Designing for Older Adults: Learnings

Design for Seniors

 

There is a prevailing thought that products for older adults need to be designed with "different" things in mind than products for other demographics. But what should those "different" principles be? And is this idea even correct?

We are exploring these ideas in a series of explorations and articles. Our goal is to shed light on what people need to bear in mind as they think about developing products for various types of people who just happen to have as a common factor their age.

 

 

Featured Content: Designing for Older Adults: Learnings

 

Intergenerational Design Opinions

What happens when you bring together a group of older adult Longevity Explorers and the teams participating in the Stanford Longevity Design Challenge? You get some interesting and contrasting opinions about what the differences should be between designing for a 25 year old and designing for an 85 year old.


 

 

What They Want vs What You Think They Need

I've said it before. Most of the products for older adults that we see are frankly not very good. This article is about two especially common pitfalls. I think of them as the "eat your broccoli" error, and the "I know how to market to 40 year olds" issue.


 

 

Products for Seniors: Could Do Better

After several years of product evaluations and unmet need explorations with groups of older adults, this is my most striking take-away. "While there is no shortage of problems for which older adults would like solutions, the vast majority of products we have looked at are either hard for elderly people to use, or do poorly the "job" our older adult demographic wants to get done". This article is about why (in my opinion) this is the case, and about errors to avoid.


 

 

Designing for Older Adults: Jeff Johnson Interview

In this interview with Dr. Jeff Johnson — who with Dr. Kate Finn literally "wrote the book" on designing for older adults — Jeff discusses with Richard Caro a variety of topics relating to designing better products for older adults.


 

 

Longevity Explorer Workshop

Older Adults Online: Behavior, Trust, & Design

Our Longevity Explorers frequently comment on just how poorly they think most Apps and websites are designed — when viewed from the perspective of an older adult. So we were excited when a Silicon Valley startup enlisted our help to answer a variety of questions about how older adults really do interact online.


 

 

Which Customer Interaction, When?

When the conversation turns to interacting with customers before a product is "finished", most product developers I've talked to are enthusiastic. But they have very different opinions about when to interact with customers, how to interact with them, and for what purpose. I believe there is a way of thinking that helps resolve these questions, depending on the details of the company, and the stage of product development they are at. This article is to share it.


 

 

Working at 90 and designing for age

Stimulated by a recent NPR segment on working at 90, here are some thoughts about user interfaces for older adults, and why they fall short.


 

 

How to Articulate a "Problem"

At our last Meetup we spent a lot of time talking about how to articulate a "problem" in a useful way that can lead to solutions and effective brainstorming. We also tested out the process by having participants stand up and discuss the "problem" they care about with the circle. This article is a reference to remind everyone how to articulate a "problem".


 

 

What do seniors worry about?

We wanted to get a better understanding of what bothers seniors about aging, and what they worry about. So, we are conducting 200 interviews to find out. This article shares some of what we have learned thus far from our interviews, in support of our mission to improve the quality of life of all of us as we age.


 

 

Redefining & Redesigning Aging…By and For Ourselves!

I recently participated in a global design challenge to redefine aging. The Challenge was held on the OpenIDEO website / platform (www.openideo.com) where thousands of design-thinkers from around the world participate in a virtual incubator. My team's idea was one of the six winning ideas. Put simply, the idea is to create a participatory design movement, where mature men and women are empowered to create their own future (products, services, experiences, communities, etc.).


 


 

Thing(s): 
Key words: 
Design for older adults, design

Last Updated: April 19, 2020.