How can mobile app creators keep up with Generation Z?

Dieter Huber

Director, Presales & Operations

10 min read

Generation Z is beginning to have a demonstrable impact on the world of commerce and digital development. Born between the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, these post-millennials grew up in the digital realm and have high expectations and a low tolerance for tech flaws.

Simply creating an app that has a great concept isn’t enough to keep Gen Z interested anymore. For an app to gain traction, it has to resonate to this now-critical stratum of consumers. Here’s how mobile app creators can keep up with Gen Z.

Developers should include working students

Gen Z are the most intense users of apps nowadays, but also the most critical. Slow performance speeds and confusing design choices often turn them away from apps that otherwise have great and original concepts. Most of the apps out there that are made for Gen Z are not made by Gen Z developers, creating a generational disconnect.

In order to create apps that appeal to the youth, developers need to try to understand Gen Z as much as possible. This means working with people from the generation or placing emphasis on the value of the generation’s feedback for a developing app. Whether it’s by getting consultations on features by computer science and coding students or creating focus groups for feedback, Gen Z should be included.

Gen Z project members can help developers understand how their app is performing and which features need to be added or removed. This inevitably ends up saving money on the project due to correct planning at the right stages, but most importantly, it helps developers build a connection with the generation.

Students can bring in their own point of view to a project; they interact with developers, product owners and other stakeholders. This influence helps app makers to more organically draw in the youngest generation of consumers. Even if the students’ traits do not line up precisely with Gen Z, they have a much greater awareness of their generation’s needs.

Successful creators need to be avid users

When the new app is released, updates that will be required based on initial feedback from Gen Z users should come fast: Fix this with high priority; whatever your roadmap says. But apart from the insight that’s gained from those early stages, features will probably need to be added.

Designers have to keep in mind that apps are constantly evolving. As such, app architects have to choose the best tools to create a flexible environment, and app developers need to prepare themselves for steady changes and improvements.

Furthermore, developers need to always be teasing new features to the app for Gen Z users to explore. This might help keep them interested. For example, Instagram constantly experiments with new features to provide a fresh experience and to find new ways of engaging users.

Those who produce apps have to stay in the know about new apps and understand why they are successful with Gen Z. When developers use apps, they can better understand the users, as well as know what direction competitors are heading in.

There needs to be a keen interest in the industry

More than any generation that's come before, Gen Z thrives on having recommendations available to make decisions. Anyone could walk into a library and look for a book, Gen Z prefers having a librarian to make recommendations.

Generations of today are used to the idea of having everything online. For them, decision-making and possession of items are not a priority; they rather rely on ubiquitous access and getting accurate recommendations. When Gen Z uses Spotify or Netflix, they want to learn about what they might like. Or, when it comes to activities, they want to ask Alexa where they should go.

Successful designers need to understand how people behave by analyzing how they spend their time, as well as when and how they interact with tech. More importantly, designers should evaluate where their inspiration and information come from. To cater to specific niches, sometimes creative approaches are in order.

Generation Z has a lot to offer, and they are almost single-handedly moving the mobile app development industry to a whole new level. But as this fast-paced generation grows up, their tastes are likely to change. In order to stay relevant, it’s up to mobile app creators to constantly strive to understand Gen Z to best cater to their needs.

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