How To Design with the Elderly in Mind:
Most designers come from a younger generation and often times forget that the elderly are utilizing their technology, and their numbers are growing. There are over 2 Million apps available on your mobile phone and 165,000 of those are mobile health apps.
Digital Health is an inclusive category and your app should be designed for all age groups to ensure its ease of use among the users by even the least technology literate. Here are 5 quick tips to consider when designing an application which likely will be used by an older audience.
- Font Size
(Font Size and Style Matters. Use Open Sans and San-Serif fonts.)
Vision loss often develops as we age. Keep font size as large as possible, depending on the device. If your app is aimed at an older audience, the font needs to be visible and clear. As well as the style.
Farsightedness is a common vision problem as one age making it harder to see and read to see things close to them, thus requiring reading glasses. When designing your applications, consider keeping your font to a minimum. Simple typefaces are recommended.
Certain colors can be harder to read as vision diminishes one. Avoid blue text and keep contrast levels high. A good example of this is having a white or light color background with black color font color. These type of font colors are easier to navigate.
- Button Size
(Source: Open Source Android Buttons)
Minimize the number of button selections on each screen and increase the button size, keeping it big enough for someone to tap with the human finger. How big should you make the tap size? Apple recommends 44 pixels wide and 44 pixels tall.
A good article by Smashing Magazine highlights some of the best practices for finger-friendly design. The article shares that 45- 57 pixels is the recommended for index fingers. For the thumb, then the target should be 72 pixels wide. It is not always practical to design buttons this way, but these recommended pixels are ideal. Keep in mind that many seniors probably are not leveraging the latest design outside of Facebook or other popular apps.
An app designed with audio or read aloud option will greatly assist users who have disabilities or are completely blind. Having audio that says the name of the action item or the information being shown to them in your app would also provide great assistance for these users.
An example of an app with a good design with audio is Duolingo, a language-learning app. An older audience can navigate through the screen, and when they click on the specific word it is said in the language they understand.
- Ease of Use
Since elderly may not use your application to its optimum capability it would be recommended to test. Remember to always test your application with an older audience before releasing it to the public.
The ability to see, use and understand the functionalities of an app will increase engagement. In Digital Health, there are questions about Patient Engagement data. A patient-centered design strategy and testing you targeted audience with specific pilots, will help ensure a positive reception by your users.
A Digital Health revolution is coming. It is the designer’s responsibility to ensure everyone can utilize the tools that can make their lives better. We believe that inclusive design, testing and making an app usable the targeted audience is important.
Looking for mobile health solution with good design and user interface for your Health organization? Drop us a line and we’ll let you know how we can help.