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Experience design for fun and profit: Follow the money (thoughts on who you should target/design for)

Designing for your future audience…doesn’t always mean the next 17 year old. I actually think, designing for the boomers is more interesting. Because boomers actually need a tighter, more restrictive set of design rules that you can apply to solve the problem for….but that’s another blog post. Or, maybe it’s because I’ve now spent the 23rd time reloading the Roku/Netflix connecting for my father and I really want some interface designer to get on board and make it easy for everyone involved to “get” how to make everything work together. But I digress…

Back to Boomers vs. those young whipper-snappers. Why boomers? Well, from a business perspective – two studies that have come out that start to frame who’s money you should follow. One from Gallup, which asked these questions –

Are you feeling pretty good these days about the amount of money you have to spend, or not?
Did you worry yesterday that you spent too much money, or not?
Would you be able right now to make a major purchase, such as a car, appliance, or furniture, or pay for a significant home repair if you needed to?

Across all three questions, Boomers tracked the most confident, most willing to spend. On the other side of the coin, a recent study by Fluent (digital agency, glad they did the survey, thank you) found that –

According to the study, only 19% of the over 1,000 college kids polled felt they had the money to meet expenses while 79% are more cost-conscious now than they were a year ago.

This isn’t the only study that points to younger generations more concerned about money. And while this isn’t that only stat that we should consider in making a business decision, looking at where the power to spend is, I would start thinking about how to create design experiences that motivate an older audience.

Money alone is not the only thing to consider for what audience you should design for…in 2012 a Pew study found that over 30% of boomers own a smartphone and 80% of them are online. This is point towards a mix of adoption and the means to spend.

So while I’ve seen the push to ‘design for the young’ (I wonder if that’s because design for the young is because designers are younger so easier to be empathetic with the audience or they are young and fear the old audience because that is their future…) design for the old may be more profitable.