation that embraced punk rock. Their digital skills are excellent. But they like to see things like free trials, peer reviews and 24/7 tech support. In short, reassurances.

Millennials (1980 – 1999)
These folks grew up online. And their entry into college and the workforce coincided with the rise of social media. As such, they are fluent in technology, extremely social and tend to be multi-taskers and second-screeners. They are often curious about what they can accomplish with technology, and they often look to technology first when they have tasks to accomplish.

They don’t have time for poor interfaces. They’ll bail out fast. The user experience should be simple, clean and deadly reliable. Information should be segmented and easily digested. Game-style, dynamic content often works well.

The Digital Generation (born since 2000)
This generation was born into a digital world and is fully immersed as they grow up. They know nothing else. Their digital skills are high — and so are their expectations. They often prefer speed to accuracy and tend to be impatient. They will compare your properties to mature interfaces like Facebook and the iPhone and calibrate their expectations accordingly.

Designers should create pages that are fun and clear, keeping in mind this audience is not going to wade through oceans of text. Videos, games, polls and interactive features work well. Remember that these are children, and that younger children will have parental involvement. Your information collection and payment features should be calibrated accordingly.

No matter whom your audience is, user testing can help. By getting users in early, you can learn what they like and what they don’t, what causes friction, what questions they have and how they respond to various features. Whatever the age of your user, a small amount of user testing can go a long, long way.

To learn more about Website Design in Seattle, call Top Marketing Agency at (206)279-3440 today. We can help craft the perfect website with SEO rich content for your business.

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