Designing for Grannie
Grannies aren’t what they used to be.
My grandmother was British and would spend her days playing bridge, gossiping with her friends and conning my father into doing things for her. My mother uncharitably claimed that she lived to be a very old woman because she had never had a job or really worked a day in her life. She didn’t have a Facebook account or a cell phone. To her, a laptop was somewhere you folded your hands while you waited patiently for someone to hand you a cup of tea.
Today, grannies can be very different. They are 25% likely to have a degree. Grannie is also 30% likely to still be in the workforce. Sixty-five is the new 40. Grannie is also 60% likely to be a regular Facebook user and 66% likely to be an email user. She is 63% likely to stream videos. 11% of Computer Gamers who claim they play games “often” are over 65 with Grannies playing ever so slightly more than Grand Dad. Grannie beats long distance tariffs by using Facetime when she calls. She is struggling with the cloud because it’s a good thing to keep all her photos backed up and periodically she likes to know where her iPhone is when she misplaces it.
As a UX designer, I would never have dreamed of designing with my Grannie in mind, but I sure do expect to consider today’s grandmothers when I design an interface. Though modern grannies are more technically competent and their sphere of influence is much bigger; they are still subject to the same aging process that my grandmother experienced. This talk will explore some of the items that a designer should consider when designing for this new user who is becoming a bigger part of society.
We will cover the human factors and design drivers of the following areas:
• Changed in Vision;
• Changes in Motor control;
• Hearing changes with age;
• Speech changes for those designing audio interfaces;
• Age related changes in cognition
• Reference Knowledge to expect in this group.
In the long run, we all become Silver Surfers if we are lucky. In the short run, we are limiting the addressable markets for our products if we don’t consider their needs.