When designing a website, it’s important to know who your customer is. Depending on who your target audience is can determine how you design your website. For this post we’ll focus on Generation X. You may ask yourself, who exactly is Generation X? We heard all about the famous Baby Boomers and now people can’t stop talking about those stinkin’ Millennials, but what about the folks in between?
When Generation X began and ended is often up for debate, but when you Google search “Generation X” it will tell you the period was the 20 years between 1961 – 1981. So basically these people are are between 37 – 57-years-old. These are the people busy. They haven’t reached retirement, and if anything are at the peak of their careers. They’re raising children, paying mortgages, and responsible more things than they ever have been before and probably ever will be.
It’s important to know that we aren’t trying to put any generation in a box, you will need to tailor your final design to an even more targeted demographic. But when it comes to Gen Xers, what are they looking for in website design? How can you best design a website that will keep them coming back and invested in what you’re selling? Here are some general factors you should consider when marketing/designing a website for Gen X customers:
Again, this generation is responsible for the “now.” While the Baby Boomers have done their job and Millennials are the “future,” Generation X is holding down the fort as we speak. With this being said, a day in the life of a Gen Xer is filled with lists, tasks and things that are in queue to be checked off. They are a goal oriented generation.
Chances are if they are on your website, they are there for a specific purpose and they are on a mission. There’s no need to distract them with fly-ins and pop-ups with other information. You don’t need to add a sidebar chalk full of other information. The more straight forward your website can be – the better. Someone from Generation X will appreciate being able to come to a website that isn’t trying to pull them in 1,000 different directions. They’re like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible (a reference they’d probably appreciate). They’re on a mission, and your website should be designed in a way that helps them accomplish their mission.
Make Your Content Relevant and Insightful
Unlike Millennials, people in this generation will take their time in order to throughly research the answers they’re looking for. They’re more concerned with finding right answers than fast answers. With this being said, they are likely to take their time on your website if you’re offering them content they’re looking for. Unlike other generations, Gen Xers are more susceptible to actually reading paragraphs of text. If it has what their looking for, then they’ll read it.
So you have an audience who is up for reading, wow! But there’s a catch. Gen Xers aren’t going to waste their precious time just reading anything. They have kids who need to go to college and a house that needs to be paid off, they’re in the middle of the rat race! So if they’re taking their time to read your content, you need to make sure it’s relevant. Don’t worry about it sounding trendy and cool with a million intuitive graphics and photos flying around. Make your content concrete, honest and insightful. The people of Generation X are searching for answers, make sure your website actually gives it to them.
Keep it Simple
Generation X can manage technology better than Baby Boomers, but they pale in comparison to the tech savvy a Millennial flexes on a daily basis. They know their way around the internet, but not at the speed of someone younger. Gen Xers, especially those born earlier in this generational period aren’t going to know how to navigate a website with modern, complex design. You have to keep it simple. This is why Apple is so successful across all generations. They can appeal to experienced generations because their interface design is so mind numbly simple anyone can work their way around an iPhone or an iPad.
Channel this in your website design. A website can still look incredibly beautiful and appealing and still be simple, again look at Apple. When designing a website targeted for Generation X give them options to make their experience convenient. Examples could include a menu bar with straight forward options, blog filters for specific categories or even just a search bar.
Social Media Doesn’t Need to be Your First Priority, But it is still a Good Idea!
With Millennials getting so much attention today, one may think that integrating social media is a top priority when designing a website. While it can be assumed that every breathing Millennial uses social media, the same can’t be assumed for Generation X. They didn’t grow up with social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so if a Gen Xer has an account on any social media, they have probably created it in their adult life or don’t use it at all.
If this generation is your target market, then you don’t need to waste your time making sure your website is tied to all the different social media platforms. Instead, choose the one platform that they are likely to be on, and focus on connecting your website content to that one social media platform. Starting with Facebook is usually a safe bet, as it is probably the most widely used platform across all generations. If you are targeting a more professional Gen X audience, then LinkedIn is another social media platform to think about.
Who is Your Target Audience: is it Generation X?
If it is, then you are actually sitting at a really great position. Generation X are the ones who are opening their wallets for investments, for their children for their businesses. They’re ready to use your business to help them get answers or the job done, make sure your website helps them accomplish that. They are coming onto your website for straight forward information. They don’t need fancy graphics, catchy phrasing or you screaming at them to “like you on Facebook.” All they need is a good looking website, that’s easy to use with all the answers. Give them that and they will be loyal to your business for the days to come.