Now more than ever, seniors are using technology to stay connected with family and friends and to simplify everyday activities. We often think about younger generations when considering UX on apps for social media, music streaming, games, etc. but seniors find these apps useful, too.
A design consultancy company called StudioRed was tasked with designing an app for a high end home audio system with the target demographic being mainly senior users. You can find the full article with their approach and a guide to designing for seniors here, but below are some core findings from the project:
- Identify the areas not addressed for senior’s UX needs. StudioRed found that many seniors enjoy listening to a variety of music genres including classical, which can have long titles and groups of songs making up one track. Music apps such as Spotify don’t accommodate long titles, making it hard for users to view classical music titles. StudioRed came up with a solution that utilizes indentation and drop down menus to provide additional information and song groups.
- Reduce cognitive load by focusing on recognition over recall. I know this is something that can and should be applied in most design cases, but StudioRed calls out its importance especially for seniors. StudioRed decided to use a filter solution that helps with recognition and also addresses manual dexterity problems.
- Reduce friction, induce “flow”. The goal of providing “flow” is to reduce disruptions that can occur while the user is interacting with your app. This is important when designing for seniors because a decline in motor control may result in the user clicking things they didn’t mean to click. StudioRed attempted to limit unintended actions by dedicating a specific button for playing songs (this differs from Spotify where clicking the title results in the song playing).
- Seniors perceive information differently. As mentioned in StudioRed’s article, according to The Flickering Mind, older generations tend to view things sequentially and logically. Thus, finding genres or other groups of information by alphabetical order makes the most sense.
- Stay with basic and keep consistent. This is true for any group of users. Simpler is usually better, and this is a great opportunity to use metaphors from real life that translate well into digital to make interactions more seamless. Additionally, keeping the interactions consistent throughout the experience is key.
Do you know of any apps that provide a great user experience for seniors? What are some key features of those experiences that help make the app more usable for those groups of users?