Do older generations prefer a different design style?

over 6 years ago from , laurenholliday.com

I am aware this is probably a silly question, but I'm not totally sure so I'm asking the professionals.

My boss says my designs are too "millennial."

But I've never thought of designing for millennials. I always think of designing for the user, and I maybe wrongly assumed every generation likes UIs that look nice and are easy to use.

But maybe I splash a little too much color or something?? I don't know.

I understand psychographics, but I was just wondering if I'm missing something and I should be designing differently for baby boomers, per se.

Please help!


Lauren =)


  • Joe Baker, over 6 years ago

    Could this possibly be blog bait?

    There's a lot of emphasis that you write over on hackthejobhunt.com, the salesy edgey copy confirms this, and you even put emphasis on the fact you are a millennial...

    "I went from college dropout waitress to top 1% of Millennials in 6 months. Now, I want to help you do the same."

    You clearly have an opinion to draw from based on your generation alone and this post feels like your just getting some outside opinions to help write your next "Word on the street is… Millennials can't design - fuck that"

    If you're qualified enough to be running online courses, I would imagine you are capable of opening a book and noticing trends change over time.

    • Another Millennial scratching his head
    18 points
    • Ryan CarterRyan Carter, over 6 years ago

      Well now I'm curious as to what it entails to be in the "top 1% of Millennials."

      5 points
      • Account deleted over 6 years ago

        Simple. Be better than the 99% below you in every aspect of life. You are part of LoGang, Team 10 and #hustle like Gary V. If you have to ask, you'll never know. ;-)

        2 points
  • Mike Wilson, over 6 years ago

    We're gonna need a screenshot of the design in question for further diagnosis. But it sounds like maybe a wierd way of saying the work in question is off-brand for its particular purpose.

    edit just went to hackthejobhunt.com. Can confirm, super millennial...haha

    For example, if you were working on a project for a regional bank with an average customer age of 45, it would be off brand use a playful serif with neon images of young people and a headline like "Banks fucking suck. Join ours. It's not shit." The 45 year old customer wouldn't respond favorably to the tone of that visual design and copy voice.

    13 points
    • Aaron Wears Many HatsAaron Wears Many Hats, over 6 years ago

      No one responds well to that style of copy voice - it's demeaning and belittling. And to those that don't feel belittled, you make them think you're pretentious.

      15 points
    • Albert FreemanAlbert Freeman, over 6 years ago

      I went to the site and my first thought was: is this some sort of fashion zine? I don't know if it's millennial or not, but it certainly doesn't say "job hunting" to me.

      Perhaps I am getting old.

      6 points
    • Lauren Holliday, over 6 years ago

      Hi Mike!

      Hackthejobhunt.com was a site for millennials. I was targeting millennials, and it was a fun side-project for me.

      I was selling me in a sense because I'm the teacher so I wanted to show off my personality.

      As for this other site in question.

      This is the site: https://goskills.com.

      Our audience is segmented nearly half/half -- millennials and older generations.

      She said that in response to an email design I used. (I never curse in clients content -- that was for my site only).

      I always think about the user first, and myself second -- unless it's a project for me for fun.

      Because the site (goskills) is a course site with different categories, it seems to make sense to use different colors to differentiate so I used those different colors in the email to signal people to get used to seeing a certain color and knowing they are in their topic of interest.

      Lauren =)

      1 point
  • Andrew-David JahchanAndrew-David Jahchan, over 6 years ago

    I've never heard anyone describe any kind of design work as "millennial", but I'd imagine that they're the kind of people who prefer their sites to look like this:



    Maybe we should start describing these as "baby boomer designs" instead of "old and outdated designs"?

    6 points
    • Seth RSeth R, over 6 years ago

      I get the same response from people that would favor this style of site. It's amazing because they almost always have iPhones so one would think they would understand the value in something with modern craft.

      1 point
  • Johannes IppenJohannes Ippen, over 6 years ago

    Of course they do!

    See, different people have different mental models and different expectations from the products they interact with. These mental models form as a result of everything people have experienced in their live, all products they have interacted with and certain connections they have made.

    If a user has lived and interacted with web products and brands in the early 2000s, they have certain expectations of where a navigation has to be placed, what colors reflect what values (e.g. navy blue = serious, trusty) and what a fold is.

    The trick in creating good and timeless designs lies in two factors: Research and Education:

    Research who your audience is. Do they skew younger? Are they expecting a more serious tonality? What other products do they interact with? What is their favourite brands? Personas are a super-useful tool to do that. When you know who your audience is, you can make more confident design decisions.

    Educate your stakeholders about why you make the decisions you make. What does the yellow highlights stand for? Why did you choose this typeface over Verdana? Why doesn't everything have to be above the fold? Why is the tonality of the copy as it is? What do actual users expect?

    As designers, we make a lot of conscious decisions every day. We need to be able to defend these, being held accountable and underline what responsibility design plays in the overall product.

    5 points
  • Paul ArmstrongPaul Armstrong, over 6 years ago

    As a resident old guy (45yo, 20+ years in the design business), I'll say this seems a very misguided or at the very least, flippant response to call a design "millennial".

    All design ought to first understand it's audience and then communicate in a visual language that reinforces the product/service message to the audience in the most resonant way possible.

    Perhaps what your boss was saying was that your design isn't communicating to your intended audience (of course I don't know the audience, the goals or mission of the product/service, nor the design solution you provided).

    4 points
  • Aaron Wears Many HatsAaron Wears Many Hats, over 6 years ago

    I'd be interested to see some examples of work which have been rejected by your employer.

    Going by your personal site, I can imagine there may be a theme to it, as mentioned by Mike Wilson below. You have to design for the end-user, not for yourself, and not for the client really.

    If you're trying to push your opinions on design above theirs, you need to provide case studies and justification for why you feel your design works. If you're trying to break conventions because of trends, you need to be able to explain why.

    You also should tone down the quasi-pretentious copy. I'm not trying to be mean with that - I honestly feel the current trend of 'hey look at me and fuck everything else' is doing nothing positive for this industry. You're creating a positive echo-chamber for people in the same demographic as you, and alienating the vast majority of others.

    (Plus, the "top 1% of millenials thing is a bit silly imo, but I do understand what you're trying to promote there. But you can alternatively move to Australia with zero qualifications and earn $160,000+/year driving dump trucks. Just sayin' ).

    I think primarily you might need to do a little more background research on the clients you're developing work for. Suss out their target audience/demographic, see what the competition is doing, and provide examples of good solutions to problems. Once you've done that, and you're still being told your designs aren't what they expect, maybe it's time to pull up the anchor and move on.

    4 points
  • Adam Karpisz, over 6 years ago

    Story time: I was working on a big e-commerce project targeting "older" users (35+, mostly blue-collar), during the research phase one thing kept coming up - It's not about a specific style, it's more about "the changes". Older users seem to want more of the same. More of what they know. We had problems while implementing a new UI or flows, so we took a step back and tried to understand what is the problem. It was not only the overall change in the look of the site, it was the unfamiliarity. And they gave up very quickly. So ultimately it was not the design itself, it was the implementation. Instead of a big rebrand that was planned, we cut the redesign up into smaller chunks and fed them one by one, giving the users time to adjust and get familiar.

    Craigslist looks like it always looked just for that reason ;)

    So in terms of designing for baby boomers, I would say "stick with what they know" and build on that, step-by-step.

    3 points
  • Account deleted over 6 years ago

    To some degree yes, you should be designing different to retired people if the service or product is catered to them. There are marketing and design agencies that do nothing but work for this demographic. Nobody says you have to make your work look like 2001 all over again, but restraint from using trendy things like gradients, grey fonts etc is probably a good idea.

    It sounds though the issue is more that your boss can't communicate to you in a way to constructively review your work - to help develop the finished product to where either he has a vision it should be - or what he know is expected by the client (or his boss).

    Telling you "it looks too millennial" isn't helping anyone. Maybe ask him/her for examples - of sites that are millennial... and sites where he thinks skew closer to the ideal he has in mind. Try to establish a shorthand between you two so when he says something like "too millennial" you know it means "fonts too small and get rid of the gradients".

    2 points
  • Andrew Hersh, over 6 years ago

    "Look how edgy I am" is millennial, because that is the current crop of human beings currently in that infantile stage of development.

    2 points
  • Account deleted over 6 years ago

    Is there a main target audience for your designs?

    Whats the type of product your designing for? If you've considered those, then I'm sure you are on the right track.

    Personally I don't buy the "millennial design" idea. Im sure there are millions of non millennials using sites and services that have been designed with a forward thinking mindset and what your boss considers as "millennial".

    Maybe ask your boss to explain in more depth? It may be that he himself doesn't have a good understanding of design and he is just looking at the visual aesthetic as opposed to the layout and usability.

    2 points
  • Matt Lewis, over 6 years ago

    If it works in IE7 it's not 'millennial'

    1 point
  • Clarke HyrneClarke Hyrne, over 6 years ago

    "I maybe wrongly assumed every generation likes UIs that look nice and are easy to use."

    Those mean different things to different people. Like the buttons on your website: they look nice, but they barely pass a squint test (and the hover effect is practically unreadable); same with the "email me" links on the grey background like on your Visuals page.

    Is this an example of "millennial" design? Not as much as someone using Instagram-y gradient maps or super saturated duotone images like Spotify. I'd just call this ineffective because of poor contrast on important CTAs.

    Without knowing much more, it's possibly your boss's indirect way of saying he or she thinks your work won't work for your audience/users (perhaps because it would look unfamiliar compared to the other websites they use). Still, the way they said it wasn't constructive. What are some themes that have come up in critiques/reviews? And what did you say/ask when your boss called it "millennial"?

    P.S., there are plenty of changes to vision that come with age. If you start working within a heavily regulated industry, it'll be helpful to brush up on them.

    1 point
  • Conner Sinclair, over 6 years ago

    As also being a 'Millennial' I find myself in the same situation sometimes. However, if there is one thing I've learnt over time is my own arrogance almost ruined me as a designer. Be open to what the older generation have to say. Also don't let the arrogance of knowing you're in the top 1% stray you away from learning from your peers.

    0 points
  • Seth RSeth R, over 6 years ago

    I get the same thing! Not a drum question at all!

    0 points
  • Diego LafuenteDiego Lafuente, over 6 years ago

    I love flat and minimal. I enjoy other styles when they fit into the solution.

    0 points