Websites and Family Reunions

We had a family reunion this past weekend. So did you, perhaps? Monday is a bonus day that allows time and space for all generations to travel and gather. Our event included four generations, ranging in age from ninety to one. I don’t think we had anyone here in the fifty year old range, but pretty much every other decade was represented.

Think of that in terms of technological experience. Manual typewriters and rotary phones to Siri and smartphones, and everything in between. The website clients I work with span a similar age and experience range, and the audience these clients hope to reach is a similarly moving target.

Squarespace makes it easier for the designer to be sensitive to and responsive to the multi-generational audience. You can see what your site will look like on a smartphone, a tablet or desktop, and you can monitor which device is being used in what percentage to view your site.

The piece of it that I am scrambling to get onboard with is how social media interacts with the site and how the different generations interact with social media, and how (or is it impossible?) these different dynamics can be brought together in a cohesive and attractive design.

At our family reunion I did take time to fly a few kites, literally and metaphorically, to inquire as to how these various age groups relate to websites and technology; for instance, what apps are being used for images and social media, or how a seven year old relates to a spreadsheet on an iPad. And, I have been doing some reading on the subject. 

Do I encourage a client to drop phone book advertising? Do I go all out and get onboard with Instagram? Do I try to pin down Google’s site ranking algorithm?

Flying a kite is more fun, especially if you are a kid. Designing websites and making them accessible and engaging for multiple generations is a challenge…and one that I have dedicated this blog to.

Peter Pierson