Age Responsive Design
In early 2015, Google revealed a change to its algorithms, accommodating mobile friendly responsive website over desktop based browsing systems. Giving way to Responsive Web Design (RWD) and the ability for websites to adapt and adjust to the platform it’s used on. By optimising for the device, you not only make the experience more beneficial for the user, but your interaction rate will increase, leading to more enquiries and sales.
Now into 2017, it would seem the next trend is upon us, age responsive design. This will provide further optimisation and tailoring to web pages, allowing a more refined and smoother interaction for unique users.
Does Google know my age then?
To an extent yes. Google are able to store a number of your browser, this is achieved using cookies to remember your visits. Furthermore to this, alternative sites such as twitter and other social media may also provide Google with demographic information about yourself. This can then be embedded into what makes you, your preferences like and dislikes. This information can then transpire to what a website may look like. For example, an e-commerce website will be able to see which products appeal to certain age and genders, whilst music industries will be able to see what age and gender groups are interested in a particular artist.
For example, an e-commerce website will be able to see which products appeal to certain age and genders, whilst music industries will be able to see what age and gender groups are interested in a particular artist.
But this Technology already exists…
Yes. This form of tailoring to your unique users is not an unheard of idea. The gaming industry has focused it users experience (UX) in the form of dynamic game balancing (DGB). In this process, the game will automatically change limitations, situations, and behaviours within real time game. These modifications to the experience will be based on the player’s ability, in order to avoid making the player bored or frustrated at the difficulties.
This concept could, therefore, be transferred into user experience for the web and suit much wider user groups by appealing to their specific needs and requirements based on their age.
Allowing every unique user to feel perfect
However each user will have their own set of expectations when browsing the web, and age can play a huge role into how the experience online is received.
“Online advertising has already been tailoring its content to the specific interests of the user for quite some time, and soon sites will be doing just the same; an 8-year-old and an 80-year-old don’t read the same books or watch the same television, so why do they share the same online experience?” says Chase Buckley.
The aim for age responsive design is to condition how the site will looks, works and how the information is displayed to the user, as well as what they can do with that information. For much larger companies, to successfully appeal to all age groups they may have to create individual websites to accommodate the different generations. However for smaller businesses that what to appeal to a larger network of people, smaller, more subtle site adaptations can be made.
Hitting your Target audience
Here are a few examples of how Age Responsive Design could alter a website:
- Larger font | Smaller font sizes & Spacing – Reduced bulk text and larger fonts will appeal to younger users. Increased spacing for older generation users.
- Duller colours | Vibrant colour schemes – According to Chase Buckley, “younger visitors respond better to websites with brighter, saturated hues while older visitors prefer more muted palettes, like soft pastels.”
- Video Content | Text Content – This is a greater step for age responsive design, and could be crucial for the future. The ability to fine tune your audience and subject them to the information that will best suit them. For younger generations, an educational, informative video clip will have more appeal and merit than a large chunk of text. However, for an older person, the appeal of reading the content may provide a more conclusive overview of the information.
- Social Media | Conventional Communication – In a growing tech world it’s no secret that young people are glued to social media, and once online sharing posts and blogs is second nature. However to older generations the confusion this may create, could put them off the site altogether. By using more age subjective medias such as email may prove to be more beneficial.
- Expanded | Condensed Navigation Bars – For younger ages the difficulties faced by a navigation bar a little to none, however for older generations the prospect of a multi-functional site will be very stressful. The use of a bare-bones version, including only essentials for navigation and information delivery, would prove to be easier for them to interact with and better suit their requirements.
Overall, age responsive design is a very new concept when it comes to web design, with a huge amount of potential for both large multinational companies and SME’s alike. It’s safe to say we are looking forward to where this will take off to.