Dear Tech Product Designers,
Virge asked readers if “new and improved” tech product updates are actually considered an improvement by older users. The conversation brings up a larger question of older adults being considered in product design – and why it matters who is at the table when decisions are made.
Virge kicked off the Open Thread with feedback on too-small screen and font sizes, the need for improved volume control options, why non-intuitive procedures take up space and time, and dissatisfaction with hard-to-hold devices. Readers commented in droves that they couldn’t agree more – and shared both frustrations and suggestions for improvements.
It’s worth highlighting some of the frustrations caused by tech and tech updates:
“Restaurant menus on QR codes just make me cranky! Please, just give me a paper menu.” – Susan W.
“Please remember that not everyone has the money or mental ability to adapt to a completely new technology, let alone some of the abbreviations used in the instructions.” – Carolyn B.
Many of the commented frustrations are rooted in the understandable desire to have technology ready at the fingertips (without a pending update) – when needed:
“I want to use and enjoy what I have, not run out to buy more stuff I don’t need or want.” – Dr. Jacqueline F.
Readers posed simple solutions that could be invaluable to product designers:
“Although designers may think that grey text is more sophisticated than black, it is much less “accessible” for us older folks!” – M.R.
“I’ve often thought a tech company should make a computer and iPhone with basic capabilities that would last. Or perhaps like cars – have a basic model with optional upgrades one could purchase I’d you need/want them.” – Lois L.
In conclusion, developers, hear our cry! And from previous tech insider Jo C.:
“I sincerely hope developers read and understand our concerns. After spending 25+ years in the tech industry, I know they can do better.” – Jo Crull
Have more to say about this topic? We’ll keep this posted for a while so you can add your ideas, second thoughts, or even third thoughts. Keep sending your thoughts in the comments and we’ll revisit this topic again!
Until next time,
Suzanne Myklebust is Senior Planet’s Director of Communications – stepping in to post this Open Thread Update for Senior Planet’s Managing Editor Virge Randall while she is out of town. Send your suggestions for future Open Threads to Virge at email@example.com.