Developing Apps for Millennials
They are the most tech-savvy and the largest generation in history. They have tremendous buying power—and unique habits and needs. They’re Millennials, and designing and developing apps for this generation should be a top consideration for companies bringing digital products to market today.
In a previous post, Designing Apps for Millennials, we examined how collective generational values influence motivations, preferences, and expectations. In this article, we will explore some key considerations to ensure you’re keeping the Millennial mindset top of mind when developing apps for them.
Background on the Millennial Audience
Millennials have grown up in an era of rapid change, experiencing the unique transformation of globalized technology and connectivity. As the first generation of tech natives, it’s no surprise that around 98% of Millennials own smartphones. Born between 1981 and 1996, they have different expectations for their technology than the generations before them, including Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Z.
Millennials tend to value and prioritize efficiency, mobility, and instant gratification. Millennials also typically have a seamless relationship with their digital devices and the apps that run their life.
Millennials as Consumers
In terms of customer trends, Millennials are the biggest generation (92 million) and most influential in history, changing the world in ways never thought possible. They comprise 30% of the workforce and possess 1.3 trillion annual purchasing power.
Millennials are fiercely loyal to brands they love, willing to pay more for well-made products and enjoy making online purchases. They interact with apps as an integral means of solving problems and fulfilling needs. By considering their needs when developing your app, you can ensure its success among the millions of Millennial app mobile users.
Millennial Trends in Technology
As avid smartphone users, Millennials are an ideal audience for online content and app development. This generation’s average user spends 4 hours daily on their mobile devices.
Highly Social & Interconnected
Millennials view social networks as an outlet for creativity and self-expression. They frequent platforms like Snapchat, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Airbnb, Youtube, and Pinterest.
Apps that allow for easy sharing, collaboration, and communication are more likely to resonate with the Millennial generation. Consider Snapchat, an instant multimedia messaging app created in 2011, nearing 200 million users. In August, Snapchat was ranked as the third most popular social app among Millennials, trailing closely behind other huge networks, Facebook and Instagram.
Dr. Heather Dretsch, Assistant Professor of Marketing at North Carolina State University, observed, “The creative aspect that younger generations seek of social media is very cool. They actually view themselves as more creative when they follow content that reflects their own aspirations, colors they like, high-quality imagery, and wit.”
Convenience & Cash
Millennials tend to prioritize convenience and functionality in the apps they use. As such, other popular categories include banking and finance, food delivery apps, and apps used for gig economy jobs enabling Millennials to earn extra money. Gaming is also on the rise for this generation—with a heavy dose of game consumption on mobile devices.
Key Considerations in Developing Apps for Millennials
If you’re looking to scale your app and reach the Millennial masses—the big question is how.
This tech-savvy generation has been immersed in technology and thus has different needs than other generations. When it comes to developing digital products and content for Millennials, keep these considerations in mind:
App Performance & Speed
Speed matters greatly when creating customer experiences for this generation of digital natives. The average attention span of a Millennial is approximately 8 seconds. A slow or poor initial interaction will result in quick user abandonment. For instance, the BBC found they lost an additional 10% of users for each additional second their site took to load.
With that in mind, apps must hit the mark quickly. Lightning-fast performance should be at the top of your considerations for developing your app. Here are some ways to increase the speed of your mobile app:
- Optimize images and media. Large images and media files can slow down your app’s load time. Compress images and other media files to reduce size before incorporating them into your app.
- Minimize data usage. With numerous other apps likely running in the background on their mobile devices—data and battery conservation are critical. 37% of Millennial respondents identified data usage as a top concern when downloading an app to their mobile phones.
- Use a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN can help improve your app’s performance by caching your app’s content on multiple servers around the world. This can help reduce load times and ensure that users can access your app quickly from any location.
- Use caching. Caching can help improve app performance by reducing the need for data to be loaded every time the app is opened. Implement caching wherever possible to speed up the app.
- Optimize your code. Optimize your app’s code by reducing the number of requests it makes to the server, minimizing code redundancy, and reducing the codebase size. This can help improve app performance and speed up load times.
- Minimize network requests. Reduce the number of network requests your app makes by consolidating requests and reducing the size of requests. This can help speed up the app’s performance and improve user experience.
- Test your app frequently. Regularly test your app to identify any performance issues and bugs. This will help you fix any problems quickly and prevent them from slowing down your app.
By implementing these tips, you can help improve your app’s performance and speed up its load times, ultimately enhancing the user experience and keeping Millennials as loyal customers.
Lean Into Expected User Behaviors
Millennials want apps that are easy to use, instinctive, and visually appealing. If an app is poorly designed, difficult to navigate, or cluttered, users are likelier to delete it and look for an alternative. Think intuitive features with an easy learning curve, minimal noise, and key features easily accessible at the tap of your fingertips.
Convenience & Specificity
Keeping convenience at the forefront when designing an app for Millennials is essential. While some generations may need a more guided onboarding experience, tech-savvy Millennials are comfortable trying new tools. As InspiringApps Art Director, Aaron Lea, puts it:
“When users know it doesn’t take too long to accomplish a task—no guided tours—they’re more likely to use the app.”
Furthermore, unless you’re creating the next social network, don’t develop the app expecting to keep users in it. If users start to sense a stickiness in the product or the offerings themselves, you risk them closing the app or ditching their digital cart. App developers help users achieve something or access a specific feature. The fewer interactions it takes to accomplish that, the better the journey.
Again quoting InspiringApps Art Director, Aaron Lea:
“We all get distracted in the creative journey, and the risk is that we keep getting further away from (or even lose sight of) the reason we started—the problem we wanted to solve. We need to stay true to what inspired us in the beginning to create the app.”
Design is more than pretty colors and flashy animation—it’s the how and why of the app development process, deeply ingrained throughout the entire project. Design your app to be intuitive to your users by following universal design principles and heuristic guidelines. iOS and Android guidelines and design best practices will provide the best rule of thumb for most interactions.
Of course, you want to create an innovative product—but users know what to expect from an “x” or a “hamburger button.” With mobile apps, people remember the launch, the middle, and the endpoint. Pick the three most vital sections—the app’s beginning, the middle, and the exit—and make those experiences ones that keep users coming back.
A simple experience is a successful experience. Streamline old habits and familiarity into expected interactions, and let your ingenuity shine through the features and business logic.
Create a Seamless User Experience
First impressions matter—and Millennial users expect a smooth and seamless digital experience from start to finish. That means everything from anticipating and displaying the content they need to automatically unlocking the door they’re walking up to—all without a glitch.
To attract Millennials, apps need cross-platform functionality, meaning they’re usable on multiple devices so that app users can switch between platforms seamlessly. Millennial users expect to choose where to use your app, whether a smart device, a mobile device, or a web browser.
For example, as the financial world becomes increasingly digital, Millennial consumers seek web and mobile apps to safely manage their money. However, with fintech apps, a tremendous amount of data originates from different systems and stakeholders.
As we showed with our project, inHere, the key is to ensure that experience feels comfortable for users, no matter which platform or device they choose. First, design teams create the experience across various device sizes—from cell phones to large desktop displays. Then, development teams bring those designs to life using a variety of programming languages and tools, ensuring feature parity.
Personalization & Customization
Millennials value personalization and customization to their unique preferences. They want apps that allow them to tailor their experience to their preferences and needs. This includes features such as customizable notifications, personalized recommendations, and user-specific settings.
Furthermore, IoT is becoming embedded in our everyday lives. Consider how you can use data to personalize your user experience in meaningful ways along the different points of connection consumers make while using your app.
Provide Social Proof
Using social proof to leverage trust and credibility is more important than you may think. Millennials value other people’s opinions more than other generations—making social proof highly effective and necessary for your app’s success. Many Millennials look at reviews before making a purchase or commitment.
Take FOMO, for instance. They display recent orders, product reviews, and a variety of other customer behaviors to socially motivate their customers.
Social proof like credible reviews and user-generated content proves that many other users also utilize your app. In-app interactions such as “likes” can be very effective in accomplishing this, as well, and can provide the user with opportunities for engagement and connection.
Concluding Thoughts on Developing Apps for Millennials
Brands that take the time to understand the behaviors, motivations, preferences, and expectations of their Millennial users will experience significant growth. When positioned correctly, companies can apply these insights to broaden their market potential with Millennials and develop strong brand loyalty among their key customers.
Every generation is unique in how they relate to technology and the world around them. Understanding your audience and market and avoiding over-generalizations are essential prerequisites to developing a successful app.
Developing an app that caters to Millennials’ needs can provide immense value. Our insights can help you grasp the nuances required for developing such apps. With many Millennials already using apps, customizing them for this generation can yield significant returns.
If you have questions or concerns about developing apps for Millennials, Baby Boomers, Generation Z, Gen Xers—or any other generation—we would be happy to provide a free consult to you. Get in touch with us today!
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Generation Z is a brilliant and forward-thinking generation making a progressive transformation in the world as we know it. Following behind Millennials, they are heavily immersed in the technical landscape and are highly app savvy. They were born into a world of expansion and innovation with creations like the Apple iPhone and Facebook. Having grown up with the ability to access knowledge at the tap of their fingertips, they’re educated individuals with great entrepreneurial goals. They expect companies to anticipate their needs and will move on when they don’t deliver. They’re looking for flawless app design, fast iterations, responsible data collection, creative outlets, and more. Some Facts About Generation Z Born between 1997 and 2012, they’re in the era of self-discovery. Since their youth, Gen Z parents have been navigating the rise of technology and the online privacy issues that come with it; for Gen Z, finding their true selves is no easy task. Due to their immense media consumption, they expect instant gratification and high-speed delivery. As the “mobile generation,” 96% of Gen Zers are reported to own a cellphone—many spend 10 hours plus connected online. They frequent social platforms like Instagram, Youtube, TikTok, Twitch, Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit, and other platforms. Gen Zers gravitate to mobile banking apps to serve their financial needs and streamline their tasks. Consequently, email is slowly dying out among this community of users. Generation Z interacts with apps in their lives as a means of communication, to fill a need in their life, and for play and creative expression. They are true digital natives and are hyper-connected to the world around them—making them increasingly self-aware and emotionally reflective. Generation Z also reports high rates of anxiety, depression, and mental challenges—more so than in past generations. Experiencing a global pandemic has only exasperated their mental health struggles. Consequently, prioritizing and addressing mental health is of great importance. Take Oye—a creative wellness app created by singer J Balvin “to make the world feel better.” It’s an app to transform your emotions into creative actions with mind-body practices, daily emotional check-in tools, personalized goal setting, and mindful notifications. Gen Z has proven to be catalyzed citizens who want to make a difference through social responsibility. Their innate understanding of the power of social networks and their regular consumption of news and information 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. Considerations in App Development for Generation Z The Generation Z cohort is a significant target for app developers. Being born and raised in the digital age, they are always looking for novel tech to explore. Generation Z represents much larger historical forces at play, driving progressive transformation in the workplace that will redefine the entire generational experience. As a result, this generation has experienced increased globalization, technological advancements, and a fast-paced influx of information. Generation Z is changing the way we build digital experiences. Generation Z is the first generation to merge the digital and physical worlds into one experience. They view the internet as more than just a transaction and instead see it as a human experience. What that means for development is creating intuitive experiences that Gen Zers will love—innovative, straightforward, and seamless. With this information in mind, we’ve identified vital considerations to keep in mind when developing digital products for Generation Z. What Gen Z Consumers Want in An App Obsessively Tested, Flawless Design Gen Zers value efficiency and flawless design. That is why thorough testing and gaining user feedback are paramount. Be sure to ask for feedback from this generation and integrate the user input throughout your app’s development process and in updates. “If the designer doesn’t remove themself and try to see the user’s perspective, they can overly complicate the journey.” AARON LEA, ART DIRECTOR AT INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO Glitchy user interface behaviors and poor design choices are instant turnoffs for Gen Zers. Make your app seamless and flawless from the start, or you may lose your customer. 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 and standard features and anticipating your users’ desires, your users will navigate more intuitively and stick around for more. Fast Iterations Gen Z consumers have grown up in a fast-paced digital world and value convenience and efficiency. They prefer mobile apps that offer quick and uninterrupted experiences, such as fast loading times, easy checkout processes, and streamlined workflows. Keep your app low on data—fast to download and delete. Control Over Their Digital Footprint Gen Zers quickly went from a private world to everything constantly being shared online. In their formative years, they grew up with little technology at their disposal. They were thrust into a world of hyper-technology and interconnectedness as time progressed. With that in mind, here are essential factors to keep at the forefront of your app development: Privacy Settings Gen Z should be able to manage their privacy settings on apps. This type of functionality includes having the ability to choose whether their information is shared publicly or only with specific individuals and having the option to limit the usage of their personal data. Data Transparency Gen Z should have clear access and information about what data is collected, how it’s used, and to whom it gets shared. Responsible Data Collection It’s essential to ensure that Gen Zers’ personal data is protected from data breaches and cyber threats. Apps should implement robust security practices to keep user data safe. Value-Add Through Personalization You can add value with personalization by using various technologies, such as saving login information, geolocation, machine learning, and AI, to cater to the specific needs of Gen Z. It is crucial to find a proper balance in incorporating personalization that genuinely adds value, without overdoing it. Here are a few core components to adding value through personalization: Saving Login Information Gen Z is all about convenience, and one way to provide that is by saving their login information. By doing so, you not only save them time but also provide a straightforward user journey. Geolocation Gen Z consumers are constantly on the go and expect a personalized experience based on their location. Using geolocation technology, you can offer tailored recommendations, promotions, and content based on their location. Machine Learning & AI If you want to better understand your Gen Z customers, machine learning can be a potent tool. By analyzing their data, you can personalize their experience and provide the results they seek—before they even ask. AI and machine learning are great tools for automating manual tasks as well. Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) can be used in many ways to develop apps for Gen Z. Here are some ways to incorporate ML and AI in your app to improve its performance: Personalized Recommendations: ML algorithms can provide customized recommendations to Gen Z users based on their interests, behaviors, and preferences. Chatbots & Virtual Assistants: With natural language processing (NLP) techniques, it’s now possible to create bots that can interact with Gen Z users in a way that feels just like talking to a real person. Bots can help users with tasks such as scheduling, finding information, or making purchases on their mobile devices. Image & Video Recognition: Computer vision techniques can be used to recognize images and videos, which can be helpful in apps such as social media platforms, gaming, or e-commerce. Predictive Modeling: Predictive modeling techniques can be used to forecast future behaviors and trends. For instance, a news app can predict which articles will be most popular among Gen Z users. Predictive modeling ensures your app stays ahead of the curve. Voice Recognition: Voice recognition techniques can be used to develop voice-enabled apps and devices that can be controlled with voice commands. This technology can be helpful in apps such as virtual assistants, smart home devices, or hands-free gaming. ML and AI can help app developers create more engaging, personalized, and interactive apps for Gen Z users. By leveraging these technologies, app developers can improve the user experience and stay ahead of the competition. Creative Tools More than half of Gen Zers believe they are more creative than previous generations. Most of them engage in creative activities in their free time. Gen Z is a highly creative generation that values individuality and self-expression. Therefore, niche tools enabling creativity are essential for creating apps that resonate with them. Concluding Thoughts on Developing Apps for Gen Z Gen Zers have a unique vantage point when it comes to app development. They’ve experienced the best of both worlds—an era of privacy merged with hyper-connectedness. They are vicarious app consumers, making them ideal customers for app developers. Brands that take the time to understand their Gen Z users’ behaviors, motivations, preferences, and expectations will experience significant growth. Considering the above considerations, one can ensure that their app hits the mark with this brilliant and forward-thinking generation. Gen Z wants more than just an app. They crave a unique experience that fulfills their daily needs and brings joy. The app should leave them feeling special and enhance their well-being. At InspiringApps, we stay on the pulse and ahead of the curve to bring you the most forward-thinking and trending app development insights. If you have any questions or thoughts on the above material—we’d be delighted to connect!
21 days ago
Boulder, CO—In the latest article from Built In Colorado, InspiringApps’ Creative Director, Aaron Lea, shares his advice on creating simplified user journeys within digital products. How To Simplify User Journeys When do you know it’s time to simplify your product’s user journey? When we design digital apps, we’re always looking for ways to simplify the user journey. Limiting the number of interactions users have to make is a best practice for most apps. The more users have to drill down into extra screens, the more likely they are to leave. I like to think of it this way: design the app like you’re in the Target parking lot and about to go inside the store to buy Tide Pods. As a user, I want to be in and out as quickly as possible. A quick exchange that’s easy for me to use means I’m more prone to open the app the next time I’m in that Target parking lot. It’s often the case that apps are downloaded, opened once, and then deleted. These apps are too cluttered, and people won’t reuse them. On the other hand, when users know it doesn’t take too long to accomplish a task—no guided tours they’re more likely to use the app. A simple experience is a successful experience. Unless we’re creating something like TikTok, we aren’t designing the app to keep users in it. We’re here to help users achieve something or access a specific feature. The fewer interactions it takes to accomplish that, the better the journey. What process do you use to identify opportunities for simplification? App design is an art that involves trusting your instincts. I like to think of this process as similar to editing a script. Editors are great at identifying what’s essential and getting rid of clutter. But their real goal is staying true to what makes the script great—and amplifying that by revealing only what needs to be there. For example, an app may have a component that mirrors the functionality of Slack or Youtube. These are established popular apps. And even the best digital products aren’t going to lure people away from them. Any project, whether it’s designing an app or a home improvement project, can be subject to scope creep. Is that feature really needed? Was it added at the last minute? We all get distracted in the creative journey, and the risk is that we keep getting further away from—or even lose sight of—the reason we started, the problem we wanted to solve. We need to stay true to what inspired us in the beginning to create the app. ART DIRECTOR, AARON LEA | INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO What are some common traps designers can fall into that result in an overly complicated user journey? One trap is elevating ego over empathy. If the designer doesn’t remove themself and try to see the user’s perspective, they can overly complicate the journey. Designers must constantly evolve, challenge themselves, and put themselves in others’ shoes. ART DIRECTOR, AARON LEA | INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO Another trap could be the designer finding a new design tool or method they want to use and deciding to use it in a particular product. Novelty is not a substitute for suitability. A good rule of thumb is, don’t force it if it doesn’t deserve to be there. Sometimes, designers get set in their ways. Just because it worked last time doesn’t mean it will work this time too. Or conversely, designers may reinvent the wheel. If the design worked the first time, there’s no need to rethink it. Time management is critical. With mobile apps, people remember the launch, the middle, and the endpoint. A trap could be spending too much time on incidental interstitial areas. Don’t focus all your time there. Take that time and instead pick the three most vital sections—the app’s beginning, the middle, and its exit—and make those experiences ones that keep users coming back. Meet InspiringApps’ Creative Director Aaron Lea We believe that Inspired Employees Make InspiringApps and that our diverse backgrounds, skills, hobbies, and perspectives are what make us a stronger team. Aaron Lea finds his inspiration steeped in pop culture, a tradition of art in his family, and a creative digital design process that enables him to put novel creations back into the world and inspire others as a result.
1 month ago