Web Design With the Focus on the Target Audience

Features of the interface for different age categories

Rick Mess       |       August 28, 2020

Our clients often ask us to make a website or application in the style they like and show examples that attracted them. “We want the same,” they say. We are happy when the client knows what they want. Usually, we ask them to show examples of sites that they like. On the other hand, there is substantial risk in such an approach. Why so, what is the risk?

The answer isn’t hard to plumb — each target audience requires a special design. Just because you like the site doesn’t mean it will appeal to your audience. For example, a client likes a bright landing page with 3D motion effects, and their business provides medical services. The design they choose will be inappropriate and lead to loss of target audience and low conversions. This is an obvious example, but there are far less obvious ones. Designers and developers often have to maneuver between the intention to satisfy the client and the understanding that the implementation of their idea won’t benefit their site.

It’s impossible to please everyone

There is not a single person or object that everyone likes. However, it’s possible to become liked by a fairly large number of people, if you get to know them better.

The core of the target audience usually consists of people in a certain age range. Members of the same generation have similar values, beliefs and expectations, shopping preferences and motivations, and similar consumer experiences as well.

Let’s see how the age of users affects user interface design.

Why exactly age?

Every 20–25 years people are born, whose worldview, goals and lifestyle are radically different from their predecessors. Understanding this helps you find an individual approach to different user groups.

The age of users is the initial parameter that should be considered when designing an interface. It’s better to start exactly with it before segmenting the target audience into groups by other criteria (gender, income, professional status, residence, family status, etc.)

1. Children (Generation Alpha, 2010–2020)

These are the grandchildren of millennials, tomorrow’s users and customers, and the future belongs to them.

According to the Ofcom statistics, by the age of two, 90% of today’s children have minimal skills in using a smartphone and tablet. By the age of five, every second child has a personal gadget. Many are quite independent in their choice of content.

When designing an interface, developers shouldn’t draw parallels with their childhood. This is a completely different generation! The virtual world for modern children is equal to the real one. They don’t just play, study and communicate there, they live in it!

Alpha kids love applications with special effects, funny and absurd videos, horror games, and stories. They enjoy creating content themselves using different tools, constructing characters, and making up stories with them. Children post vlogs and make money. They have accounts on social networks almost from birth.

Websites and applications for children have simple navigation, bright clear colors, characters from different universes, music, animation, gamification. Children need not only games but also opportunities for creativity. Design for children is of critical importance and should respond to the specifics of each age group. (Ages of 4 and 5 years aren’t the same!)

Features of the interface for children:

2. Generation Z or Zoomers (2000–2015)

This generation cannot imagine life without the Internet and is called the first digital generation. Uses all kinds of gadgets, VR, and 3D reality. It’s a generation of active consumers, whose share of online purchases is over 30%.

Major part of Generation Z are teenagers, so we’ll focus on this category of users.

Websites and apps for teenagers should be simple enough and not overloaded with elements, since teenagers are easily distracted and lack the patience of adults and their reading speed. Teenagers have no experience in formulating search requests. Slow website loading speeds and pop-ups are more annoying to them than to adults.

Features of the interface for teenagers:

3. Generation Y or Millennials (1980–2000)

This generation is very social and has high requirements for digital products. Millennials love to figure things out on their own, they are always ready for dialogue. They’re critical, meticulous, tend to read comments, product reviews, and look for cheaper products. They demand evidences and grounds. Millennials use search and tabs a lot. They use the phone more than the computer. According to researches, they don’t really like animation and sound effects, they ignore ads. They are severe upon design aesthetics. They use applications almost twice as often as members of other groups.

Millennials are ideological people, they cannot be captivated only by a beautiful picture or a focus on profit. They are fans of idea-driven brands and real values, but it’s difficult to keep them engaged. Understanding the psychology of millennials is the key to the highest conversions.

Millennials are the most active online shoppers.

Features of the interface for millennials:

4. Generation Х (1960–1980)

This age group is not as advanced users as millennials, which should be considered when designing the interface. They prefer desktop computers. As usual, these people are practical, they need an unobstructed path to the goal and the absence of visual interference in the form of pop-ups, sidebars, and intrusive ads. Generation X people like to search for useful information about their specialty or specific interests. They love to read and don’t mind long texts, not overloaded with images. They like the design that evokes a sense of calm and stability.

Features of the interface for generation X:

5. Baby boomers (1940–1960)

These are the grandparents of millennials. The main value of this generation is family. It’s a mistake to write baby boomers off — they are interested in the life of their children and grandchildren on social networks, have financial resources, travel, and aspire to help their families. There are more women among them than men. Baby boomers don’t tend to subscribe to brands (14%), but after subscribing they become the most loyal customers. Only 12% of them shop online. Facebook and email are preferred for communication. The usage of desktops and laptops by this generation reaches 80%. Functions that are obvious to most users require explanation. The developer’s job is to help the users of this group feel confident.

Features of the interface for baby boomers:


Of course, the age group is not the only thing that determines the features of the interface. This segregation is conditional and generalized. There are no fixed boundaries between generations, there are transpositional variations as well. Nevertheless, such segregation into age groups is convenient for forming a general idea and initial concept of the project.

Taking into account the worldview and values ​​of a certain age group, it’s much easier to create portraits of users, to define their goals and needs. It means developing a user-friendly interface with a unique design that will surely appeal to users.