Sunday, August 08, 2010

Insights into new product design and the older consumer

Jo Coughlin, the founder and director MIT AgeLab has been a busy blogger.

His own blog has an interesting article about the drivers of product design. He is also featured as CNBC's guest blogger.

There were a couple of paragraphs that struck a resonance with me.
There is no physiological nor psychological reason why fun is not a design element for older adults. Rather than a problem of the user, it is instead the lack of imagination of designers, engineers and market researchers. A product such as Nintendo’s Wii, even 'old fashioned' card games, show that older consumers must be made excited to buy, use and adopt. 
Over the weekend I have been writing about the iPad and a word that I kept wanting to use is ‘fun’. Somehow it doesn’t sound very businesslike but it is powerful driver to purchase. I am glad that Jo used it in his blog.
Often, the reason older consumers do not adopt these technologies is not due to "techno-phobia" nor usability. Instead, the technologies have failed to provide compelling value to a more discriminating consumer.

There is a lot going on in the UK to try and get the 6 million older people who are not on-line to become connected. Time and time again, when articles appear about the inability of older people to use technologies there are a host of comments saying that it has nothing to do with ‘ability’ but all to do with ‘need’. Now I know that saying “I cannot see the point” is a convenient excuse for not to do something but it many cases it is correct. Dick Stroud

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