Gen Z and Millennials are Redefining Mobile Application Developmentby@kingabimbola
441 reads
441 reads

Gen Z and Millennials are Redefining Mobile Application Development

by M. Abimbola MosobalajeMarch 23rd, 2023
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

In this day and age, people expect mobile apps to be fast and clean. Having a good user interface (UI) goes a long way in impressing people. Users also expect the app to have great security and to have all of their info protected.
featured image - Gen Z and Millennials are Redefining Mobile Application Development
M. Abimbola Mosobalaje HackerNoon profile picture

"What are the qualities of a good application for Gen Z and, maybe, Millennials?" I asked myself as I thought of an application for a product that targets these demographics.

It is a no-brainer that proper research ought to follow any product development for a target audience. While many companies excel at product research, they fail to research and consider how to present their products to their target audience.

Buyers’ personas should also inform application development, not just your marketing content.

In the era of simplifying customers’ access to a brand’s services, applications have become important. There are more smartphone users than computers; so, mobile phone applications are a better investment to reach more people.

Thus, if you are targeting Gen Z with a product, it is only proper to understand their smartphone behaviors as a guide to developing an application for them.

First, why should you invest in a good app?

Reasons for Phone Applications

  • You need to meet your customers at their place of convenience, especially when they have many options to explore.

  • To streamline business processes and automate administrative tasks.

  • To collect and easily track customer insights.

  • Building an app helps you give your clients more chances to explore your business.

So, here are some qualities of a good application for a Gen Z (and millennial) target.

Smooth User Interface

The user interface refers to the area where users interact with and through your app. It is a point of interaction with your company, however, through the phone app.

UI is a combination of appearance, the arrangement of widgets (buttons or options they’d click), and the functionality of these widgets as they appear to your users.

The Gen Z population is often about promptness and 'vibes'. With ‘vibes’, they mean something easily reasonable to them. What they can relate to. Something that communicates a feeling to them just by its looks and organization. So, your app should be that.

Duolingo, Duo for short—an AI-powered language teaching application— has an impressive user interface. Duo has a straightforward home page and simple, discoverable icons. No page congestion!

The user can easily find whatever option they need. Learning progress is shown on the homepage, which you can scroll through. They have also managed to use interesting and contrasting but complementary colors that appeal to users.

The design, icons, and characters are all fun (they chose a cartoonish theme), and it paid off for them.

Does this work for Gen Z?

Let’s look at the statistics.

Source: Duolingo Source: Duolingo, link below.

So, 45 million users multiplied by the age groups that fall between 15 and 40 account for Gen Z and Millennials. The outcome demonstrates that the UI works for the demographics.

You should factor in the average time spent on your mobile application. Because, how interesting an interface is, determines how long your users will stay. And, of course, the kind of content available to explore. Duo has an average use of 15 minutes per day.


Everyone wants speed. It shouldn’t take longer than 4 seconds for your applications to load (in the worst-case scenario) when targeting millennials and Gen Zs. Your app must be fast and responsive.

Swift apps enhance the user experience (UX) and lead to higher client engagement and conversions.

There is no excuse for slow applications. You may be tempted to say, "But my application is e-commerce; there are too many products, so it can’t load fast." Then you have not learned about Temu, the number-one most popular and most used application in the Apple Store in 2023.

It is an e-commerce application with incredible speed.

Ideally, it only takes 2 seconds, on average, for an application to delay, and these target populations are already moving on to something else.

Take Instagram, for instance, how long can you wait for an image to load or for a video to play before you swipe up to the next piece of content? (I guess how long you wait depends on your age profile.)

Here Are Some Things to Look Out for if You Want a Fast Loading Time

Use top-rated servers; do not overburden your portion of the server, and do not host on an inefficient cloud server.

  • Fix bugs and provide regular and improved software updates.

  • Discourage bulky source code.

  • Enable browser caching.

  • Use data compression, but not at the expense of quality.

  • Collect performance reports and feedback. The best way to improve your app is to take your users’ feedback seriously.

In my experience using Dawn AI’s mobile app, among others, you can’t help but be thrilled by its swiftness. In my experience, there was less than a 2-second load time. The interface is straightforward, simple, and responsive.

The only time you have an expected delay is the load time to generate your themed images, which is considerably understandable because the AI generates multiple pictures possible with your chosen theme.

Although that can be better, looks like the company is having other issues with a workable business model.

Payoneer’s mobile application has a similarly seamless experience.

Also, make your apps compatible with a VPN. In my experience, for instance, WhatsApp is one of the applications that has a lag time when connected to a VPN. Sometimes, when on VPN, the app does not give notifications until you open it.

While WhatsApp has become a daily utility, your app may not have made a name for itself as the ‘green app'. So, you need to test your app’s speed with different criteria, including VPN connections.

To get a competitive advantage, you have to dance to the tune of your audience.


Data privacy and protection are two reasons why many people use VPNs. 39% of all VPN users are 16 to 22, and only 16% are older than 55. 69% of all VPN users are male. These figures give you a cue about how seriously these age groups take security.

With different mobile apps using multilevel protection for access to mobile apps and blockchain, Gen Z and Millennials have high-security expectations that you cannot afford to disappoint. Your application should be secure enough for users’ data to be protected.

Although some apps may not need customers’ data to work, healthcare and fintech apps cannot do without customers’ private data. So, your application should promise and maintain security.

Your app should be verified and protected in the app stores. Do not seek unnecessary app permissions from users, keep apps updated and verified, and include a credible developer name. Those are some tips to foster users’ trust.

Original image from play store, marked and annotated by the author

See Temu’s marketing points, speed, security, and communication. Although I have seen better UI elsewhere, this is definitely not bad. Doing something right gave them the number 1 spot in the app store.


Finally, communication is an aspect of your app that you should invest in, especially in-app communication. This target audience wants everything quick and easy.

Foster communication by enabling user support. Even if the app does not need the internet to function, provide a way for users to report an issue or speak to a customer support agent. The earlier the response time is, the better for everyone.

A prompt response is enough to cause you a sale.

Have an FAQ section for issues you suspect may be challenging about the app or your services. You may also take advantage of AI technology to integrate a chatbot into your communication section.

Also, allow in-app browsing and interaction with the web. The recent trend in apps is that they can process links without switching to or referring to a browser application. For instance, Gmail offers an in-app browsing session when you click a link from the app.

So, if you click "back", it will take you to the previous session on the app.

Closing Remark

Ultimately, Gen Z’s patience is thinner than the generations before them. They have changed the way businesses and app developers build their apps. Hence, you have to invest in speed and convenience.

Do not forget that a user interface can either inspire or discourage your users. A good UI can foster longer interaction times with your app.