20 October 2011

Baby Boomers & Smartphones

It was way back in 2007 when I blogged a bit about smartphones vs. simple cell phones, listing “The Good” and “The Bad”:

The real issue:
Marketers assuming that if you're over fifty you're automatically a member of one and only one age demographic - all with the same needs and wants.

It’s not a question of dumbing down technology for Baby Boomers (we invented and were the first users of most of this stuff) – but more a question of universal design, easy-to-handle knobs and controls, bigger fonts and correct color contrasts…

A few experts on this subject:

Smartphones & Usability
Jakob Nielsen:
How do you design mobile applications for older people? With great care.


imageTech & Baby Boomers: Universal Design vs. Universally Dull
Dr. Joseph Coughlin
The convergence of technology and global ageing is driving new business opportunities, innovations in service delivery and the promise of a better life tomorrow for older adults …

Fat fingers are no barrier to using the iPhone
By Dick Stroud
The first video is from the Ellen DeGeneres show. It is an amusing parody of the Apple's iPhone 4 ad. I have to say I think it contains a smidgen of truth.

So four years later it’s nice to find another expert with a practical list of smartphone features he uses regularly:

imageSmartphone Features for Baby Boomers
by Robert Fowler
… I found my smartphone easy to use and now understand it’s features and how it will help me in my daily life. I think Boomers will continue to discover the benefits of smartphones  and find them useful like I did.  As we get older using technology will make life easier and more manageable.

For all smartphone designers to remember: an easy-to-grip handle on a utensil is not ‘dumbing down’.