Designing for Generation X

1 month 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, makes 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 & 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 & 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. Encourage engagement by providing Gen Xers with straightforward design that helps them conduct 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 the tech disruptions 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 around 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.

Concluding Thoughts on Designing for Gen X

If Gen X is part of your product's key audience, you can significantly broaden your app’s market potential by taking their background, needs and technology preferences into account.

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 Gen Z, Millennials, 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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