Designing for Gen Z
Generation Z is a powerful group in today’s world. They’ve entered the workforce and are likely to continue to shake the status quo. This group has incredible spending power and the determination to make a difference and affect change. Tech is a seamless part of their life, and they’re open to transparent and effective digital products that fit into their lives intuitively, as well.
In a previous post, Designing Apps for Different Generations, we looked broadly at how your generation 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. As you develop products aimed at this generation, understanding these values can provide insights to consider when designing for Gen Z.
Gen Z Background
All eyes are on Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012. Just like the generations before them, they’re in the life stage of self-discovery. Since this generation’s youth, Gen Z parents have been navigating the rise of tech, social media, and online privacy issues—for Gen Z, discovering their true selves is no easy task.
Gen Z has proven to be catalyzed citizens who want to make a difference. Their innate understanding of the power of social media and their regular consumption of news and information—often as it happens—has allowed Gen Z to move past the era of Millennial armchair activism. While navigating life in today’s world, Gen Z confidently prioritizes experiences over objects.
Gen Z & Technology
Born into tech, Gen Z uses their problem-solving skills to navigate life in today’s world confidently. Gen Z resists the Millennial-curated Instagram feed and instead shows their followers a more spontaneous and authentic persona that makes no distinction between their online and real life. They appreciate self-made stars and creative transparency, practiced by the many influencers they follow (and want to be).
They are speaking out, using their digital reach to influence national conversations from pop culture to politics. With tech at their disposal, they have opportunities to learn virtually anything at their fingertips, leading to content creation and early entrepreneurship. They’re skipping college to jump right into the “real world.”
Considerations When Designing for Gen Z
We’ve identified key considerations to keep in mind when designing digital products for Gen Z with this information in mind.
Prioritize a Smooth User Experience
The easiest way to encourage the use of and user retention for your app is by providing users with a smooth user experience. This is certainly a recommendation for all audiences but is critical for apps aimed at younger generations.
If Gen Z users detect any glitches, hang-ups, or stickiness within a digital product, there’s a good chance they’ll look for a better solution. Build your app with swift and straightforward interactions and don’t reinvent the wheel for every feature within your product—draw inspiration from apps that are already working. By sticking with best practices, standard features, and anticipating your users’ desires, your users will navigate more intuitively and stick around for more.
Make It Visual
Younger audiences aren’t interested in sifting through different kinds of content. Video content is more straightforward for them to navigate, and they tend to absorb it quicker than reading.
When creating a video for Gen Z, there are a few essential must-haves:
- Creative, short-form video is the way to get Gen Z to love your brand—but attention spans are short. Use catchy, hyper-relevant content to grab the user’s attention within the first 3 seconds or risk losing it altogether.
- Use content that can be consumed with the sound-off by employing captions and visual storytelling. This is a recommendation for all users, although it is also best practice in regard to accessibility. Reconsider the use of any content where sound is a must.
- Consider the video’s platform when you create video content. When designing for Gen Z, this means using vertical video fit for Instagram reels, Tik Tok, and Snapchat.
Help To Express Authenticity & Individuality
Gen Z values authenticity in the brands they love, and they infuse it into their feeds as well. Gen Zers are conscious of their “personal brand”—the aesthetic representing their personality and interests. Thanks to the accessibility of digital video tools, Everyone is a content creator, and they use these digital tools to curate how the world sees them.
Questions to ask when considering your Gen Z audience’s desire to be real:
- Does your product take into consideration the highly visual nature of Gen Z?
- Does your digital product provide tools for content creation?
- Does your app offer anything for them to share and a way to do so quickly?
- Is there an opportunity to utilize user-generated content?
- Is there an opportunity to be more transparent? To provide behind-the-scenes details?
- Does Gen Z relate to this content?
Concluding Thoughts on Designing for Gen Z
These ideas can give you a sense of the necessary nuance in designing apps aimed at Gen Z. By taking their needs and preferences into account while developing a product, you can significantly broaden your app’s market potential.
Many digital products can potentially be solutions for users spanning multiple generations, so there is much 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 Alpha, Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomers, and for all.
If you have questions or concerns about designing for Gen Z—or any other generation—we would be happy to consult with you free of charge. Get in touch with us today!
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Technology is changing at such a rapid pace that we have seen many tech disruptions in a relatively short time. A “disruptive technology” could be defined as one that displaces an established technology, thereby shaking up an industry and reshaping its future trajectory. A tech disruptor could also be a ground-breaking product that creates an entirely new industry. Join our drive down the technology superhighway as we rediscover the top tech disruptions over the past 10 years and dive into what’s next. 2014: Amazon Echo Brings the IoT Home Amazon Echo barreled into our lives this year, causing us to rethink how we might use technology in our homes. Powered by Amazon’s voice control system Alexa, the Echo started with just a few intelligent voice commands. Alexa now boasts thousands of “skills” and has become the central hub in so-called smart homes, helping to bring the Internet of Things (IoT) to a much wider audience. Followed quickly by Google Home and more recently by Apple HomePod, this technology is sure to continue to grow. 2015: Autonomous Vehicles Inspire Change The autonomous car, aka the self-driving car, is envisioned as one capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input. The quest to develop technologies that could enable such a feat began to rise in 2015. Consumers have benefitted from numerous changes in car technology (think adaptive speed tech, proximity sensors, guidance systems, etc.) as manufacturers began pursuing this vision. This dramatic reshaping of the automotive industry certainly deserves a call-out. 2016: Oculus Rift Opens Up Virtual Reality Virtual reality (VR) as a concept has been around for decades and offers increasing value in everything from military training to surgery simulation to product development and testing. Although Google had been selling Google Glass prototypes since 2013, VR’s availability to consumers was limited until the introduction of Oculus Rift in 2016. With its launch, VR exploded into many homes. The system was a hot gift and introduced the concept of VR to a broader audience—it’s hard not to enjoy (or laugh with?) someone experiencing VR for the first time! 2017: AI Takes the Stage Artificial intelligence (AI) is a science-fiction trope brought to life. With numerous large companies investing billions of dollars on research in this field, it’s poised to influence how we live and work in the coming years. Applications include everything from automating tasks using bots to enabling computers to answer complex, multi-tiered questions by “learning” from previous queries. 2018: 5G Begins Its Rollout As connectivity became more ubiquitous, fast and reliable internet demand increased. It’s not enough to watch a streaming movie in the middle of nowhere—it has to be smooth! Beginning in 2018, 5G promised to bring more channels for higher speed, lower latency, and greater bandwidth for more connected devices. But 5G wasn’t exciting for smartphone fans only: the benefits had implications for healthcare, education, smart homes, connected cars, and more. 2019: 3D Printers Revolutionize the 4th Industrial Revolution Although the technology and equipment for 3D printing were available in the mid-1980s, 3D printing was imprecise, bulky, and costly. Thirty years later, 3D printing made it to the mainstream as a disruptive technology. This disruptive technology appeared in 2019 as part of predictive maintenance in manufacturing. Smart sensors helped identify potential problems, and 3D printers built new parts before needing to be needed. 2020: Passwordless Authentication Hits Big Tech For many of us, forgetting our passwords is a daily occurrence, but those days may be behind us, thanks to the push for passwordless authentication in 2020. While the world stood still during the COVID-19 pandemic, big tech companies like Microsoft began to push for two-factor authentication and passwordless logins, and an identity management startup called Beyond Identity launched its passwordless identify platform in April. Companies like Adobe and Facebook began utilizing new security features to give us the luxury of forgetting those complicated passwords. 2021: IoT Builds the Virtual World Technology automation through IoT didn’t begin in 2021, but this year brought a boon for intelligent everything. The IoT connects objects in the real world—navigation systems, thermostats, your virtual assistant, Alexa—with virtual identifiers on the internet. These identifiers “talk” virtually to create a web of connections and collaborations between the devices. Although IoT has been used in home-based applications, 2021 brought the technology to new areas, including manufacturing, mining, and healthcare. 2022: ChatGPT Redefines Human-Computer Interaction In 2022, ChatGPT emerged as the undeniable frontrunner and the most influential tech disruption of the year. Developed by OpenAI, this groundbreaking language model harnessed the power of the GPT-3.5 architecture to revolutionize human-computer interactions. With its ability to understand context, generate coherent responses, and adapt to users’ needs, ChatGPT transcended traditional chatbots, becoming a sophisticated conversational AI companion. Its applications spanned diverse industries, from customer support to creative writing, education, and even healthcare. As ChatGPT continuously learned and evolved, it showcased the transformative potential of artificial intelligence, leaving an indelible mark on the technology landscape of 2022 and beyond. 2023: Apple Vision Pro Unleashes the Power of Spatial Computing In 2023, spatial computing, specifically the Apple Vision Pro, emerged as the pinnacle of technological disruption, revolutionizing how we interact with digital information. Years earlier, Apple’s visionary smartwatch had cemented Apple as the leader in wearable technology. In 2023, the Apple Vision Pro promises to enable users to seamlessly integrate virtual elements into their physical surroundings, unlocking unparalleled immersion and productivity. We can now see a future where the days of limited screen real estate are gone; users can effortlessly interact with a vast array of applications and data in a three-dimensional, contextually aware environment. This leap in spatial computing may solidify VR’s position as an indispensable tool and open up new frontiers in communication, productivity, and entertainment, forever changing the way we perceive and interact with technology. What’s next? Tech disruptions in the 21st century have transformed our reality into a digital-first experience. Technology is changing faster than ever. Backed by a confluence of all these giant leaps forward, the future is a brave new world. Our predictions for what’s next include: Prediction 1: Quantum Computing Revolutionizes Data Processing Quantum computing is poised to shatter the boundaries of traditional computing capabilities. With its ability to leverage quantum mechanics principles, it will handle complex problems at speeds that were once deemed impossible. Industries such as pharmaceuticals, logistics, and cryptography will see groundbreaking advancements, leading to accelerated drug discovery, optimized supply chains, and next-level data security. As quantum computers become more accessible, researchers and innovators will unlock the potential for solving real-world challenges that were previously impossible. Prediction 2: Hyper-Automation Transforms Workforce Efficiency Hyper-automation is revolutionizing the business world with advanced technologies like AI, machine learning, and robotic process automation (RPA). By automating complex processes, companies can boost productivity, streamline operations, and free up time for creative and strategic initiatives. This transformational trend empowers workers through upskilling and reskilling, leading to a promising future where technology complements human expertise for greater success. Prediction 3: AI-Driven Personalization Enhances User Experience As AI continues to integrate deeply into our digital lives, offering personalized experiences across platforms becomes the new norm. Users are already encountering tailored content, services, and product recommendations that cater precisely to their preferences in e-commerce, entertainment, content consumption, and even healthcare. However, this era of heightened personalization is also bringing data privacy and ethical AI usage to the forefront, driving the need for responsible AI development and regulation to ensure user trust and societal well-being. More Transformative Digital Solutions At InspiringApps, we’re passionate about harnessing the power of tech’s newest disruptions to create transformative digital solutions. More than that, we’re thrilled to collaborate with our clients’ brilliant ideas and make them a reality. Could your digital product idea be the next big thing in your industry? See how we helped Fidelity National Financial create a transformative solution for the real estate industry with their award-winning product, inHere.
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CEO Brad Weber of InspiringApps joined Adam Torres on the Mission Matters Podcast to announce his new book and dive into InspiringApps’ latest insights on the business applications of artificial intelligence. The discussion explores challenges and lessons learned in growing a company, emphasizing the significance of a strong team and strategic decision-making, and predicting the future of AI from revolution to best practice. Watch the Podcast Key Takeaways AI & Automation AI is transforming how we create solutions. Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a significant force in our lives, particularly through our mobile devices. AI can predict our routes and provide traffic information, making it a useful tool for automation and more. Representing one specific type of AI, ChatGPT has gained popularity because of its ability to generate content. However, there has been a backlash due to concerns about copyright infringement. Despite this, companies like InspiringApps are finding ways to integrate generative AI capabilities into products, creating more targeted solutions for consumers. We need to approach AI implementation thoughtfully. Overall, AI presents both opportunities and challenges for businesses, and it’s crucial to approach its implementation thoughtfully. While some see potential benefits, others worry about job security. For example, starting out as a copywriter in this space may be challenging, as entry-level positions could be affected. Large companies initially reacted with fear to ChatGPT, but now they are seeking guidance to understand the technology better and implement best practices within their organizations. Building an Inspiring Business Complex business challenges are no match for inspirational leadership. In his chapter of the new book, Brad discusses the challenges and importance of growing a successful company and cultivating a winning culture. He emphasizes the need for a strong team and a solid organizational structure. The concept of “team” is crucial to Brad. He has found that having a cohesive leadership team and solid continuity across all roles in the organization is essential. InspiringApps invests in meeting its team’s needs and involving everyone in decision-making, making it a great place to work and keeping turnover low. Brad also addresses the idea of creating cool stuff for clients versus building a real business. He shares a personal story about being “slapped with a backhanded compliment.” In this experience, Brad came to realize the need for long-term sustainability and formalizing roles for success. InspiringApps is as nimble as a startup but as mature as an enterprise when it comes to app development capabilities. As the company continues to grow, the team recognizes the importance of understanding its strengths and bringing value to clients, whether they are startups or large enterprises. Entrepreneurship & App Development “Despite having many business degrees, I’ve made many business mistakes.” BRAD WEBER, CEO | INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO Brad shares his experiences and mistakes, hoping that others can learn from them. He believes that learning from both “triumphs and goofs” is valuable. Growing a company is fraught with risk. Cultivating a winning culture requires an employee-based team. A flat org structure will only take you so far. Create cool stuff for clients or build a real business. To get the full story on topics like these, buy the book on Amazon today!
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