My best weekend read: Web Designs for Different Generations

My favourite blog post from this weekend’s reading list, by far, is Web design across different generations by Danny Bluestone, published on Econsultancy.

The article focuses on website design and how important it is to know who your user is and what they need from you.

Know your user, and don't make them think #greatwebsitedesign
Know your user, and don’t make them think #greatwebsitedesign

In my experience it can be tough enough to identify and then agree internally who your main user is, never mind keeping them front of mind during a long, arduous development process.

That’s why the five categories of website users proposed by Bluestone, based primarily on age, is useful.

The categories are:

  1. The Silent Generation (born in 1929-1945) lived just after World War II
  2. Baby Boomers (1946-1964) during the economic recovery
  3. The sceptical Generation X (1965-1979)
  4. The more technologically savvy Generation Y (1980-1999)
  5. The immersed Digital Natives (from 2000)

Like all simple customer categorisations there will be boundaries that blur and characteristics that don’t fit but having a place to start – and come back to – during those internal discussions is very useful.

Bluestone highlights the different  needs and expectations each type of user has of a website, and how they are likely to use it, for example:

“This generation [Silent Generation] is likely to blame themselves and give up when a website fails to perform, rather than searching for another option. They have a hesitant, careful approach to websites, double-checking forms before submission, so it takes substantially more time to complete tasks. “

As well as the usability elements raised in this article* I was struck by how different the branding – visuals, tone of voice, language used – might need to be for the different  categories.

*another great read about website design is Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think.


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