It seems like Generation Y is finally on the road to recovery from the economic fallout of the Great Recession. This increase in buying power is driving companies to try and cater more to the millennial audience with their brands, content, products, and services.
The aforementioned trend is especially prevalent in the digital realm. Millennials spend 8 hours a day online on average, which makes them ideal targets for businesses that earn their profits on the internet.
Companies that wish to tap into the millennial market have to take special care with the way their websites are designed. Millennials are ‘digital natives’, and they won’t stand for designs trends that were acceptable to less tech-savvy generations.
To create a website that appeals to the millennial crowd, one ought to follow certain guidelines that were proven to work well in recent years. To find out more on the topic, go ahead and check out the rest of our guide below.
If there is one thing everyone can agree on regarding millennials, it is that they use mobile phones a whole lot. And according to statistics, a significant portion of this time is spent on browsing the web. If we put two and to together, we will come to an obvious conclusion – a website aimed at millennials should be built with mobile browsing in mind.
So what makes a website mobile-friendly? Implementing the following practices is a good place to start:
- having the same core content on both desktop and mobile versions of the site, to avoid confusion
- making the website interface tap- and swipe-friendly
- using grids and breakpoints that scale well on mobile screens of different sizes
- reducing the layers of navigation needed to comfortably browse the site
Millennials are habitual internet users, and they like it when websites adhere to certain standards when it comes to browsing comfort. And if there is one browsing-related nuisance they will not tolerate, it is slow page loading speed. If your website is not designed with speed in mind, millennials won’t hesitate to go someplace else. Fast.
In order to optimize your website for speed, try out some of the following techniques:
- minify your HTML code in order to reduce decrease page size
- use a CDN to deliver content more efficiently
- use image formats like JPEG instead BMP to reduce image size
- minimize the use of page redirects when serving content
Social responsibility is high on the priority-list for millennials. If a particular brand comes to be associated with practices that are offensive, harmful to the environment, or otherwise exploitative, millennials will start to avoid it en masse. Conversely, a brand that is known for being in line with causes that millennials approve of, is much more likely to attract a loyal following.
When doing branding for a website aimed at millennials, incorporating some of the following ideas is bound to bring good results:
- championing causes like sustainable development, environmental awareness, and social justice for the underprivileged
- distancing oneself from exploitative practices such as invasive data mining
- donating a share of the profits back to the community
Striking Color Palette
Older generations of internet users preferred websites that had a more subdued, utilitarian color scheme. Once millennials became the dominant internet crowd, this trend was quickly replaced by one that favored more creative uses of color. This preference for a more varied color palette has allowed website design companies to really flex their creative muscles, and create websites that resemble miniature works of art.
When trying to find the right color scheme for your website, be sure to:
- choose a dominant color that matches your brand
- find the appropriate complementary colors to go along with your main color
- tactically distribute color across different web page elements
As the generation with the highest average level of literacy, millennials have a keen for typography. Web designers are taking advantage of this fact by experimenting with typefaces of different shapes and sizes, to find those that best complement the visual theme of a given website.
Some recent trends in typography that web designers should get acquainted with include:
- using letter spacing for filling dead space, aligning text, or condensing words that take up too much space
- using large letters, contrasting sans serif and serif headings to keep visitors engaged while reading
- using bold typefaces to give personality to text, reducing reliance on images as the main design elements
As browser technology progresses, more and more web designers are moving away from static images in order to find new ways of engaging site visitors through visuals. The use of animation in web design has been particularly fruitful in this respect, especially when millennials are the target audience for a website.
Animations are commonly being used for:
- making users feel like they are manipulating an interface by providing feedback for their actions
- communicating ideas, concepts, and processes while making content more engaging for users
- conveying which elements of a web page are interactive
Millennials spend a lot of time online, which means they’ve seen a large number of generic, template-based websites. This makes them put a high premium on unique visual content. Stock images simply don’t have what it takes to stand out as far as millennials are concerned, which drives the need for using custom-designed visuals.
There are many ways in which custom visuals can enhance a website:
- they can help create a visual language which can enhance the personality of a website
- they can lend personality and warmth to websites which might otherwise feel cold and corporate
- they can be used for attracting and keeping user attention more effectively than plain text
Millennials are on the fast track to becoming the dominant social force on the web. This makes catering to their needs and preferences a solid strategy for future proofing your website.