For a website or digital product to be truly ‘user-centric’, we need to determine who the ‘user’ is.
Each person will approach a website, system or app through their own, unique mental model, applying how they think it will be organised to each new one they encounter.
Although each individual’s mental model is unique, users can be ‘grouped’ to determine their digital (dis)abilities.
Generations share key aspects of their mental models, as people who live in the same period are influenced by societal values and culture, the emergence of new technologies, and experience similar events to some degree.
Similarly, they share age-related elements, such as physical or cognitive (dis)abilities.
For digital marketers, understanding the audience a platform offers access to is crucial. After all, if you don’t know who you will be reaching, it’s all but impossible to craft messages and experiences that resonate.
The good news: digital channels are generally understood far better than their offline counterparts because users can be tracked far more comprehensively and accurately. The bad news: the make-up of digital channels can change, and sometimes quite rapidly. This is particularly true in social channels, where what’s hot today is not hot tomorrow.