Today, a new generation of tech-savvy users is dictating how a product should look, feel, and function.
It hasn’t always been the case.
Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, were among the first computer and internet users. Technology fascinated them, but they also found it a little unnerving. After all, early applications were more focused on functionality, not user experience. As people overcame their fears and learned new ways to get things done, the popularity of computers grew. Yet, millennials’ everyday lives were still rooted in an analog world.
Then, Gen-Z came along.
Born between 1997 and 2022, these youngsters are challenging established beliefs and doctrines, forcing UI/UX design agencies to rethink their strategies.
What’s changed with Gen-Z?
Gen-Zers are called digital natives, a popular, apt term that describes what they truly are. They were born when the world was rapidly turning digital. From infancy, they’ve been surrounded by gadgets of all descriptions. They’ve been playing and learning with them. Unlike the earlier generations who had to learn new tricks, digital natives have had an uneventful relationship with technological changes. For them, technology is not a luxury, but a necessity, an inalienable part of their life.
Why is designing for Gen-Z important?
Gen-Z already represents a huge consumer market for digital products and services. And that space is exploding, with no sign of slowing down. As digital natives enter the workforce in more significant numbers, their demand for a modern user experience will intensify further.
Mistaking Gen-Z to be an extension of millennials is a pitfall. It’s important for UI/UX design agencies to realize that digital natives think and act in radically different ways than any of their predecessors. Creating UX designs that appeal to youngsters is a compelling need that can no longer be ignored.
Understanding digital natives
Before discussing what makes a UX design acceptable to the new generation, let’s understand the typical digital native’s psychological characteristics that shape their expectations. UI/UX design studios must internalize these factors to create attractive products.
- Short attention span: According to a Forbes study, digital natives have an attention span of just 8 seconds. This is perhaps the most critical aspect to consider. Unless you manage to kindle their interest within this short time, you’ve lost them. Another factor makes the challenge even more problematic: they keep juggling between five or even more apps or pages at any time. How will your product catch their wandering eye and mind?
- Self-awareness: Since birth, Gen-Zers have had immersive digital experiences and are sure they can find answers to every question; they’re convinced they can attain goals without anyone’s help. They detest being advised. They’re impatient with step-by-step instructions or long lists of Do’s and Don’t’s.
- Personalization: A strong sense of self drives Gen-Zers to seek unique, individualized experiences. They expect products and services to offer customized features and options rather than an unimaginative one-size-fits-all experience. They see a flood of entertainment, information, or networking alternatives, and they naturally choose ones that extend a personal touch.
- Societal insecurity: As Gen-Zers were growing up, the world endured a period of economic, cultural, political, and social turbulence. They were exposed to reports of terrorism, drug abuse, international conflicts, or racial tensions bombarding them through countless digital channels. Naturally, these youngsters seek comforting and reassuring experiences.
Designing for Gen-Zers
UI/UX design companies need to reevaluate their strategies to keep the new generation of users engaged. What worked for the millennials is now antiquated. Design efforts must rely on insights drawn from research and experience.
Here are a few tips for creating user experiences that delight young adults and teens.
- Make it visually enriching: Choose vivid colors, gradients, and hue combinations. Imaginative graphics and animation captivate young users. They must be fresh – avoid stereotypical images at all costs. Videos are very effective, but they must be short and memorable. Studies indicate that unless your video hooks the user within the first 3 seconds, it’s never going to create any impact.
- Use friendly, conversational content: Carefully review the content’s tone. Is it patronizing or highbrow? Gen-Zers despise anything that’s dumbed down on them. Adopt a personalized, conversational style that’s simple, balanced, and direct. Remember the 8-second rule. Keep the content length to a bare minimum or break it into bite-sized chunks without compromising the essential message.
- Respect their intelligence: The last thing you want to do is spoon-feed users with instructions, alerts, or warnings. If your product must include them, ensure they sound constructive rather than foreboding. Depending on the product, a gamified approach helps, but don’t make the experience too challenging or too easy.
- Let them play around: Gen-Zers are a curious lot. They like to explore options and find new ways of using products. Designers must create the impression that users are in control all the time. Give them ample choices to tweak the app. Just make sure it’s robust enough – youngsters hate products that break down easily.
- Optimize for multiple platforms: Digital natives use a wide variety of gadgets. Sometimes, they use several devices at the same time. They expect a seamless user experience as they switch from one platform to another. UI/UX design studios must ensure their products are responsive and scalable to satisfy the ever-changing needs of the young generation.
- Incorporate shareability: Gen-Zers are more socially connected than any other generation, but theirs is a virtual, cyberspace-centered network. They build and nurture connections by sharing their thoughts, concerns, and learnings. Encourage users to continue extending their experiences to their social networks. Include suitable sharing controls and watch your product acquire new fans.
- Be sensitive: Digital natives represent wide-ranging ethnic and social identities with distinct characteristics. Yet, they reject ideas that typecast them into stereotyped groups. It’s important to remember this rule while selecting images. Content must assume a neutral tone, avoiding references to gender, racial, or cultural differences.
Looking for design ideas that delight users across generations? Talk to us. Ambian Studio is among the top UI/UX design companies in India. Our team is driven by a passion for excellence. We love building new-age user experience strategies for businesses keen to benefit from futuristic thinking. With our customer-focused approach, agility, and positive attitude, we fulfill the exacting needs of global organizations. Our services span the entire UX spectrum, addressing the unique challenges and expectations of startups, mid-size companies, and enterprises.