07 Feb 2013, 21:09

Teens on the web

You may think that youger people up to GenY are expert of websites but indeed they are not according to a recent research from Jakob Nielsen on teenagers : Teenage usability : Designing teen targeted websites.

Summary :

Teens are (over)confident in their web abilities, but they perform worse than adults. Lower reading levels, impatience, and undeveloped research skills reduce teens’ task success and require simple, relatable sites.

They perform less than adults (83% vs 71% on test series) for 3 main reasons but they improve over the year (+16 points from 55% to 71%)

  • Insufficient reading skills
  • Less sophisticated research strategies
  • Dramatically lower levels of patience

So guidelines would be :

  • Write well in length (teens don"t like to read a lot but I don"t think they're the only ones...) but also make it visual and illustrated to ease understanding and also easy to scan. Small sized content are also rejected (as much as adults do)
  • Avoind boring content & entertainment overload ; you have to find the right balance and gamification is a way to manage teens' attention and go through a process.
  • Be web-performant : too slow or too buggy websites are rejected.
  • Don"t be too chilidish in your sentence to avoid rejection and adopt a proper tone.
  • Ease social sharing but don't force it ; they also care more about privacy that you may think
  • Think about small screen access and limited ergonomics : they do visite site on a laptop using their trackpad when being on their couch, meaning that the resolution must be adapted to their screen and that they cannot do high precision tasks.

A kind of summay about usage depending on ages :


So now you can define your next web strategy based on such assesment.