Know your user, rest will follow

How many times have you faced this situation — increased the font size because one user said so, reduced again because another user said so.

Problem is not with the user, rather us thinking what we like will be liked by everyone. But that necessarily doesn’t mean an app will have as many designs as there are users. So, how do we go about dealing this?

Designing something for all age groups can’t be more challenging and tricky. Younger age group tend to browse through contents more quickly and spend lesser time unless they find something interesting. While the older ones tend to spend time on almost every content they come across and hence the elements like font size shouldn’t be too distracting.

Younger ones take decisions quickly hence distractions could be from performance and color. In contrast older ones give some time before deciding hence distractions could be from usability and readability. Although the same is also true for the former group and vice versa.

Keeping the difference in perceptions in mind, our design should be a blend of both age groups and should have an universal appeal. It is not always true that users will always be grouped in terms of age. Urban vs Rural, demography, gender could be other groupings. Whatever the user groups maybe, before jumping into the solution we should first imagine ourselves as one of the users. This can only be achieved by observation and then deriving the user expectations. Once we have the expectations set, our thinking and hence the design will automatically be aligned in the right direction.

It’s always valuable to spend a few hours or days (depending on the project timeline you have) observing and thinking about your users and then start designing. But definitely not a good idea to wrap up your design in a day and going back and forth aimlessly and finally screwing up the entire process.