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Adaptive Design for Older Generation


Everything is designed. But all are not good for users to use. As product designers, we must ensure that our products are usable, understandable, and enjoyable to use.

Design for the elderly is a significant concern as we target the elderly. Every project should deal with this because some young people, like elders, have disabilities. Like physical weakness, vision problems, hearing difficulties, and difficulty remembering something. We should make it entertaining and usable for everyone, including people with disabilities. Everybody should be able to access design.

Here I’ll discuss what things should be considered when designing for elderly. Hopefully, these will help designers to improve their designs. 

Older users have narrower visual ranges, which makes it harder for them to block out distractions or irrelevant stimuli on the interface and causes them to concentrate more on the center of the interface. We should consider following :


Big enough elements:

Larger font buttons and other elements, sufficient tapable or clickable area on respective devices, more color contrast, breathing space for separating elements, and strong sound signifiers are important for accessible design. They are useful for older persons to use digital devices.



Cognitive load:

Those who are older cannot deal with more information as effectively as younger people. When designing, we should take a cognitive load into consideration. Attempt to present them with the least amount of cognitive strain possible. Moreover, try to recognize them and don’t let them remember any additional information.

The total cognitive load, or amount of mental processing power needed to use your site, affects how easily users find content and complete tasks. Read article… 


Strong feedback: 

When people interact with any object or digital device, they expect to understand what is going on after exerting effort. It is essential to pay attention to every micro effort a user makes and provide feedback. A good system will always require some kind of feedback: obvious, visible, understandable reactions from the UI or the device. We should enable strong feedback, especially for elderly people, to make them understandable. Also, sometimes we should skip feedback, and this is dependent on the context.


Visual hierarchy and balance: 

A visual hierarchy is a technique for telling a story through user interfaces. We can help people in prioritizing and interacting with the elements that we provide. We emphasize some elements over others through visual hierarchy, and as a result, users consume information in the way we want. Because we know the story we’re telling them, we should make it as easy as possible for them to consume information.

A pleasing visual balance can improve users’ experiences. Destructive visual balance, such as excessive brightness, contrast, or color combinations, can make people choose not to use your services. We should pay closer attention to visual balance, especially for older people, as they are more likely to leave your business if they find it difficult to use.



When a user perceives complexity or is unfamiliar with a task, we can use assistive tools such as signifiers, sounds, or video tutorials. It could be very small or large, depending on the context. Sometimes the latest technology and features can be unfamiliar to the elderly. We could implement helping materials based on research findings. It will ensure a more satisfying experience.



For digital services that have different types of users, we can enable features for older people based on their age. At the very beginning, we can ask their age, for over age people we can provide them a bit different interfaces. It will cost more but ensure a better experience that will increase brand value. NB: Before doing this, please calculate the additional cost and potential outcome.



Design should help people live better and smarter lives. Design research allows us to create designs that make our lives more beautiful. By following best practices and usability guidelines, we can make the product usable and accessible for all users, including older people and those who have disabilities.