Designing for Gen Z

1 month ago
Designing for Gen Z Image

Generation Z is a powerful group in today’s world. They’ve entered the workforce and are likely to continue to shake the status quo. This group has incredible spending power and the determination to make a difference and affect change. Tech is a seamless part of their life, and they’re open to transparent and effective digital products that fit into their lives intuitively, as well.

In a previous post, Designing Apps for Different Generations, we looked broadly at how your generation influences your relationship to technology throughout your lifetime. Each generation has shared experiences during their formative years that help to shape collective values. These values, in turn, influence motivations, preferences, and expectations when it comes to technology. As you develop products aimed at this generation, understanding these values can provide insights to consider when designing for Gen Z.

Gen Z Background

All eyes are on Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012. Just like the generations before them, they’re in the life stage of self-discovery. Since this generation’s youth, Gen Z parents have been navigating the rise of tech, social media, and online privacy issues—for Gen Z, discovering their true selves is no easy task. 

Gen Z has proven to be catalyzed citizens who want to make a difference. Their innate understanding of the power of social media and their regular consumption of news and information—often as it happens—has allowed Gen Z to move past the era of Millennial armchair activism. While navigating life in today’s world, Gen Z confidently prioritizes experiences over objects.

Gen Z & Technology

Born into tech, Gen Z uses their problem-solving skills to navigate life in today’s world confidently. Gen Z resists the Millennial-curated Instagram feed and instead shows their followers a more spontaneous and authentic persona that makes no distinction between their online and real life. They appreciate self-made stars and creative transparency, practiced by the many influencers they follow (and want to be).

They are speaking out, using their digital reach to influence national conversations from pop culture to politics. With tech at their disposal, they have opportunities to learn virtually anything at their fingertips, leading to content creation and early entrepreneurship. They’re skipping college to jump right into the “real world.”

Considerations When Designing for Gen Z

We’ve identified key considerations to keep in mind when designing digital products for Gen Z with this information in mind.

Prioritize a Smooth User Experience

The easiest way to encourage the use of and user retention for your app is by providing users with a smooth user experience. This is certainly a recommendation for all audiences but is critical for apps aimed at younger generations.

If Gen Z users detect any glitches, hang-ups, or stickiness within a digital product, there’s a good chance they’ll look for a better solution. Build your app with swift and straightforward interactions and don’t reinvent the wheel for every feature within your product—draw inspiration from apps that are already working. By sticking with best practices, standard features, and anticipating your users’ desires, your users will navigate more intuitively and stick around for more.

Make It Visual

Younger audiences aren’t interested in sifting through different kinds of content. Video content is more straightforward for them to navigate, and they tend to absorb it quicker than reading.

When creating a video for Gen Z, there are a few essential must-haves:

  • Creative, short-form video is the way to get Gen Z to love your brand—but attention spans are short. Use catchy, hyper-relevant content to grab the user’s attention within the first 3 seconds or risk losing it altogether.
  • Use content that can be consumed with the sound-off by employing captions and visual storytelling. This is a recommendation for all users, although it is also best practice in regards to accessibility. Reconsider the use of any content where sound is a must.
  • Consider the video’s platform when you create video content. When designing for Gen Z, this means using vertical video fit for Instagram reels, Tik Tok, and Snapchat.

Help To Express Authenticity & Individuality

Gen Z values authenticity in the brands they love, and they infuse it into their feeds as well. Gen Zers are conscious of their “personal brand”—the aesthetic representing their personality and interests. Thanks to the accessibility of digital video tools, Everyone is a content creator, and they use these digital tools to curate how the world sees them. 

Questions to ask when considering your Gen Z audience’s desire to be real: 

  • Does your product take into consideration the highly visual nature of Gen Z?
  • Does your digital product provide tools for content creation?
  • Does your app offer anything for them to share and a way to do so quickly?
  • Is there an opportunity to utilize user-generated content?
  • Is there an opportunity to be more transparent? To provide behind-the-scenes details?
  • Does Gen Z relate to this content?

Concluding Thoughts on Designing for Gen Z

These ideas can give you a sense of the necessary nuance in designing apps aimed at Gen Z. By taking their needs and preferences into account while developing a product, you can significantly broaden your app’s market potential.

Many digital products have the potential to be solutions for users spanning multiple generations, so there is a lot to consider. In addition to our free guide—Designing Digital Products for Every Generation—we've highlighted key takeaways on designing digital products for Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers, and for all.

Download our free development guide

In How to Design Digital Products for Every Generation, we share practical takeaways for any company looking to create a successful digital product—with audience strategy on designing for each generation and designing for all.
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