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Usability of Websites for Teenagers

Misconceptions about Teenagers

Teenagers are not in fact superior Web geniuses who can use anything a site throws at them. Teen's performance is influenced by three factors: insufficient reading skills, less sophisticated research strategies, lower patience level. Teens do like cool-looking graphics and that they pay more attention to a website's visual appearance than adult users do. But the sites that teen users like best in subjective satisfaction were sites with a relatively modest, clean design.

No Boring Sites

Teens frequently complained about sites that they found boring. Being boring is the kiss of death in terms of keeping teens on your site. Teens have a short attention span and want to be stimulated. That's also why they leave sites that are difficult to figure out.

Teenagers don't like to read a lot on the Web

They get enough of that at school. Sites which are easy to scan or that illustrated concepts visually are strongly preferred to sites with dense text. Teenagers also don't like tiny font sizes any more than adults do.

What's good? Interaction!

The following interactive features all work well because they let teens do things rather than simply sit and read:

Differences Between Age Groups

The following table summarizes the main differences in Web design approaches for young children, teenagers, and adults:

Animation sound effects Mine sweeping for links Advertising Scrolling Reading
Kids Positive Positive Positive Negative Negative
Teens Neutral Negative Neutral Neutral Negative
Adults Negative Negative Negative Positive Neutral

Positive Enjoyable, interesting, and appealing, or users can easily adjust to it.
Neutral Users might appreciate it to some extent, but overuse can be problematic.
Negative Users dislike it, don't do it, or find it difficult to operate.