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Banks are shortsighted when it comes to seniors

How do we design user interfaces for the elderly?

Photo of Vhalerie Lee
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Only 18% of seniors use mobile banking versus 67% of millennials. One of the reasons why is because seniors find it hard to navigate user interfaces designed to be understood by millennials. Nielsen Norman found out that visual acuity is a hindrance for seniors as web design is not intuitive enough. Users above 40 prefer larger fonts as well. In designing user interfaces, avoid pull down menus and complicated navigation.


What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Don't also revamp user interfaces often as seniors write down step-by-step instructions on how to navigate the website.

Tell us about your work experience:

I'm pursuing MS Integrated Digital Media at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Previously, I have worked with broadcast and TV networks in building digital video OTT products.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Faizan

Vhalerie Lee So is this an interface problem or a technology problem? It's one thing that online banking/investing sites are not made to be user-friendly for elders, but what if it's just that they are not educated about the markets? 

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Thanks Vhalerie for bringing this into the conversation here. This is a huge problem.  My experience is that some seniors won't even attempt using apps because they are too frustrating.  
A few older seniors I know use voice recognition to get information from cell phones.  Perhaps verbal instructions or information on what steps to take to use the app, that can be accessed while using the app, might also help.  

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thanks Vhalerie for sharing this information. I think taking into account UX issues is indeed important. Beyond font size issues, I think there are also issues related to information display and I believe that better design could help all. See for example what this company did for loan:

Photo of Vhalerie Lee

Thanks for this example, Anne-Laure! I think bigger buttons on the screen would help. Older people who have early stages of Parkinson's disease have shaky hands as well

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Vhalerie!

Thank you for sharing your insights with us. Would you be able to give a few examples of websites with a really good user experience for seniors (Anne-Laure gave an example below)?

Photo of Vhalerie Lee

Hey Kate! I find the Youtube for Kids app really simple. Ironically, kids these days are more adept to learn complex user interfaces versus seniors, who are easily intimidated with the number of buttons on the screen. My 6 year old niece knows how to navigate apps better than her grandmother. My parents also prefer using a tablet over a desktop computer because they don't like the keyboard and mouse. So it might be worth testing this theory to design with kids in mind to make the UI as simple as possible, and see how seniors interact with the UI.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Congrats on this being today's Featured Contribution!

Photo of Vhalerie Lee

Thanks for picking me as today's featured contribution!