February 4, 2005, 12:00 AM

When it comes to the web, teens aren`t nearly as good as many people think

Teens achieved a success rate in completing web tasks of 55%; adults achieve a success rate of 66%, says a new report from the Nielsen Norman Group, which tracked 38 young people between 13 and 17 in three socio-economic settings.

 

Teens aren’t very good at using the Internet-in fact, they’re not even as good as adults in using the Internet, says a study out last month from web site usability company Nielsen Norman Group. “Teens are not the technowizards many assume,” at least when it comes to the Internet, Nielsen Norman’s report “Teenagers on the Web” concludes. Among the key findings: Teens achieved a success rate in completing web tasks of 55%. Adults achieve a success rate of 66%.

The Nielsen Norman Group tracked 38 young people between 13 and 17 in three socio-economic settings: rural, upscale suburban and disadvantaged urban. It also included a group of Australian teens as a check to make sure the attitudes the researchers were uncovering weren’t unique to the U.S.

The results loom large for retailers, says Jakob Nielsen, CEO. For one thing, teens’ research skills are not as well developed as adults’. “Generally, adults will have some sort of secondary strategy to find something if their first strategy fails,” he says. “Teens are less likely to have an alternate strategy.”

That means retailers with a teen market can’t hide products or their attributes “Retailers should make it easy to find products that are really relevant,” Nielsen says. “They should highlight the properties that are important to teenagers.” That’s particularly true of price, he says. “It’s a small thing, but it’s often too awkward or too hard for a teenager to figure out how to find a price and so they’ll give up and go somewhere else.”

 

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