Designing For and Supporting Older Users

If the user is rather more ‘experienced’ in life and on the other side of middle age, it’s quite easy for us to attribute an error to their age rather than say their actual cognitive ability. But is there actually any science here? Or is it all ageist garbage?

via 4 ways to support an older website user – Humanising Technology Blog.

A look at some academic articles about designing and supporting an application with older users in mind. The research finds that for older users, it is especially important to avoid putting to much cognitive strain on the users. Therefore it is especially important to strive for simplicity.

The author also points out the important fact that you should not blame the user for the problems they are having with your application. This reminds me of something that Andrew Spittle pointed out, “if a feature or product were legitimately easy the user would not be writing in to support about how stuck they are”.

The moral is that when it comes to older users, the same mantra applies: Strive for simplicity. After all, a design is done not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

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