Tuesday, April 08, 2008

the age of your web users matters

A hat tip to our pal Jay Collier, web communications manager at Bates College and a college pal of ours who's now a Facebook pal, for sharing this study of age differences in how people use the Web, including response times. It's just another reminder to segment your audiences, and to consider your website/blog/Facebook page based on how people of different age groups might approach it. The following description of how the generational shift of Web usage will unfold caught our eye. It says we should pay attention to:
....the age at which people started using the Web. Because the Web is relatively new, a 50-year-old might have started using it at age 40, whereas a 30-year-old might have started at age 20. In contrast, by 2050, a 50-year-old will have used the Web since age 5, and thus benefit from 45 years of experience. A 30-year-old user in 2050 will have only 25 years' Web experience. This added experience might eventually allow older users to catch up and somewhat reduce the 0.8% gap. Although we obviously can't predict the future, my guess is that the age penalty will drop to around 0.5%/year. Still, this doesn't matter much for your Web strategy over the next 10 years: the 0.8% level is where we're at and where we'll remain for some time.
What are your assumptions about your website's users? Put them to the age test, and stand ready to revise as our collective knowledge grows.

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