Our lives and work are increasingly digitally reliant. Consequently, we must all interact with new technologies and digital media interfaces all the more. Understandably, there is an onus on us, the users, to grow in knowledge and learn to use these new tools well. Similarly, however, those who build these tools and design the user interfaces and experiences must also do the work to ensure they work well for the intended users. Below, we take a closer look at the benefits of age-friendly design on the users and designers alike.
Defining Age-friendly Technology
The term age-friendly design refers to technologies designed with the usability and accessibility of older users in mind. Typically, these older users are over the age of 65. Age-friendly technology considers accessibility needs resulting from declining hearing, vision, and dexterity. As such, features like larger fonts, carefully selected colours and tones, and simplified layouts and interfaces take centre-stage.
Smart technologies include:
- smartphones and tablets,
- voice-activated systems,
- online or internet-accessed services,
- and even wearable health monitoring devices,
When done correctly, age-friendly technology tools help older adults to maintain their independence as they age.
Age-friendly Design in a Digital Generation
A digital generation already have the tech-savvy to interpret jargon as well as some of the symbols and features common in today’s technological designs. So much so, that sometimes when the design in question may not be the most user-friendly there is, it is still highly likely that the digitally-savvy will navigate the same with relative ease. Conversely, the digital generation will scarcely notice when design is done well. Yes, they will surely appreciate the easy navigation and user-friendliness. However, they may not notice the age-friendly design principles that help make it so.
Truth is, users of all ages and capabilities will benefit from age-friendly design, although it bears the elderly in mind. Age-friendly technology tools ensure the layout of the information and features will be presented in a cleaner, clearer environment and therefore be easier to read and receive. Colours and fonts, for example, are likely to be easier on the eyes.
Good Design Is Age-Friendly At Its Core
As more design features that cater to the elderly are incorporated into the technology tools we all use daily, the reality of digital reliance will feel less overwhelming for us all. Everything from online banking websites to government and social enterprise platforms, and even social media networks will prove to be more useful. As we struggle less to navigate the tech in our lives, we will be better able to leverage the benefits therein. Here is a quick article outlining some of the foundational principles of age-friendly technology.