UX challenges in designing for Millennials

Millennials and a lot of ways are just like most other users, but they are currently the largest generation in the American workforce. They’re in their twenties to thirties right now, which means they’re completing their education, beginning their careers, moving up in those careers and they’re starting families.

So they’re going to be a very important group to many organizations. And while millennials are humans, just like any other user, they do have some special tendencies and characteristics. A lot of that is due to the fact that this is the first generation in which many of its members were children when personal and household Internet use became more mainstream in the late 1990s. This has shaped their expectations and their preferences when they use digital interfaces, for example, millennials tend to be really confident in their own abilities to use digital products. That doesn’t mean that all millennials are tech experts, and that’s a misconception. You’ll see variations in that generation, just like other generations. But unlike older generations, when something doesn’t go right and something goes wrong in a product, we see that millennials are much faster to criticize the interface rather than blame themselves. We also see that millennials are conscious of the fact that there’s a designer behind the screen, there’s someone on the other side of the screen building the UI. So when your UI doesn’t live up to millennials high expectations, they’re not only going to criticize the website, but they’re going to make comments about the organization behind the website as well.

The user experience field is constantly growing, companies are investing more into making their applications and websites more user centered, and that has led to a high demand for U.S. professionals when it comes to hiring for these roles. Let’s break down how we can adjust our future postings to better meet our needs. I put together a word cloud of 15 different UX designer job descriptions, which shows the most common words used among all of them. There are some obvious words that came up as the largest, such as user experience and design. Then there are words related to specialties that come up, including research, usability, visual and web if you’re writing a job description as a hiring or use manager. Consider if you’re looking for a generalist or specialist. If you’re looking for a generalist, you’ll end up getting a lot of different types of designers applying for this job. Whereas if you make your job description more specific to a specialist, you will get applicants with a narrower set of skills.

You may want to do this if you’re specifically looking for a visual designer or a researcher that spends most or all of their time focusing on that specific area. Some examples of more specific job titles are UX researcher, usability analyst, information architect, interaction designer or visual designer. Another large word that came up is Team UX designers are working on a variety of teams, whether they’re focused in development, design or business needs. Be clear in your job descriptions about where you want your U.S. designer to be focused. Something you might notice about the word cloud is the absence of specific tools or software mentioned. What that can tell us is that there is no one correct tool that every UX designer needs to use with the increasing number of tools available, whether it’s professional and free software or whiteboards and Post-it notes, U.S. designers aren’t tied down and can choose whichever tool best fits the task rather than requiring specific tools in your job descriptions. Give suggestions of tools or software you’re familiar with, but don’t make it a hard requirement. With the variety of skill sets and backgrounds that UX designers have, we have to tailor our job descriptions to help us find the candidate we’re really looking for. What do your job descriptions tell potential candidates about who you’re looking for?

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