High inflation and insufficient savings for retirement is leading many older workers to delay or even abandon retirement plans. Research in the Harvard Business Review suggests that multigenerational teams can enhance productivity and performance, given that team members are willing to learn from their differences, as noted by researcher Megan Gerhardt.
“Silver workers” is a term that refers to individuals who are aged 50 or 55 and above, who are still active in the workforce.
It’s not correct however to assume that older people have a lower level of digital literacy. Given that the web has been widely accessible for about 25 years now - and smartphones for over 10, it’s likely that these silver workers have been using these technologies for a significant portion of their working lives.
When considering the digital experience for this demographic, several key factors - perhaps wrongly - spring to mind: Accessibility (A11y), loading speed, and the use of jargon to name three.
Accessibility refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people who experience disabilities. It’s crucial to ensure that digital platforms are accessible to all users, including those who may have visual or hearing impairments, or other physical or cognitive disabilities.
Loading speed is a critical aspect of user experience. Slow loading times can frustrate users and may cause them to abandon a site or app - or just make their digital workplace harder to use.
Avoiding jargon and using plain language can make content more accessible and understandable to a wider range of users, including those who may not be as familiar with certain terms or concepts.
However, these considerations should not only be limited to silver workers and the ‘unretired’. They are best practices in all digital product design and should be followed to improve the user experience for all demographics.
For instance, heuristic usability evaluation can be a useful tool for improving digital experiences. NNG’s 10 usability heuristics are a set of principles for user interface design, and applying them can help ensure that a digital product is easy to use and meets the needs of a diverse range of users, not just the unretired.
In conclusion, the best approach to digital product design is to understand your users and follow established best practices.
As we prepare to begin 2024, I’m hopeful that designers can strive to create a user experience that is accessible, efficient, and user-friendly for everyone.