The success of any business doesn’t just depend on a great idea. Your concept could be incredible, but if customers don’t engage fully with what you’re doing, the idea might as well not exist! This is particularly important in online spaces, as there is no shortage of competition out there, a mere click away. So, why tailor UX to specific generations? Today we will discuss this topic.
This is why user experience (UX) has become such an important topic in online spaces. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to it. While it’s not exactly practical to design a unique UX strategy for each individual visitor to your website, you can still narrow the field. Each generation has a distinct set of values, ideals, and needs that can help you connect more meaningfully with them.
Let’s take a closer look at what UX does for your company, what each generation tends to prefer, and how this can be implemented on a practical basis.
Why Is UX important?
It may feel as though the user experience is recently another buzz phrase in business, but it actually represents a cornerstone of online commerce. Too many businesses still don’t understand why UX is such a vital aspect of what they do. So, it’s worth taking a moment to examine why you should be investing in a great user experience.
At its core, UX moves slightly away from what is important about a website to business owners, and toward what users find most desirable and valuable. It is understandable that a business will want its website to serve various branding and practical needs. However, these are not necessarily the positive things that customers will take away from their time on the site or utilize to inform their return to your business in the future. UX is more akin to guiding customers toward the goals of the company by adopting the elements that they find easy and pleasant to interact with.
Whether it’s an app, website, or content, users make quick decisions based on a variety of subtle elements. How intuitive a design is, whether the messaging fits their ideals — their expectations for experience are a crucial factor.
A recent study found that better UX design could improve conversion rates by up to 400%. What informs the best UX design? Customer knowledge. In many ways, UX is an investment in empathy, in understanding who your users are.
It’s likely your business will have a target demographic in mind; you may even have created customer personas. However, taking additional time to design your UX to your target demographic’s generational preferences helps to make certain that your site is accessible, usable, and psychologically geared toward their relationship with online spaces.
So, what do we know about their generational preferences and approaches?
Boomers tend to put a strong emphasis on loyalty, with a solid sense of the traditional. As such, reliability is essential for all business channels and resources. We know from their interactions in the workplace that they can also tend to be reticent about learning new technology, so any site changes should be taken slowly and guidance provided to users. As their generation is either retired or close to retirement, they also prioritize financial security and place a high premium on trust.
While Gen-Xers aren’t usually digital natives, they’ll still have enthusiasm about new technology. However, there is a certain cynicism that is inherent in their demographic, which means that businesses need to be very direct in their approach to customers. They are also some of the primary consumers of content, as they like to research fully across all channels before making buying decisions.
Currently the largest generation of adults, millennials are responsive to values-led experiences. They prioritize social responsibility and tend to buy from companies that demonstrate consistently sustainable and ethical practices. As they earn around 20% less than their parents, they also err on the side of caution financially.
Like millennials, this rising generation of consumers places great emphasis on social issues and has the drive to make a difference in the world. As such, the companies they buy from demonstrating relevance to the issues they consider important and are just as proactive as they are. Transparency, authenticity, and open communication are all expected by Gen-Zers, and they know that their purchasing power means they can demand these. They are extremely savvy, educated, and recognize the power of technology to make meaningful connections.
How To Tailor For Generations
So, once you know more about your customer, and the generation they belong to, the next challenge is understanding which elements of design can be adjusted.
Some Approaches Include:
User Interface (UI)
The UI is how your users interact with and navigate your website. Lean into what your target generation’s preferences are here. Millennials have expectations for an easy-to-use, one-stop UI experience. Make sure there is the potential for seamless integration with the social media they like to use, and the ability for sharing. They also have no patience for slow interfaces.
Being able to trust brands is a common need among all generations of consumers, but they also consider different elements to be indicators of trust. For boomers, who prefer the traditional, businesses should utilize certifications from trusted authorities, and demonstrate security through the use of familiar payment platforms and an HTTPS URL. Gen-Xers, on the other hand, put a lot of stock in reviews, and other types of content such as blog posts and videos that solidify your expertise.
Be aware of how generations will prefer to access and utilize your website. Gen-Z and millennials will likely be using mobile devices or taking a hybrid approach. In which case, make sure that your channels are not only responsive to mobile and desktop but multiple brands of mobile devices. In addition, particularly when it comes to boomers, it’s important to maintain an awareness of the challenges older users face, and include options for interface resizing, and forms that have a high tolerance for error.
Each generation has its own relationship with our online environment. Company websites need to tailor their UX to the preferences and needs of customers in the generation(s) most relevant to them. By taking time to understand your customers, and gaining insights into how they prefer to interact online, you can design an experience that breeds long-term relationships.