As a profession, website design has exploded in recent years as one of the only industries continuously looking for and hiring new talent. This boom has been sustained by developments in internet technology and the exponential growth of websites from companies, organizations, and individuals around the world along with the ever growing number of global internet users. With the practically limitless possibilities for web design and site creation, these trends will most likely continue in the foreseeable future. With the number of users and sites growing all the time, it is extremely important that your website be designed with your particular market’s interests at its foundation to ensure that your site will be visited and appreciated by your customers amongst a sea of similar websites. Luckily, different age groups tend to prefer different types of websites (beyond some fundamental factors), making it easy for you to have some basic guidelines when designing your site with your targeted age group in mind. What are important trends in web design that research has shown is responded to best by various age groups?
Websites for kids
Children at this age know much more about computers and the internet than most adults did in their teens. Thanks to this earlier initiation, kids appreciate using the computer not only for games and films, but also for exploring interactive sites and learning about their favorite topics. If you are designing a site for kids in this age range, aim for a simplistic design with an extremely straightforward site map that is navigable through large buttons or links. Take advantage of iconography to lead the children through the site, as children at this age remember and repeat experiences based on symbols. It is also a good idea to use as many educational games throughout the site as possible, remembering that emotional reinforcement goes a long way with children.
Websites for tweens and teens
Children at this age are able to pay attention for significantly longer than those in the previous group and probably have more defined tastes and search preferences. Without crowding the pages, use captivating media like videos, music, or short clips to keep teen’s interest and make their visit entertaining. This is the age group most focused on socialization, so make sure to include interactive elements on your website that allow your visitors to share their comments and/or connect with others to make them really enjoy your website. Visually speaking, this group is more similar to adults than younger children in their preference for a streamlined but logical order to a website, less in need of “childish” embellishments.
Websites for adults
The primary difference in the website preferences of adults and younger people is that adults tend to visit the web with specific goals in mind. They search sites to complete a task or find some needed information, usually filtering out advertising and information that is not pertinent to their original objective that made them begin surfing. For this reason, websites geared towards adults should be clear about what they are offering and help their users reach their assumed goals as easily and clearly as possible. Media usage should not be as prevalent as with kids and teens, and social interaction is not nearly as important for most adults as it is for teens. Some say that adults, who comprise the largest portion of web users, are actually the most difficult age group to design for because of their variety in objectives and significant focus on their goals.
Websites for the elderly
On average, the elderly tend to be less technologically savvy than other age groups and take advantage of the internet’s offerings at lower rates. That being said, the elderly that do surf exhibit a combination of adult and child preferences, logging onto the internet for specific purposes but being flexible about where their search takes them. The elderly tend to appreciate websites that are easy to read (with larger print) and navigate. Making the website have some strongly memorable characteristic, like a great web domain, is also a great idea for this age group.
Knowing your target audience and designing your website to their liking is the best way to make sure your company gets the type of internet exposure you are looking for. For more tips, see Six Revisions.
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This is a guest post by Lindsey, a part-time guest-blogger. His main interests are Entertainment and Business, with a recent focus on Technology. She is constantly extending her field of interest to incorporate news suggested to her by her readers. Also, if you like her writing, make sure to follow her on Twitter.