Older adults hero

Older Adults and Digital Technology

An introduction for designers

When I saw my owngrandmother struggle with digital technology, and therefore used it as little as possible, it got me thinking on how she becomesexcluded from societybecause of that. I started to look at the subject of older adults and digital technology from a design perspective and realized what a complex issue it is. My personal and initial intention with this project was to get a greater understanding in how to design better and including products for older adults. In order to do so I conducted qualitative interviews with users, companies in the industry and Senior Göteborg (Göteborgs Stad). The result from my research is the
booklet Older Adults and Digital Technology - a short introduction for designers, a guide on what to consider when designing digital technology for older adults. The aim of the booklet is toraise awareness and curiosityrather than giving the reader all the answers. I believe that the best way to really understand a subject and target group is to do empirical research. Therefore I hope that fellow young designers will be inspired to go out and do their own user research so they can realize how broad a target group like this one can be.

“My relationship to digital technology is very bad. I would like to take some kind of course to learn”

- Majvor, 67 years old

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By interviewing only a handful of people about their relationships to digital technology, it is clear that thetarget group older adults is very broad.Everyone has different challenges and a lot of people do not have age related issues at all.
By talking to companies and organizations that work to improve older adults’ everyday lives through digital technology, you understand howcomplexit can be toput solutions into practice.
old man

“I’m not interested in using the computer and such, but overall, I think I have a good relation to digital technology. The development has to go forward, you can’t stay in the past”

- Astrid, 80 years old

Astrid Bertil
old woman
The group ofdigital users increasesand becomes moredifferentiated.That is something that we as designers have to be aware of and realize that there is a business and future in developing digital products and services based on an older target groups’ needs and interests.
As a designer you have to take thenatural ageingin consideration such as impaired cognitive abilities, tactility, vision and hearing. At the same time it seems that alow confidencecould be the biggest challenge to overcome and not the actual product or service. Alack of interestin digital products could also be a reason for why people struggle.
What is most important when designing digital technologies is that they are easy to use, make the user feel safe and take care of the user.

“I used to do all my bank errands on paper and then I realized that it’s much easier to do it on the computer. My wife doesn’t know how to use the computer for those things and that’s problematic I think”

- Bertil, 81 years old


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