06 September 2010

Smart Phones, iPads, and Baby Boomers

In March I headed up a workshop in Turkey:

From my hotel room window. Back from Istanbul.
There are 15 million people living in Istanbul – and I think I saw all of them. 

And I met about two dozen of the brightest.

Attendees included marketing executives from Fortis, Anadolu Hayat Emeklilik, Yapi Kredi Bankasi, and IS Bankasi.

image I had only one regret. An attendee was looking for information and guidance and I wasn’t really prepared for the questions:

image Baby Boomers and older in Turkey have not warmed up to online banking and financial services. They make an attempt - but soon become frustrated, returning to their old ways (needless trips to the bank, using mostly checkbooks and snail mail, etc.). They are simply not online.

That was almost six months ago.  Things change.  My answers have changed. 

I’ve talked about this before, as have others.  Two recent news pieces:

image Re-thinking the Internet with security and mobility in mind
By Larry Greenemeier
The Future Internet Architecture (FIA) research projects are expected to re-think the network from the ground up, taking into account emerging security concerns, the demand for greater bandwidth and the growth of mobile devices.

NostraChuckus divined this months ago:

image How this will play out, I don’t know – but the ‘web’ needs to be rethought.  Accessing a page on a desktop or laptop is not the same as accessing it on a Smart Phone.  There will have to be two separate ‘webs’ for large screens, small screens. People will get very tired very fast clumsily negotiating bulky pages on handheld devices. Usability cannot be ignored.  Laptops and Desktops will only be utilized for deep research or visual treats.

Your Smartphone Will Soon Double as Your Wallet
By Dan Macsai
image …After years of talk, wireless carriers, banks, startups, and handset makers are now actively working to transform Americans' cell phones into mobile wallets.

So here’s my new answer for Baby Boomers and older in Turkey (and everywhere else):

Forget about the internet (in its HTML/Flash-enhanced form).  Concentrate on Smart Phones and maybe iPad/Kindle-type devices. 

People over fifty have cell phones – and they use them.  Soon, they will all have smart phones.  The learning curve is much easier for Smart Phones and iPads.  

This means:

  1. You do not have to convince someone older to turn on a computer, log on, fumble around with a browser, etc.  It will be an easier transition from landline to cell phone to smart phone.
  2. An app for a bank can be designed to be very, very easy – as long as the fonts and numbers are big enough for older eyes.
  3. imagePromote your app in TV advertising, print – and in banks.  If someone is making a deposit, ask “Do you have a smart phone?  We can make it easy to check your balance, etc.  I will download the app for you.”  Once they know how to do one thing, they’ll be interested in doing everything else.
  4. The web/internet will not be as popular as it is today. People will use their smart phones to access the web – so the web will be redesigned and become less visual and more practical for simple searching and doing business. 

I’m less interested in specific gadgetry, more in the concept of untethered connection.  Droid, Kindle, iPhone, iPad, whatever’s next – they’re all the same to me. 

Related Post:

Digital Advertising Natives and Immigrants

Dick Stroud’s Apps for Baby Boomers

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