I have been designing and building user experiences for Adobe products for many years now. My mission has always been centered on our users; making their lives easier and more successful. Over time, this focus on UX has driven me to be more and more of an analytical problem solver. But at the same time, I consider having an intuitive sense of aesthetics a core element of my character. These two things are often in conflict and I sometimes worry — am I still creative?
Fortunately, I’ve recently had the opportunity to meet and talk with young creatives all around the world who are fearless, brilliant, and very creative.
For the last three months I have been a part of Project 1324, an Adobe initiative that supports, connects, and amplifies a global community of emerging artists who are using creativity as a force for positive impact. We’re looking at ways we can help these young creatives – aged 13-24 – develop their ideas and impact change across the globe. Project 1324 has launched the Sundance Ignite “What’s Next?” short film challenge, which is just the first project from our team: there are many more exciting developments on the way.
Adobe Design was involved from the beginning of the design process, and like any good UX project, we kicked things off with research. We wanted to better understand how these young people think about creativity and what they need to be successful. We’ve done a deep dive into how our target demographic behaves, how they use the web, and what kind of things they’re into.
Here are some of the things we found that have influenced our design work:
1. Creativity plays an important role in the lives of youth. Youth value creativity.
They consider themselves creative and would like to be more so, but common barriers to creativity are lack of confidence, fear of criticism, not knowing where to start.
2. Creativity is an impetus for social change.
Many young people are eager to make a difference. A vast majority of youth agree that creativity helps create positive change in the world and they have a responsibility to make the world a better place.
3. Youth are motivated to enjoy, learn, and grow from creativity.
Creativity is self-sustaining. Young people enjoy being creative, so they learn new things to get better at it. This in turn helps them grow as a person. Growing helps them enjoy being creative, and the cycle continues.
4. Teenagers (Gen Z) are different than young adults (Millennials) when it comes to navigating websites.
Young adults are very task-oriented. They want something easy-to-use so they can finish their task quickly. They demand simplicity in interfaces and prefer clean, streamlined web design. They are very confident in their own ability to navigate interfaces, so they don’t hesitate to click around and explore. Teenagers, on the other hand, like to play games and watch multimedia and often want something more playful and entertaining. Unlike young adults, they are hesitant to click on unknown elements.
5. Young adults care A LOT about a website’s ‘tone of voice.’
Friendly, casual tones work really well for young adults, but if you try to be ‘too cool’ or ‘too casual,’ they react negatively. They tend to skim pages for keywords that strike their interest, so using words that are common to their vocabulary is critical to keeping them interested.
The Sundance Ignite challenge is serving as a stepping stone for our team to see how we can build a bigger picture for young creatives to connect, get inspired, and learn from others who project their voices through their creation.
Being part of the Project 1324 team has been an eye-opening opportunity for me as a UX designer. Meeting and talking with so many young creatives who are advocating for a better world has left me inspired! By doing my best work to help them turn their dreams of changing the world into reality, I’ve found a way to reconnect with my own creative side.