Do you think there is enough apps on the market adjusted to senior users (65+)?

Aga Kopczynska
10 replies
Hi! Reading the research from 2017 (https://www.pewresearch.org/inte...) I found out that smartphone ownership among US older adults had jumped from 18% to 42% since 2013. Assuming it has been growing since I think there are not that many apps that are customized for these people. What do you think about that?
yes, there is enough
no, there should be more

Replies

Man behind the Under Cloud.
Hi @agnieszka_kopczynska, an excellent question that — for me at least — is difficult to answer, as I'm not in that age group. That said, it depends on two things: 1. what seniors are doing on and with digital devices; 2. and how open they are to doing other things. It's not a given that once they're using a mobile device that it would open the flood gates to other things — I would imagine reading the news, doing a crossword or sudoku, and some Skype-like service with relatives would be their base. My dad has a Kindle, and aside from buying things (I have to do the actual ordering, as he struggles to do it himself), reading the news, and getting weather updates, he's reluctant to use or learn anything else in case it becomes a vector to some scam or another, and that seems to match with some of the things I've been reading about seniors.
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Hi @waynesmallman, thank you for your answer :) I think you're absolutely right that digital devices usage depends on many factors and I agree with what you've said about the base (I would also add healthcare apps - blood sugar monitoring, etc.). Still I think there is a lot to do from the tech&design&user experience side to encourage seniors' digital devices usage. What you've said about your dad I completely get it and putting aside unpleasant scum experiences, in my opinion making more of uncomplicated and functional apps might help lower our parents' digital anxiety.
Man behind the Under Cloud.
Hi @agnieszka_kopczynska, the healthcare angle is good, and also connects with the point made by @khannavid, in that relatives could be co-contributors to the input of data, so multi-user accounts and such.
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Product Manager, Dragon-hunter
@agnieszka_kopczynska I see things a little different than Wayne. I think "App Usage" of this age group is irrelevant. Let me give you an example: If you make an app to connect blind people, your target group in AdWords probably shouldn't be blind people. But you can target their families. I think it's the same problem with more senior users. Of course, your app should be very easy-to-use, but there's nothing unsolvable about it. Another good approach would be making bots for popular messengers. A lot of older users use Whatsapp, Telegram, etc. If you bring something useful to these old familiar platforms, it makes everything more easy.
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Man behind the Under Cloud.
Hi @khannavid, the AdWords targeting is an excellent point; while dad paid for the Kindle, I was the one who made the initial recommendation and then sorted out the purchase.
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Love to create
I believe an application that stimulates the mind for seniors would be a big hit. My grandfather passed away last year from Parkinson's and I truly feel it is was because after retirement he stopped reading and doing mental exercises daily. He spent his days mindlessly tuned into Fox News. I am a firm believer that if you don't use it you loose it. Your brain that is 😊
Here to learn
I've been thinking about this question a lot during quarantine, since it impacts so many 65+: going to grocery is risky, more loneliness, etc.. In my experience (family + selling products... not sure if research backs it up), people 65+ tend to be more wary of putting financial info into an app, and thus, maybe aren't using products like Instacart and other grocery delivery when they should be. Also, it may be that the products are just too complicated. I would also love to see more social apps tailored for senior users, considering the amount of loneliness that quarantine has caused. I think there's a lot of potential there! On a bit of a sad/cynical note, I've also wondered if part of why there is a lack of products is driven by a strictly economic view: tailoring products/teaching technology is costly, and customers 65+ have a limited time to be customers, thus limited return on investment. The next cycle of 65+ customers will be familiar with the existing tech. Not sure how much truth is here, but I suspect a bit. How a society treats the eldest says a lot. We'll all eventually be 65+, and there will be new technology that is hard to learn. I hope that we can build more empathy towards these users, and that future generations will have empathy to me when I become a 65+ user!
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Here to learn
@jiawen_ngeow thanks for your reply and insight! Agree 100% with the education gap. I just wonder if we overestimate our ability to learn new tech and underestimate how much technology will change in ~50 yrs. If you have any thoughts from your idea bank you would be willing to share I would love to read!
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