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Thursday, September 05, 2013

Smartphones for seniors and boomers. I am not sure this is the way forward.



If you have access to the WSJ you can read a good review about the new Jitterbug phone. The phone comes from the Chinese company Huawei and it runs a two-year-old version of Android. Nothing wrong with that but it seems that the way the interface that makes it easy for oldies to use and how this links to the native operating system might have a few bugs.

This is the problem I have with interfaces that are built to simplify the way the devices were designed to work. Unless this is done brilliantly, the result is that the product becomes harder rather than easier to use.

Just look at challenge. Build an interface that not only works now but will continue to work as the native operating changes. Add to that the issue of ensuring that the combination of the operating systems keeps working in the hyper fast world of apps.

Difficult.

Laurie Orlov has written a very good blog about the problems with mobile phones and oldies.

I know the solution and I know exactly how the future will look.

Yep, I just know I am right about this one. At some stage, maybe it has already happened, maybe it will be in two year's time, the designers at Google and Apple will wake-up to the needs of the ageing population and will modify their operating systems to reflect the physiological difficulties of the zillions of older people who physically struggle to use their products.

At the moment there is the dreaded 'Accessibility Controls' that are firmly aimed at people with disabilities. What the manufactures will come to see is the spectrum of needs that different older people have. My eyesight is not too bad but my hearing is not good. The dexterity is not bad but I am sure that will change. What is needed is the ability to change the way the operating system works depending on the individual's specific requirements.

If anybody from Apple is reading this blog then I would delighted to spend some time with you in California telling you how this should work for some exorbitant consultacy fee.

Maybe Samsung has beaten everybody to the punch?



 Dick Stroud

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