How to Impress a Digital Native? Tech Alone is Not Enough

As a person born in 1994, I am a member of the famous (or infamous) Millennial Generation. Collectively, we’re known for our tech savviness, confidence, and sheltered upbringings. We’re notoriously entitled and narcissistic. And we’re also getting old. That’s right Gen Xers and Baby Boomers- I am a Millennial and I am not the young perplexing enigma that I once was. I’m no longer the new kid on the block, or at least not the newest.That position has been assumed by the mysterious cohort below me known as Generation Z, and its members are not easily impressed.

Unlike many Millennials, members of Gen Z were born into a digital world and have no concept of a time without infinite information available at their fingertips. While most of us Millennials feel naked without our smartphones, social media, and internet access, we do have distant memories of dial-up, VHS, and actually using the landline. We saw the internet go through it's awkward middle school phase right around the time when we were experiencing our own. We watched the world adjust to digitization, often in a very inefficient and cumbersome way. Gen Z, born into a relatively well adjusted technological world, has no such experience. For them, technology can’t just be existent, it must be excellent.

 

With that in mind, here are a few recommendations for creating content that holds up to Gen Z’s high standards:

  1. It has to be engaging (and fast-paced)

In a world where the human attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish, producing fast-paced and captivating content is crucial. Although this is not a new revelation, it is becoming increasingly important with each generation. On average, Millennials use three different screens in their day-to-day lives while Gen Zers use five; a difference that has huge implications for the amount of attention devoted to a single screen at any given time. More screens equal more potential distractions and less engagement if content becomes uninteresting, even for just a moment.

  1. It has to be visually appealing

In the internet’s early days, the way a website looked was not nearly as important as the way that site worked. Aesthetic appeal came second to functionality, and even the most popular websites with the highest site traffic were not so easy on the eyes. Today, content must not only be interesting and functional but also pleasing to the eye and easy to navigate. To impress Gen Zers, websites and apps must have clean, streamlined user interfaces (think Instagram, Spotify, Google). Photos must be high quality, videos must be well edited, and design must be impeccable.

  1. It has to be compatible with many devices

When attempting to appeal to Millennials, “mobile” was the magic word. Content had to be mobile-compatible in order to be on the cutting edge. Today, mobile-compatibility is not an added bonus but rather an expectation. If you’re not mobile by now you’re behind the times- so get with it! In order to maintain a reputation of novelty and dynamism, content providers should be looking to emerging devices. For all we know, wearable tech or virtual reality could be the next big thing in content provision. Snooze on these opportunities and you might just lose your Gen Z following in the long run.

 

So, while impressing Gen Zers may be a daunting task, it is by no means an impossible one. Follow these rules and you’ll be one step closer to meeting the youngest generation’s high expectations.