One of the most important takeaways from the Silvers Summit panels was that all of the entrepreneurs presenting products was their focus on the melding of hardware, software AND SERVICE. While some tech companies do not offer great tech support (think of Dell a few years ago) nor want you to call their support lines, these ‘elder tech’ companies not only want their users to call, they consider it part of their competitive advantage. These entrepreneurs focused on their hardware/software design (and outsourced the manufacturing) but also went to great lengths to win the loyalty is the service through support / installation / maintenance. Hard to imagine Apple, Sony or Panasonic having a separate support line for the 55+ market when their focus is to get you off and on as fast as possible.
At the end of the conference, I sat there and thought about how 1.5 years ago my mother did not want an Apple Iphone and now she is convincing her friends and sisters to upgrade to an Iphone when their contracts are up. As much as people may bitch about how un-“senior friendly” the user interface on the Iphone, my 60+ mother loves it for a number of reasons even though her eyes are going bad and even her sisters who are in their seventies are getting on the bandwagon after they get trained. At first they say “I don’t need all these things” and after 6 months the attitudes change. For her, there will be no going back to a simple cell phone. While she may not be the “norm”, she’s proof that those who are initially resistant can adapt with training and time.
Will seniors adapt to these ‘unfriendly’ interfaces by necessity (or no other choice) at first and then by choice after sometime? Probably.
From: " Review Of Senior Technology Products & Silvers Summit @ CES 2010….."
Great points. "For her, there will be no going back to a simple cell phone..."
A good reminder that agism sucks, and is generally misplaced. The first people I knew using Skype were my GRANDPARENTS. My dad moved to Minnesota and VoIP was a quick, cheap, easy way for them to communicate.
Check your assumptions about age and consumer health technology at the door.