Designing for Gen Z
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
Business & Strategy
Your app store landing page is essential to marketing your mobile app. An informative and eye-catching app store landing page helps customers discover your app and is crucial in driving app downloads. The number of apps keeps rising. At conservative estimates, the App Store and Google Play each host over 2 million apps. In this competitive landscape, it’s hard to capture the attention of a potential customer without a great app store landing page. Building an App Store Landing Page: Focus Areas While there are many components to the landing page, here are four top items to focus on to create a great app store landing page: Use relevant keywords. Nail your description text. Sell your features visually. Encourage reviews. 1. Use Relevant Keywords Knowing and using relevant keywords is imperative—we can’t emphasize it enough. In today’s digital world, all content is filtered before it’s delivered to you. From the Instagram posts you see first to the order of websites a Google search returns, rankings help you find the information and products you want. Website builders everywhere think carefully about how to use keywords on their site to improve the likelihood of being found by interested parties, a process called search engine optimization (SEO). Searches in the app store are no exception to this process and even claim a unique variety: app store optimization (ASO). Most app discovery and downloads today come from search, so ranking for relevant keywords is your app’s best chance of being found. Not sure what your keywords should be? When building up your keyword repertoire, consider the main functions your app performs and the pain points it soothes. When optimizing your listing on the app store, try including a few keyword synonyms to help plant your app within your specific market. Also, consider incorporating a long-tail keyword. For example, using the long-tail keyword “customized nutrition plans” gives a health and fitness app a better chance of ranking high than using a more common phrase like “meal prep.” At the same time, be cautious with how detailed your keywords become. Keywords should be detailed enough to ensure you fit into a niche part of your industry. But they shouldn’t be so specific that no one looks for them. 2. Nail Your Description Text Just like social media captions and website previews, only so much of your description is visible to your potential customer when they first arrive on your landing page. Google calls this visible text the “short description” and allows up to 80 characters. Apple calls it “promotional text,” the first 170 characters at the top of your description. This visible description text is your app’s chance to stand apart in a lineup of potentially similar offerings. Your visible description should pack a punch and convey your app’s value to potential customers. You’ll want to be compelling here and include at least one of the keywords you identified. After the visible description text, both Google and Apple app stores will show the rest of your description content under a “read more” or “more” cutoff. This text will be indexed and used in the search process, so it’s relevant for ASO. For example, see the visible text from the App Store landing page for Artifact Uprising: Beyond ASO, the description text is your chance to tell potential users what makes your app unique and why they will love it. Be sure to illustrate your app’s value to those who use it and communicate in terms your audience will appreciate and understand. Note: Keywords represent a critical component that guides app store rankings and should be included within the description text, but stuffing keywords can hurt your app’s performance and flag it as spam. 3. Sell Your Features Visually The images on your app store landing page can help capture someone’s attention and significantly impact the install rate. A great app store landing page will include screenshots highlighting your app’s best features and will provide a sneak peek into how the app looks and functions. If there’s no app preview video (more on those in a moment), the first three screenshots you include will be visible on your app store landing page. Sometimes it’s helpful to create an image that includes the screenshot and some text above it to orient the user to what’s being shown. For example, see the following from the App Store landing page for the ēdn app: Have a lot to share? Consider trying out an app preview for the App Store or a preview video for Google Play. Instead of selling the differentiating points of your app in text, these videos allow you to show your audience the functionality and usability of your app. For highly visual apps, preview and promo videos can enable you to overcome the challenge of articulating in words a concept better seen in action. But any app can benefit from a video by offering consumers a refreshing way to experience features before downloading. While creating a video offers additional appeal, know that producing a successful one takes planning. Before you start, think through the following: Define your focus. Narrow the scope enough to cover it in a short time—generally, 15 to 30 seconds. Determine a logical way to order concepts and present features. Imagine you’re a user viewing everything for the first time. What information do users require to believe your app is just what they need? Develop a script that includes talking points and how they interact with your visuals. Avoid turning your script into a sales pitch. Successful app store videos emphasize experience and emotion. 4. Encourage Reviews The value of positive reviews is high for influencing how your app ranks in search and compelling others to take the risk to download your app. As with any product, great app reviews come from a great user experience, so that’s the most important place to focus your efforts. For example, see the top-rated Kindara app: While some people will choose to leave a review on their own, others benefit from being prompted. We recommend you wait until your user has logged a few sessions before making a request. Furthermore, there are a number of tools available to developers that provide an easy way to gather feedback. We encourage you to talk with your development partner to figure out what makes the most sense for your app. Final Thoughts on Creating a Great App Store Landing Page In a saturated market of mobile apps, brands need to use every advantage in reach to promote their apps. Creating an app store landing page that hits on some wow factors can help position your app and raise your chances of success in the marketplace. Great app store landing pages focus on the problems solved by your app, highlight your app’s functions and capabilities, and show the consumer why to choose your app over alternatives. While there are many components to the app store landing page beyond what we’ve discussed, focusing on the four areas we listed are high-gain places to start. If you have questions about best practices for app store landing pages, want to learn more about ASO, or have an idea for an app, get in touch with us today. And, if you’d like to stay on top of app development trends and more, consider signing up for the InspiringApps Community newsletter. Also, consider reviewing these additional resources: Top Tips To Avoid App Store Rejection Mobile Device Security: Data Protection on iOS & Android Designing Digital Products for Every Generation
15 days ago
Operating system (OS) updates are a regular part of the computing world, but they often have implications for the software that rides on top of them. New releases bring excitement, but they can also raise some questions. Many of our clients rightly ask whether an update will impact the functionality of an app they built on a previous OS. The answer is, generally, “It might!” With a new OS release, it’s always wise to review existing code to ensure it’ll work as well as it did when it was first written. Our Android and iOS developers share a few challenges a new OS version creates. Implications of an OS Update There are a few different ways an OS update can affect current code: Changes to SDKs Changes to UI conventions Changes to compatibility Changes to SDKs Software development kits (SDKs) are the underlying frameworks that make an OS what it is. As an OS matures, each release will naturally include changes to SDKs an app relies on to work. Those changes can cause the app code to break. For example, some recoding is required when deprecated methods are justifiably removed from an SDK but are still used in the app. Or, if the semantics of existing methods change to accommodate long-term OS strategies, it may negatively affect a part of the app, again requiring recoding and recompiling. Changes to UI Conventions OS changes can also bring about new user interface (UI) conventions affecting existing apps. While the code might still work, these changes may negatively impact an old app’s visual appearance and usability. For example, the default size and presence of navigation bars can change with a new OS, making the app look awkward if not recoded. Similarly, for Android apps, many icons and design cards can feel stale if they’re not updated with each new OS release. Changes to Compatibility Updates also impact developers (and thus apps) in areas like forward and backward compatibility. Development tools are interconnected, and maintaining compatibility may require code changes. Forward compatibility refers to a design characteristic that allows a system to accept input intended for a later version. Backward compatibility is a property that allows for interoperability with an older version. When developing for both forward and backward compatibility and using several tools, developers may be forced to upgrade an app, even when they don’t want to. For example, our developers often work with Xcode, a suite of software development tools created by Apple. If they update Xcode to build apps with the latest technologies like iMessage Apps, they may be required to also update their Swift code for other apps for those apps to compile in the updated XCode. One of our developers stated, “I felt betrayed by my tools,” when he was required to make a change he did not desire to make. Managing an OS Update Fortunately, the time between the beta release and the public release of a new OS is long enough for developers to start using the new features before users are typically affected. Developers are generally given 3 to 5 months to install the beta version of the OS and begin tinkering on it before that release is publicly available. The beta provides an opportunity to understand where the new OS has the potential to cause a current app to break. All of our developers spoke about the need to do testing, testing, and more testing to ensure the apps are functioning superbly on the new OS. One of our Android developers stated, “Ideally, I would build a test platform that pulls code from all of our projects and runs it on different virtual devices at different OS levels, taking screenshots and notifying us of any failed tests.” When time does not allow for that ideal scenario, we rely on regression tests to test all the code in the app. Apple and Google provide release notes detailing the changes in the new OS so that we can focus our tests on the areas with the most change. With a whole new OS, though, the list of changes is so long that it makes more sense to run a complete regression test. The Bright Side Transitioning to the new OS and overcoming the abovementioned challenges takes some forethought. However, the changes can also provide opportunities for clients to upgrade the functionality of their apps, incorporating new features that weren’t previously possible. For example, Apple just released a powerful weather framework. Such new functionality could be a perfect enhancement to fitness, travel, real estate, or even mental health apps. On the Google front, ultra-wideband antennas for third-party Android apps appear to be in our future. Android phones could be used as a key fob, serving as an ID for building system entry and other potential new features. If you want to talk more about possibilities for changes to your app or concerns you have about how it functions now, please contact us. We’d be happy to take a look.
18 days ago