Jakob Nielsen just published a study on designing for teenagers (“Teenage Usability: Designing Teen-Targeted Websites”).
The great thing about doing a real survey is that it often refutes a lot of the stereotypes that we tend to throw around. In the context of Ponzu, the misleading stereotypes are;
- are supremely tech savvy,
- use smartphones for everything, and
- want everything to be social.
In fact, it turns out that task success rate is worse for teens mainly due to lack of patience, but also due to insufficient reading skills and less sophisticated research strategies.
Lack of patience also means that a slow website is a disaster for teens. Websites have to be fast.
Teens also want more control of social aspects and sharing information. Ponzu integrates social network features into the conference system, but we should be aware that even young people do not necessarily want to share information.
Another interesting finding is that teenagers dislike tiny font sizes as much as adults do.
My takeaways are;
- Don’t use small fonts except where small print is expected.
- Pay attention to navigation.
- Make the website fast, even when the network connection is bad (using local caching strategies).
- Don’t force sharing unless we really need to.