Designing for Generation X

5 months ago
Designing for Generation X Image

Designing products for Generation X should be a consideration for companies bringing products to market today. This tech-savvy group is not afraid of ever-evolving technology and looks for digital solutions not only for themselves, but also for their kids and aging parents.

In a previous post, Designing Apps for Different Generations, we looked broadly at how the generation in which you were born 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. Companies developing products aimed at Gen X, should understand that these values can provide valuable insight to consider throughout the process.

Gen X Background

Generation X, born between 1965 – 1977, make up the smallest generation. Spending their formative years in the 70s and 80s, Gen Xers had busy or absent parents and the balance of world powers in question. This generation spent their earliest years exploring new forms of entertainment. Incredible cinema like Star Wars, video games like Atari, and the premiere of MTV allowed them to form an affinity for pop culture that remains unique to this generation. Apple introduced the MacIntosh in the teen years for Gen X. Pagers became mainstream in their early 20s. Ever-evolving technology advances allowed them to be connected like never before.

Gen Xers are currently ages 43-55. This practical and driven generation is BUSY. They’re at the peak of their lives – juggling careers, raising kids, and caring for aging parents. Many Xers are on the cusp of a life shift like an empty nest and growing financial freedom. And similar to Boomers, they are starting to feel the effects of age.

Gen X and Technology

Generation X grew up right before the rise of computers and the explosion of technology. Collectively, their pragmatic nature challenged norms and social standards, and gave way to culture-shaping institutions like Google, Facebook, Tesla, Twitter, and YouTube.

Many Gen Xers were tech early adopters and continue to embrace it. They’re highly connected on social platforms and cell phones – both Androids and iPhones. They see tech as a way to get more things done, assist with their aging parents, and stay connected with their kids. Video content is more popular among Gen X internet users than social networking, with 78.7% downloading or streaming video online at least once per month.

Considerations when Designing for Gen X
Provide Value and Solutions

This busy generation finds ways to streamline their day-to-day tasks, looking to tech to provide solutions on anything from their latest home improvement project to a healthy recipe for their family on-the-go. Provide Gen Xers with straightforward design that helps them conduct these searches, but more importantly, delivers the content that they seek. This generation is known to have the greatest brand loyalty and will be lifelong users of products they feel add *real* value to their *real* life.

Skip the Nonessentials

Gen Xers have been around for generations of tech developments and anticipate problems that might arise. Save your product from their frustration and know that a straightforward approach is your best bet. Lose those few sentences of fluffy copy and ditch the long animations in favor of a simple, practical design leading to a good user experience that connects them to your product’s valuable solution as quickly as possible.

The most important thing is to be transparent with these users, especially when it comes to their data and other sensitive information. Communicate with your users with direct notifications and alerts and be explicit about what their data will and will not be used for.

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22 days ago

App Design

Designing for Gen Z

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 and 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 fingertips1, 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 four 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 smoother 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. Check out our background articles on designing digital products for Millennials, Gen X & Baby Boomers, or learn more about designing for all.

2 months ago

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