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Feb 27, 2020

Designing Your Website The Millennial Way

What's Inside

Millennials are probably the most talked-about generation today. 

Whether it is their entitled behavior or how their obsession with “Avocados” is keeping them from buying a house– baby boomers and Gen x-ers have a lot to say about them. But no matter how controversial the generation gets, not considering millennials and their demands when designing a business website is going to be business suicide.

But, before we get into the nitty-gritty of millennial demands and how you are going to fulfill them through web design strategy, let’s look at who millennials really are and why you should be paying attention to them. 

The Elusive Millennials: Why Are They?

To make your website Millennials friendly, you have to first find out who millennials are. 

three persons sitting on the stairs talking with each other

Well, according to the report of the Pew research center, most millennials were born between 1981 to 1996, but the people born between 1980 to 2000 are considered to be millennials.

What defines this generation is the fact that they have seen the rapid transformation in the technological scenario of the world. Whether we are talking about CRT television to Flat screen LED television, or shopping from small family-owned shops to departmental stores to online shopping, the millennials have seen it all. 

And that’s why it is not exactly easy to trick the millennials. The rapid digital transformation has made them quite aware of what works and what doesn’t, as well as what they exactly need. You need to be paying enough attention to the generation if you want your business to succeed. Want detailed reasons? Follow on to the next point. 

Why You Should Be Paying Attention To Them?

What makes the millennial generation so important for your web design efforts?

The first and foremost reason is the fact that right now, Millennials are entering the prime of their age. People from ages 18 to 34 are dominating the market and changing it with spending habits that are different than the generations that came before them.

Here are three reasons why you should be paying more attention to millennials in your web designing and branding efforts. 

  • Right now millennials make up three-quarters of the entire US population at 83.1 million people
  • According to the study, the average millennial expenditure per year is $47,112. In the US every year millennials altogether are spending $600 billion. 
web design for millennials
Source: Lexingtonlaw.com
  • Millennials are not impressed by advertisements anymore. According to statistics, 84% of millennials do not trust traditional advertising campaign by various brands and companies. When it comes to purchasing any products or services, they turn to their family and friends, and online reviews to get suggestions and judge the value of the product. 

The new thinking and purchasing habits of the millennials have changed the market scenario entirely. And that’s why following the traditional branding and web designing practices are not going to work anymore. You have to first determine the millennial demands when it comes to a product/service website’s design and functionality and then optimize the design accordingly. 

Meeting Millennial Demands With Web Design

Now that we know why millennials are important to the overall success of your business, we can come down to the core topic of this entire article- designing a website for millennials. 

Different from their previous generation, millennials are quite picky when it comes to choosing a product. As the information age generation, they have spent their formative years cruising through the nooks and crannies of the online world. Which kind of makes them experts in all things online. 

Your website is going to be your business representative online. And if you want to appeal to this tech-savvy/online-expert generation, you have to follow their rules and design a website that matches their standards. 

So what are their demands from a website exactly?

How do you design a website that’ll match their expectations?

Let’s take a look at millennial demands and how you need to design your websites according to that. 

1. Responsive Web Design Strategies: A Must-have

93% of millennials between the ages of 23 to 38 own a smartphone and use it every day to perform various kinds of tasks, such as shopping online, browsing social media and conducting research before buying something. So it is kind of obvious that millennial users are looking for a mobile-friendly experience any kind of website they visit. 

web design for millennials
Source: https://dribbble.com/shots/5336682-Ecommerce-Website-Design/attachments/1157439

Besides the fact that Google is now rewarding mobile-friendly websites with a better ranking, the millennial demand should also be another reason for you to make your website mobile-friendly. Until the 3rd quarter of 2019, mobile website traffic amounted up to 51.51%, which is more than half of the web traffic globally. 

web design for millennials
Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/277125/share-of-website-traffic-coming-from-mobile-devices/

So if you want your website to appeal to the millennial crowd, design your website with responsive web design strategies. Not only is it going to please the millennial users, but it also gets you better ranking on SERPs. 

2. Self-service Option For “Do-It-Yourselvers”

Millennials are known for being the “in-control” generation, whether it is a simple DIY task or a website related query. Contacting customer service is the last thing on their mind when faced with some kind of problem, and they absolutely loathe being put on hold when finally calling customer service. 

web design for millennials
Source: https://www.awwwards.com/inspiration/faq-integrated-podiatry-clinic

To please this ‘‘in-control” generation, you need to integrate your website with self-service features. Resources such as detailed FAQs, discussion forums for sharing various problems and their solutions, as well as blogs and articles for self-help tutorials, can help you to make your website a self-servicing one. This way your website will be more in tune with the millennial DIY attitude. 

3. Social Media Contact = Getting Popular

Millennials saw the emergence of social media, and they are still riding that wave till now. From Orkut, and Myspace of the bygone era to today’s Instagram and Snapchat, millennials have seen it all. For them, social media platforms are the perfect way to connect with both people and brands, discover things that help them to enhance the quality of life. They are also more vocal on social media, expressing their views on various matters.

unified infotech footer
Source: https://www.unifiedinfotech.net/

So if you want to become popular among millennials, you have to integrate a way for them to connect with you on social media when designing the website. Being able to connect with you from their social media accounts will not only increase your popularity but also better your chances of getting discovered by more potential users. 

4. Rewards In Exchange For Loyalty

Despite the claims about how millennials are not at all the “brand-loyal” generation, like their predecessors, many brands and products have gained their loyalty. The challenge is not about gaining the millennial loyalty and approval, it is about how you are going to get that. 

web design for millennials
Source: https://www.starbucks.com/rewards/

Traditional loyalty programs such as “100th customer of the day” or stacking up loyalty points by spending more on a product doesn’t work on millennials anymore. In order to gain millennial loyalty, you need to integrate unique and new kinds of incentive programs that bring value to them. Whether it is paid subscription for premium features, or various offers, benefits, and discounts with added value, incentive programs that actually care about the user needs is important to gain the loyalty of the millennial clients. 

5. Connect Better With Storytelling

Millennials want to engage with a product or service they feel connected with. And not just the millennial customer, but almost every generation today want to feel connected with the product, and the best way for you to do that is through integrating storytelling techniques in your website design. 

It might seem like just another buzzword, but the power of storytelling to build the trust of the user is undeniable. Take the above example. Bellroy is a popular company making all sorts of handbags and wallets. On their homepage, through the story like a comparison of two wallets, they clearly convey what they do and what their product is all about. 

Whether you are doing it by integrating meaningful images on the website, or through texts and articles, ensure that your website does not just display a bunch of relevant texts and images to the user, rather actually speaks to them about shared experience, interests and values. 

6. Break The Design Stereotypes

If there’s another thing the millennials are famous for, it is breaking stereotypes. They are the generation that started to break the glass ceiling, and they would appreciate it if your website’s design does the same. 

break the streotype in your web design
Source: Globalxplorer.org

The website for Global Xplorer is the perfect example of breaking design stereotypes. Unlike most websites like this, Global Explorers use a block-like design to p[artually display the people of different cultures. This way they convey the powerful message of how till now we have only taken a brief peek at what these people and cultures represented. 

So before you think of a design interface, take a good look at your competitors in the same industry, and note down the similar elements on their websites, elements that seem cliche and stereotypical to your industry. And while designing make sure that you don’t include those elements on your website. 

7. Combine Aesthetic With Functionality

When designing your website, you will be tempted to make it look pretty, despite the lack of functionalism. And of course, a website that’s aesthetically pleasing is always popular with the crowd. But not when it comes to the Millennials. 

The website for Woven magazine has integrated both the aesthetic transitions of images and functionality of the navigation. Millennials are fond of functionalism that comes in an aesthetically pleasing package. Which is why you have to design a website that comes with both functionality and looks good. Every element that you use on the website should have a part in enhancing the user experience. 

8. Speed Up The Experience

This is not just a millennial specific matter, but yes it is important. Everyone loves a site that’s fast loading and does not drag on the experience. Users today especially millennials have a short span of attention, which can be diverted from your website if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds or less.

So how are you going to make your website performance fast and snappy? There are plenty of ways, such as using compressed images and videos, caching, and removing the unnecessary line breaks and spaces from JavaScript and CSS codes. Find out the best way for you to speed up the website, cause millennials absolutely hate anything slow, especially a website. 

9. Don’t Go To The UI/UX Dark Side

If you are not aware, then you should know that UI/UX dark pattern is shady website design practices that make the site user interact with a website in ways they didn’t want to. 

With dark patterns, it’s extremely easy to get site visitors to click on a CTA, get their mail address as well as the payment address. But when it comes to millennials, using UI/UX dark patterns is going to be like killing your website with your own hands. 

bad UX
Source: dafont.com

The advertisement of the Dafont website displays advertisements that look like a part of the original website until you spot the tiny cross sign. Practicing this kind of dark UI/UX design patterns is going to make your website blacklisted for almost all millennial users. 

It is already extremely hard to gain the trust of the millennial crowd since they are already a well-researched generation who take everything with a pinch of salt. So if you are targeting a millennial audience, then forego of the shady navigational queues and multiple confusing CTAs. whether you are working with a web development company or have an in-house designing team, make sure that the website is designed with a transparent policy, and without any shady UI/UX patterns. 

10. Stand Up For Something

Millennials didn’t just grow up in a rapidly changing technological landscape, but also during a rapidly changing socio-political-economic scenario. This has made them more outspoken and passionate about various social causes. 

According to the study conducted by Harris Interactive, Millennials are more prone to take a company’s stand of various social issues into consideration before even interacting with them. 70% of millennials would not mind making a personal sacrifice, such as paying more for a product if the company happens to support a social cause they are passionate about. 

stand up for something
Source: https://www.jnj.com/caring

And that’s why getting the millennials to interact with your website, you have to show them that you are not only passionate about social issues but also trying to make an impact with your website. When designing the website, define your product and how it is making a positive impact on the social landscape of the world. 

11. Keep It (the Content) Light And Breezy

One of the many complaints against the millennial generation is the fact that they are informal. They would rather wear the casual outfit to work every day and call everyone by their first names rather than Mr. This or Miss. that. 

However, infuriating this millennial tendency is for many out there, it is only because millennials want to shed the excess of action and get to the core of the matter as soon as possible. They want to get up close and personal with issues they are dealing with and don’t like to waste time with formalities. 

And that’s why when designing your website content for millennials, you need to be more direct. Don’t use a lot of formalities and beat around the bush. Keep it light, interesting and fresh (authentic). 

keep website light and breezy
Source: https://www.canva.com/

Canva keeps its content light and informal from the sign-in page. The tone of their content from the beginning is light and informal, creating a sense of acquaintance from the beginning. Another benefit of keeping the content simple is that it becomes easily scannable, helping to capture the attention of the users. 

And last but not the least, don’t “tell” them what they should be deriving from the content. Present all the authentic data and content to them, and gently guide them towards the conclusion you want them to achieve, rather than telling them. It’ll go a long way to earn their trust for your business.

Wrapping It Up!

So far millennials have proven to be the elusive generation, hard to understand yet with simple demands, working smartly, yet thought of as lazy and overly dependent on technology. No matter where you stand on the whole millennials generation debate, you can not ignore the fact that they are the most important people to reach out to if you want your business to be a success. 

Designing a website based on the millennial need is going to make sure that you create a lifelong relationship with them. Even though it is going to be hard to earn the millennial trust, once you earn it, it’ll never lose trust. To optimize your web design strategy, and include the millennials in the loop. 

Pratip Biswas

Pratip Biswas

Founder, Unified Infotech

I am an Entrepreneur and a Tech Geek with more than 1500 successful projects launched. I share my experience through my love for writing and help other entrepreneurs reach their business goals.

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