Designing Web Sites For Teens

February 15, 2005 by

Not all teens are techno-geniuses, according to the latest study from usability guru Jakob Nielsen. Youth workers designing sites for teens should pay attention to the results:

Design – While teens do pay more attention to a site’s design than adults do, they tend to like clean designs. Glitzy sites were often hard to use, and thus not used.

Tech Savvy – Contrary to popular opinion, teens are not savvier than adults when it comes to technology. When asked to complete a perfectly feasible task, only 55% of teens could do it, compared to 66% of adults. Nielsen blamed poor reading skills, less sophisticated research strategies and a bigtime lack of patience.

Boredom – It’s the kiss of death for teens. They have a short attention span and want to be entertained.

Reading – Teens aren’t big on reading. Text that’s easy to scan and using graphics to illustrate concepts are good ways to deal with their dislike for reading. Teens also don’t like small font sizes, not because of poor eyesight, but because they often sit back from the computer.

So what works? Nielsen recommended the following features that give teens a chance to interact with a site:

  • Online quizzes
  • Forms for providing feedback or asking questions
  • Online voting
  • Games
  • Features for sharing pictures or stories
  • Message boards
  • Forums for offering and receiving advice
  • Features for creating a website or otherwise adding content

For more read Nielsen’s Alertbox column, the Wired story, or you can just buy the entire 129-page report online.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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3 Responses to “Designing Web Sites For Teens”

  • Bene Diction Blogs On
    February 21, 2005

    Teens and webpages

    Church Marketing Sucks has an interesting study up on teens and the internet. Did you know that teenagers aren’t more net-saavy than adults? I didn’t. Did you know teen-agers prefer clean designs over cluttered ones? I didn’t. If you are setting up sit…

     | Permalink
  • Jen's Library Blog Blog
    February 23, 2005

    Designing Web Sites For Teens

    Here’s an article from a Christian marketing site about things to keep in mind when designing Web sites for teens. This could be useful for libraries wanting to start blogs for their teen book clubs or other YA patrons. I especially agree with the ne…

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  • Knowledge Lab
    March 4, 2005

    Catering to Teens Online

    Despite what you might think, teens aren’t as web savvy as adults. They also prefer clean web site design, minimal reading and anything but boring. What do teens like? Interaction: online quizzes, forms for giving feedback, online voting, games, mess…

     | Permalink