13 September 2007

Designing for the elderly: targeting the voice of experience

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Designing for the elderly
Via Core77, I came to the Modern Plastics Worldwide website, which has a good article up on Universal Design, or “Inclusive Design,” as they’re now calling it.

As the populations of America, Asia and Europe continue to grey at an unprecedented rate, more and more objects will need to be designed to be elderly-friendly.

“How to design for this burgeoning group of consumers? Well, don’t, at least not specifically, recommends Davin Stowell, CEO of product design firm Smart Design (New York). He says designers should not limit themselves to products specifically marketed to the aged or elderly, except for extreme products. “We’re becoming a more youthful society,” he notes, not in terms of average age but with reference to how people perceive themselves.

His recommendation: think in terms of ‘universal,’ or better yet, ‘inclusive’ design. Using lighter materials, combining materials with greater contrasts to make products easier to see or for backlighting, and using of soft-touch or other easily handled grips: all are examples of design aspects that appeal to seniors but also offer benefits to most other users, too.”

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