According to Department of Statistics Singapore, 13% of the country’s population consists of senior citizens. As Singapore has the highest smartphone penetration in the world, it isn’t a surprise that a large number of senior citizens use mobile apps on a regular basis. While the number of senior citizens is going to increase over time, it makes sense to develop mobile apps specifically for them. On top of that, the senior citizens of Singapore are known to be tech-savvy, you need to capitalize on this niche market. However, developing mobile apps for senior citizens isn’t as straightforward as making them for the general population. Here are a few tips that you can use for developing mobile apps for senior citizens:
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- Ensure the font is readable and large
One of the biggest problems that senior citizens face is the deterioration of vision. As a result of this, they find it much harder to read text on smartphones. If the font on your mobile app is small and thin, senior citizens will have to strain to read the content. If you want the content of your mobile app to be readable, you need to make sure that you use large font sizes.
At the same time, you also need to use the right type of font for your mobile app. Any font that belongs to sans-serif is easy to read. You can also use Roboto for Android if you don’t want to use those fonts.
- Higher contrast between background and text
When you are designing mobile apps for senior citizens, you need to focus on the colors you use for your background and text. As senior citizens may find it difficult to differentiate between colors that look similar, you need to avoid using such schemes in your mobile app. Always ensure that there is high contrast between the background and text.
Also, avoid using tones that are similar to grey as it is extremely challenging for senior citizens to differentiate these colors. You can go one step further and choose a wide gap in the tone of colors to improve the contrast significantly.
- Label your icons for better understanding
If you don’t want your target audience (senior citizens in this case) to feel confused will using your mobile app, then you need to start using labels for all your icons. As senior citizens may not recognize universal symbols, it is always better to provide labels for extra assistance.
At the same time, you need to make sure that the labels are short and simple. If you make the labels lengthy, it will be harder for senior citizens to understand the meaning of specific icons. Also, the phrases and words you use on your mobile app should be within the vocabulary of the senior citizens.
- Make use of larger touch targets
As senior citizens have lower motor skills and hand-eye coordination, it becomes challenging to use mobile apps that use smaller touch targets. On top that, if senior citizens are suffering from diseases such as Parkinsons or arthritis, their motor abilities become inconsistent and slow. To make your mobile app friendly for senior citizens, you need to ensure the touch targets in your mobile app are large.
Ensure there is sufficient space between all touch targets to reduce the number of errors or wrong taps. Also, make sure that the touch targets are not in hard to reach places such as the corners of the screen.
- Reduce text-entry as much as possible
It is difficult for senior citizens to use mobile apps when they have to enter a lot of text. As the screen estate on smartphones is limited, keyboards tend to be small. At the same time, if they have to enter text, there are high chances of errors. As personal assistants such as Google Assistant and Siri can easily work with a myriad of voices and languages, you can incorporate them into your app. If the senior citizens have to use a keyboard, make sure that your mobile app forces the smartphone to use appropriate ones. For example, if they have to enter their credit/debit card numbers, it is ideal to display a keyboard with only numbers.
- Stay away from intricate navigation techniques
At all costs, you must avoid using intricate navigation techniques such as swipes and gestures because senior citizens have lower motor skills. The user interface must be as simple as possible so that it is comfortable and convenient for senior citizens. Also, don’t use complex tap actions such as double-touch and long-press as senior citizens find it challenging to use.
Use these six tips if you want to develop mobile apps for senior citizens. However, if you are finding it challenging, why don’t you contact Robust Tech House? We have experienced developers and designers who will create the perfect app for senior citizens!
Brought to you by RobustTechHouse
Also published on Medium.