Designing for Young Adults (Ages 18-25)

3rd Edition

Report PDF cover image

Summary

Young adults are comfortable with technology; it doesn‘t intimidate them the way it does some older adults. But, it‘s dangerous to buy into the popular stereotypes about young people. In this report, we dispel the myths about young adults. We explore and define their specific needs, interests, and online behavior that differentiate young adults from other age groups.  

This 216-page report offers 81 design guidelines based on our usability research. Discussions and 175 screenshot illustrations supplement our findings.

Topics 

  • Myths about how young adults use the web
  • How and why young adults use the internet, based on observational research
  • Young adults' expectations for search
  • How young adults use social media
  • How young adults differ from teenagers and older adults
  • Why some design trends work well for young adults, and others don’t
  • Advice from young adults
  • Websites that young adults like
  • International differences
  • Checklist of 81 design recommendations that will make your website more suited for young adults and easier for them to use, covering:
    • Visual design
    • Writing for the web
    • Navigation and interaction design
    • Multimedia
    • Search and filters
    • Credibility
    • Promotional content
    • Social media
    • Ecommerce
    • Forms, registration, and signup
    • Careers sections of corporate websites
  • Detailed methodology section that shows how you can conduct your own usability studies with young adults

What’s new in the third edition?

This third edition builds upon our previous reports on college students. We’ve expanded our research with new studies, including in-person usability testing, remote usability testing, a diary study, and surveys. The new research included all young adults aged 18-25 — not just current college students. As a result, we have a much more comprehensive participant pool, including recent graduates and currently employed young adults who do not hold college degrees. Our new in-person usability testing was conducted in the United States, Canada, and Singapore, while our remote testing involved participants living in the United Kingdom and Europe.

We’ve added new user quotes, new screenshot examples, and new findings on how young adults use the web including: 

  • Multitasking
  • Task efficiency
  • Social media usage
  • Search behaviors
  • Guidelines for using multimedia
  • Expectations for digital interfaces

Research Method

This report is based on user research with young adults (young professionals, postgraduate students, undergraduate students, and young adults without undergraduate degrees) aged 18-25 years old. We used 4 different research methods:

  • One-on-one usability testing (both in-person and remote)
  • Naturalistic recording longitudinal study, for which participants video-recorded all their online activities for 2 days
  • Diary study
  • Online survey

The young adults in our study tested the usability of 370 websites. The in-person studies took place in 7 countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, United Kingdom, and the United States. Study participants originated from many additional countries.

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  • Can post the report or video on internal file servers or intranets and make it available to others within the organization.
  • Cannot make the report/video available to people not employed by your organization, the general public, or to post it to a publicly accessible website or file server.
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Individual

Purchase an individual license if the report or video will only be used by one person.

Customers who choose an individual license are not authorized to share the report or video with anyone else, or post it to any internal or external file server, website, or intranet. Individual License Terms

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Purchase a group license if the report or video will be used by multiple people within your organization.

Customers who choose a group license are authorized to post the report or video on internal file servers or intranets and make it available to others within the organization. The group license does not grant permission to make the report/video available to people not employed by your organization, the general public, or to post it to a publicly accessible website or file server. Group License Terms

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