Designing for Generation X
Designing products for Generation X should be a consideration for companies bringing products to market today. This tech-savvy group is not afraid of ever-evolving technology and looks for digital solutions not only for themselves but also for their kids and aging parents.
In a previous post, Designing Apps for Different Generations, we looked broadly at how the generation in which you were born 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. Companies developing products aimed at Gen X should understand that these values can provide valuable insight to consider throughout the process.
Gen X Background
Generation X, born between 1965-1977, makes up the smallest generation. Spending their formative years in the 70s and 80s, Gen Xers had busy or absent parents and the balance of world powers in question. This generation spent their earliest years exploring new forms of entertainment. Incredible cinema like Star Wars, video games like Atari, and the premiere of MTV allowed them to form an affinity for pop culture that remains unique to this generation. Apple introduced the MacIntosh in the teen years for Gen X. Pagers became mainstream in their early 20s. Ever-evolving technology advances allowed them to be connected like never before.
Gen Xers are currently ages 43-55. This practical and driven generation is BUSY. They’re at the peak of their lives—juggling careers, raising kids, and caring for aging parents. Many Xers are on the cusp of a life shift like an empty nest and growing financial freedom. And similar to Boomers, they are starting to feel the effects of age.
Gen X & Technology
Generation X grew up right before the rise of computers and the explosion of technology. Collectively, their pragmatic nature challenged norms and social standards and gave way to culture-shaping institutions like Google, Facebook, Tesla, Twitter, and YouTube.
Many Gen Xers were tech early adopters and continue to embrace it. They’re highly connected on social platforms and cell phones—both Androids and iPhones. They see tech as a way to get more things done, assist with their aging parents, and stay connected with their kids. Video content is more popular among Gen X internet users than social networking, with 78.7% downloading or streaming video online at least once per month.
Considerations When Designing for Gen X
Provide Value & Solutions
This busy generation finds ways to streamline their day-to-day tasks, looking to tech to provide solutions on anything from their latest home improvement project to a healthy recipe for their family on-the-go. Encourage engagement by providing Gen Xers with straightforward design that helps them conduct searches, but more importantly, delivers the content that they seek. This generation is known to have the greatest brand loyalty and will be lifelong users of products they feel add *real* value to their *real* life.
Skip the Nonessentials
Gen Xers have been around for generations of tech developments and anticipate the tech disruptions that might arise. Save your product from their frustration and know that a straightforward approach is your best bet. Lose those few sentences of fluffy copy and ditch the long animations in favor of a simple, practical design leading to a good user experience that connects them to your product’s valuable solution as quickly as possible.
The most important thing is to be transparent with these users, especially around their data and other sensitive information. Communicate with your users with direct notifications and alerts and be explicit about what their data will and will not be used for.
Concluding Thoughts on Designing for Gen X
If Gen X is part of your product’s key audience, you can significantly broaden your app’s market potential by taking their background, needs, and technology preferences into account.
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, Gen Z, Millennials, Baby Boomers, and for all.
If you have questions or concerns about designing for Gen X—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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Business & Strategy
Many founders and entrepreneurs start their business because they have an itch to solve a problem, but they reach a point along the way where they’re at a turning point. This is where most businesses fail unless they turn the corner. Every leader goes through humbling moments. These are the learnings that host Kendra Prospero unearths by interviewing seasoned leaders on the How I Turned the Corner Podcast. Brad Weber, CEO and President of InspiringApps, joined the podcast to discuss turning the corner on employee turnover. Employee turnover is an important and often overlooked aspect of running a business, especially in competitive industries like tech. And every time there’s turnover, there’s cost—even in the best scenarios. In an inspiring discussion with Kendra, Brad shares his unique approach to keeping employees happy and turnover low. Watch the Full Interview Quote From the Interview “Foundational for us is definitely respect and support for one another on our team. And that goes a surprisingly long way. And it’s also not as common as I would have thought that it is, but that’s really important to us. Everybody on the team is absolutely respected for their contribution, and we want to help them grow in the ways that make sense for them—whether that’s technically or or to pick up non-technical skills that are important to them. We do all of that over the course of their career at InspiringApps.” —Brad Weber About Kendra Prospero Kendra Prospero is the CEO and Founder of Turning the Corner, LLC. For over a decade, Kendra’s career has been all about creating healthier and more rewarding work environments. She helps people connect to work they love, while transforming workplace culture to retain top talent, increase productivity, and build confident leaders. She has served hundreds of clients in revamping their corporate cultures, revitalizing their recruiting and helping them retain their people. Her clients include Google, Infusionsoft, Ricoh USA, Project Management Institute, Galvanize, Boomtown, SurveyGizmo, and SHRM Colorado. About Brad Weber Brad Weber has more than 25 years of software development experience. Brad received his MBA from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado and spent several years with Accenture before striking off on his own adventures, including the successful founding of four different technology companies. With a passion for software artisanship, Brad founded InspiringApps to build a team that could tackle larger app development challenges than he was able to handle on his own. His leadership creates an environment where the most innovative digital products continue to come to life. About InspiringApps App development that makes an impact. InspiringApps builds digital products that help companies impact their employees, customers, and communities. Yes, we build web, mobile, and custom apps, but what we offer is something above and beyond that. What we offer is inspiration. Our award-winning work has included 200+ apps since the dawn of the iPhone. Our core values: integrity, respect, commitment, inclusivity, and empathy. Our guarantee: finish line, every time, for every project. Get in touch at hello@InspiringApps.com. Say Hello on Social LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/inspiringapps/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InspiringApps Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/inspiringapps/
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The possibilities are endless when it comes to Gen Alpha. As the most diverse generation, they are forward-thinking and brilliant innovators. Gen Alphas were born into a hyper-technological and entrepreneurial world, making them the most globally connected generation ever. This demographic has tremendous earning potential and will have the highest spending power in history. Technology is a part of daily life. Thus, Gen Alphas prioritize authentic connection and meaningful causes. 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 regarding technology. As you develop products aimed at this generation, understanding these values can provide insights to consider when designing for Gen Alpha. Gen Alpha Background If you can bet on any generation making big waves, it’s Generation Alpha. Born in the 21st century from 2010-2025, they’re the largest generation and most likely to live the longest. Gen Alphas are also predicted to be the most educated and wealthiest generation of all time. Born into a global pandemic, this generation has become increasingly immersed in technology and digital experiences. As a result, Gen Alphas seek authentic communication and connection more than ever. Unlike their Millennial parents, Gen Alphas frequent platforms like TikTok, Instagram Live, Houseparty, Clubhouse, and similar platforms. AI is part of their daily lives, and they frequently use technologies like Siri and Alexa (among others) from an early age. Due to shorter attention spans in our increasingly digitalized world, short, easily digestible content is imperative. Creativity and innovation are common themes among this brilliant and up-and-coming generation. This demographic has a tremendous amount of earning potential. They like to think out of the box, are incredibly technologically savvy, and value the importance of social causes. They tend to place a high value on climate change and inclusivity. Gen Alpha is a passionate group that desires to help others and improve the world around them. Gen Alpha & Technology Generation Alpha is immersed in a world of technology. According to McCrindle, Gen Alpha has more screen time than previous generations. The pandemic has only intensified technology use. With few places to go, Gen Alpha kids turned to their screens to combat their inner loneliness. One must design with authentic influence to bridge the gap between digital technology and the human experience. Gen Alpha is tired of the manufactured experience and is looking for a genuine connection that speaks to them personally. They tend to have short attention spans and are interested in fast-paced, easily-consumable media content. Due to the plethora of information available to this modern generation, Gen Alpha believes strongly in the power of data and is greatly influenced by it. Gen Alphas are enthusiastic about documenting and sharing their own content and like interacting with others digitally. Influencers can profoundly impact their purchasing decisions. Gen Alphas want customizable, meaningful digital experiences that bring them value and uplift their daily life. Considerations When Designing for Gen Alpha Authentic Influence Niche content creators greatly influence Generation Alpha. That said, this generation is bombarded with influencers and advertisements. We can expect Gen Alpha to distrust brands that seem phony or don’t have their best interests at heart. Similarly, they will likely reject traditional forms of marketing much as their Millennial parents did. Authentic influence is critical for gaining the trust of Generation Alpha. Gen Alphas are looking for genuine connections with brands that align with their values. Raw, real-life experiences, humanized messaging, and value-based technology will be best received best by Gen Alphas. In short—less curated experiences and more authenticity. Having concentrated human-centric features will dramatically shape the Gen Alpha’s user experience. Return on User Experience Gen Alphas invest in experiences that enrich their lives and, in turn, have high expectations for all elements of their experience. The level of transparency of taking the customer on the journey from start to finish will significantly benefit this generation. They want an immersive experience with the entire process demonstrated to them, not just a cherry-picked, glamorous experience. Leveraging interactive marketing tactics such as user-generated content allows the user to be part of an experience. Here’s a formula to constantly improve a Gen Alpha’s user experience: 1. Observe. Develop a thorough understanding of your customer journeys and pinpoint what matters most to them along the way. 2. Evaluate. Collect operational data and derive meaningful results with a key performance indicator framework. 3. Act. Use those insights to improve your app to fit the user’s preferences and desires. A rule-based action engine can help expedite and automate the process. Connected to Social Issues Generation Alpha cares deeply about social issues. Causes like climate change, diversity and inclusion, fair representation, acceptance, and sustainability will be at the forefront of their value system. They’ll be seeking out brands and technologies that combat social issues. With that in mind, be transparent about your mission, impact, and what you do to solve it. Brands looking to engage with this audience must embody and foster inclusive and accepting environments. As the most diverse generation, brands can build trust by representing their consumers authentically. Here are some questions to consider when designing for Gen Alpha: What are the demographic and psychographics of the country? How can you reduce our imprint on the environment and create a more sustainable solution? Where are there additional opportunities for broader representation? Concluding Thoughts on Designing for Gen Alpha Taking Gen Alphas’ background, needs, and technological preferences into account will help broaden your app’s reach and 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 Z, Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomers, and for all. If you have questions or concerns about designing for Gen Alpha—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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