User experience design for the elderly: challenges and changes

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User Experience Design for Seniors: Challenges and Changes

With age, hearing decreases, vision decreases, movement slows, and sometimes even intellectual abilities decrease. For example, users aged 65 years or older are 43% slower in using websites compared to users between the ages of 21 and 55 In general, accordingly designs must change to better accommodate older users, i.e. technical applications or any tool designed specifically to help older people, and this means better design opportunities to support older users. The best designs will help the elderly, but also can be used by anyone else. In this discussion, we will discuss two aspects, a non-technical aspect and a technical aspect.

User Experience Design: The Non-Technical Side

We will give an example that we often see in our daily life. With age, numerous elderly people may refuse to use tools that may help them and facilitate their movement and mobility. A question may come to your mind: Why do they refuse help?

Provided we take walking aids (walkers) or canes for example, if we look at the person who uses them, we look at him with a look of pity and sympathy, as he appears bent over them, clinging to them, trying to drag himself with difficulty to be able to walk, and you think to yourself that you should speak loudly or slowly to them, for example. So that they can understand you, such a view is what repels the elderly from using it, as the person naturally does not want to communicate a message to the world (I am old and can no longer move), and in this example he has difficulty moving only and not something else that may come to your mind as a stereotype associated with Someone who walks with a cane.

What helped create this stereotype is the poor design of the aids, they are designed in such a way that they are cheaper to take away from their beauty and accept their shape. They can use it and stay upright, or be in an appealing shape that makes them want to have it, or additional features such as attaching a chair to it, for example, so that its users can sit down if they are tired, or provide a space to carry matters. Adding such improvements should make them attractive and acceptable not only to the elderly, but also to various other age groups, even teenagers!

There are many other examples of poorly designed elderly tools, so designers should pay attention to this topic and put more effort into working on them. Ultimately, these tools provide adults with facilities and meet the needs that they are willing to pay for and when making them distinctive and attractive, this will pay Remainder of the society to order and get it, which means more profit for the manufacturers of these tools.

User experience design: the technical side

In numerous wealthy countries, people over 65 are the fastest growing demographic and, by virtue of their age, are often considered wealthier than other age groups. Their use of technology and their access to the Internet has increased recently, so it is likely that nowadays they have learned how to use computers while in the workplace. Studies have proven that many older adults use computers and the Internet at work for years before retirement. Although the technical competence among all users is somewhat limited, digital literacy among the elderly is increasing, there are many important tasks for them that they perform through websites and applications on their smartphones, such as banking and many transactions Government websites, visiting health information websites or hospital websites, as well as making purchases from e-commerce websites, searching for tourist websites or hotels and the like, browsing news websites and social networking sites.

A study of a group of Internet users found that between the ages of 25 and 60, people’s ability to use websites decreases by 0.8% per year. It alerts us to the need to consider the effects of human aging on usability well before age 65. Numerous tech products fail to take ease of use into consideration. For example, numerous interfaces are small in font and poor color contrast. These design choices irritate users of all ages, not just the elderly. Sites targeting seniors must use at least 12-point fonts as default fonts. And all sites, if they target the elderly specifically or not, should allow users to increase the text size at will — particularly whether the default font size for the site is small. Too numerous digital products still discriminate against older people, it is difficult to find content written for them or by them and whether such content is available, older people are often treated as a small and important group rather than as a diverse and growing group.

The most common problems that elderly people face

In general, the Internet is not suitable for people with low vision. The ability to read is a problem for the visually impaired as well as for the elderly. Small-type websites and apps are common, as interactive elements such as buttons, drop-down menus, and links are often displayed in a small size that is difficult for older users to click. Hyperlinks are fundamental components of the design, and for them using large text is particularly important for two reasons: first to ensure readability, and secondly to make links more visible targets for clicks. Using white space to separate links reduces false clicks and increases the speed with which users get to the correct link. This rule also applies to command buttons and other interplay objects, all of which must be reasonably large to make them easier to click. Dropdown menus, hierarchical menus, and other mobile interface elements are a problem for the elderly who are not always stable with the mouse. It is best to use static UI tools and designs that do not require pixel-accurate pointing.

Although older people found mobile apps convenient, the challenges of reading on these devices were meaningful, and interface text in mobile apps was often too small and light-colored for older people to read comfortably.

The interfaces in websites and applications are often rigid and illiberal of errors, as older users are more likely to make mistakes than younger users. Sites do not adequately understand the way real humans behave, such as incorrect input, such as inserting parentheses or commas in phone numbers or credit cards. Furthermore, older adults often have problems reading error messages, either because the wording was vague or inaccurate, or the message is placed on screen among so many other design elements that it doesn’t stand out. When the elderly are faced with error handling, simplicity is more important, so focus on the error, explain it clearly, and make it as easy as possible to fix it.

All users hate change, but drastic design changes hurt older people the most. Often adults keep a list of steps and directions on how to use websites they need or visit often, so whether a website changes drastically, these notes may become invalid They may struggle to understand the new design. Obviously websites can’t always be the same forever, but it’s worth trying to maintain consistency in the main task steps for as long as possible.

Who is to blame?

When older users encountered problems while using the sites, they blamed themselves, but in fact the blame should lie almost 100% on the websites and their designers, because most of the problems could have been avoided if they paid better attention to the design usability guidelines for seniors. .

Business opportunities if by older users are growing rapidly, many seniors who have used the Internet in recent years have not yet started spending money, but they will soon, as online companies can significantly expand the volume of business they generate from this category by Adopt both an accessible design and age-appropriate content strategy. Whether you redesign your website to give seniors the same quality of user experience as younger users, you can expect to get a large percentage of trade from them.

Numerous categories of websites can attract seniors, who are a rapidly growing and more and more wealthy target audience. Whether they go the additional mile to accommodate the human aging process and make websites easier and faster for seniors to use because whether the sites are too difficult, seniors will go elsewhere. Just like all other users.

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