Potential Changes to the Phone (iOS)

Possible Changes will be recorded in this Blogpost:

Several Settings are not showed and Screen-Brightness and Volume are on Maximume Blocked (fixed). This can be changed in Settings, on how much to block the brightness and sound.

Disabled Apps are Grey and blocked, and can be removed in total from the Homescreen. Special Kontacts (Family) can be added for an imidiate call.

All Settings are blocked and can only be unblocked by the Senior Block – App (Name is not fixed yet)

Even here all App-Settings are blocked and can only be unlocked by the Seior-Block app, which is not grey. The only problem here is, in-App alerts such as location, etc. have to be unlocked before. Here is some problemsolving required.

How does the App-Development Process look like?

It is far more easy to develop for Android because Apple is way more strict! It is hard to pass the Apple-Store test. Here it is even more difficult as the app has to have accress on the software to freeze and block features, which is a big “No way” at first for Apple and also Android. However-easier with Android.

Let’s say we start with Android. How do we develope an app?

As we start with Android, we would define the genral features first and then build 2 prototypes. One For the app itself and one for a faked end result on the freezed smartphone, to see how seniors will cope with that and look for other suggestions, problems and so on. When finished with changes with both prototypes, eye tracking tests on the second prototype with seniors will be necessary. When every problem (at least for the beginning) is eleminated, we can proceed to find developers.

The question is, will there be ads in the free app, or will it be an 1,99€ app. The second choice will be better probably because this is usually an app that you open once and never again as it works in the background. It even has to work through turning on and off your mobile device.

How to make an intuitive App for Android

There are Android app-design guidlines: https://guides.codepath.com/android/Android-Design-Guidelines.

They also keep you updated on new changes: https://material.io/develop/android/components

Same as iOS, Android always works with a dark and bright theme. Design can change over the years and updates and trends and currently its the “Material Style”. No oppacity but layers, structure and strong colors with dropdownshadows to make it look like paper. The Shadow helps to show that layer, like an elevated look. (Trancparancy with iOS).

Animations in apps are handeled with curved motion that pushes other content away or to the side.

The current android color pallete also doesn’t have to be folllowed in apps but if you want to, here is there color theme: https://materialui.co/colors/

Android even offers their guidline navigation code: https://developer.android.com/guide/topics/ui/look-and-feel

They use the App bar above, a tab bar, navigation on the left side and floating action buttons. Every single feature is offered in code form for easy access for developers!

They also offer their guidlined icons: https://fonts.google.com/icons?selected=Material+Icons

As Android has developed foldable smartphones, it is necessary to think responsive and work with cubic grids.

Android uses way more gestures (too many if you ask me). Include them in your app if you want: https://support.google.com/android/answer/9079644?hl=en#zippy=

Difference between iOS & Android:

What could be LESS for senior-Smartphones to make them MORE efficient.

There could be a differenciation between following features to the App:

  • Can be removed/darkened in grey
  • Can be adjusted to than be fixed

Adjustable to than be fixed:

  • Brightness and the volume can be adjusted to then not be editable outside the App-Konfiguration-Mode.
  • Apps and their location
  • Code and Password and FaceID
  • Wifi and Bluetooth Connections
  • “Do not Disturb”
  • Sounds and Ringtones
  • SOS Call
  • Home Screen Background and Watch Face
  • Font size and Language
  • Internetpages

Removed or darkened and frozen:

  • Apps
  • Darkmode
  • Flashlight
  • Wallet
  • Screenlock
  • App Library

How to make an intuitive but minimal App for iOS

People learned to use their phone and learned specific movements, directions and typical orientations. To not interrupt the learning, Designers adpt on those learned behavior that showed to work and here are a few rules for iOs.

  • The importance is located always in the left upper corner to the right lower corner. Apps in the upper left Corner are ore important then Apps in the lower right corner. The same goes for features. Logos, Homebuttons, back buttons, Main features are usually located on the left upper corner.
  • Alerts and other functions are layers not windows
  • In general work in layers, use trancparency
  • An App can have both, a navigation bar and a tab bar, on the contrary there is Android that uses Tab bars and side Navigatios that is either a layer or a block that moves the content to the side.
  • The user always needs feedback: Is the app loading, is there something wrong, did it send the information etc. By using highlights/effects the user will know, that there is a reaction to his action. By using loading bars or percentages, the user won’t get unsure but will wait untill the end as he sees the progress.

Here is a link to Guidlines for iOS:

https://developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guidelines/ios/overview/themes/

And an iOS Design Handbook:

https://designcode.io/ios-design-handbook

iOS has defined system colors which don’t have to be followed in the app!

Difference between iOS & Android:

How to make phones usefull for older people?

Seniors are easily overwhlemed with to much fast information. They are from another time and brains don’t learn faster with age, it is the opposite. In order to help with too much to learn, limitting functions, reactions and options to the most comfortable and usefull once is key here.

Seniors are not interested in memes, podcasts, online shopping, digital files or navigation. They learned the minimal old way to find their way but with the globalization they still wanna keep contact with their family and be able to see them in Video-calls and more. A phone is a smart device to do so but it comes with too many features for seniors.

A block-app that allows to freeze features and put the important abilities on the main Homescreen could be the solution.

If a Senior is better with more features or maybe is interested in, let’s say, sports streaming or E-Mails, then this can just be added to the Home-Screen and not frozen. Also interest helps the brain to learn better, so grandparents that are interested into a specific more advanced feature are capable of learning it because passion drives them.

That means the app target group is actually the younger relatives and not the grandparents, but the outcome is indirectly targeted to seniors. The app is customizable by relatives or phone-services at shops.

Why do complicated digital devices work for us?

Cropped shot of a group of colleagues using their smart phones in synchronicity

Phones and other devices are packed with funkctions and options, so many, we do not even use. Why are we not overwhelemed with it and why do we keep using and learning more and more funcktions?

Well I have no clear answer to it, but observing this topic and my main topic together, i see a difference.

A difference in why older people need less funktions, or options taken from them to be able to use the devices, and why the new generations implement their devices so well.

First its the aspect “growing up”. Growing up with implemented systems and habits is easy and builds a general understanding for system and new changes in the system. This is missing for the older generation as the invention of phones and computers was targeted to a younger audience making the gap even larger. So many years passed thinking older people won’t need it, noone teaching them, noone inventing a version for seniors…. Many years fell into this ignoring gap.

The second aspect is “the circle around”. If you have work, friends, entertainment and school around you, that basically forces you to use multiple funkctions on your devices, you learn to implement it into your life and work even faster with it. It really does make your life easier with more functions.

The third aspect that i see is “reachability”. A phone is small, thin and always in your pocket, making it very accessible. So much even that we unconsciously learned a habit-movement like reaching always for our phone, checking if it is still there or any notifications or even the time without really reading the time. We even forgot the “Watch” movement, although it is coming back with the Smart-watches.

The fourth aspect is “repetition, memory and singals”. Having many sources of notifications that use the same device like friends, family, work or school makes us always ready for signals like ringtones, vibrations and so one. So we are aware of them and react to them so we constantly rech to our phone wich gets us to “repetition”. As we learn all the smart touches and movements, those implement into our memory. We swipe, we zoom, we learn all those comands.

Older people are not in those circles, do not react or hear those signals and so they do not learn those smart touches and movements, therefore it never implements into their life as the “automaticality” or “automotoricality” never reaches a point where it is not hard to work with anymore.

So it is very important to work in their needs to make devices simplier for them without cutting them from families that are in those smart-device-circles. This will be in the next post.

Why did primitive Things stay that way?

Some things were invented as a tool, very simple, but never got updated. Why? Because the simplicity and the habit of using it worked and got implemented well into a daily life.

For example Keyboards, Instruments or glasses. Some things stay the same to honor a tradition or a culture, like said before, instruments. But others worked in their simple usability.

The first Keyboard had the same Look and arrangement of letters like nowerdays. Of course the technique behind it updated to electronic devices.

It is not like noone tried to change them in their funkctionality and usability with hopes to make them even better or easier, but these inventions did not implement because first of all, it was an intervention in the learned usability from the products before and second of all, they tried to put more functions on it. People didn`t like that. Simplicity is key.

Do you know those “Call now” comercials, where they try to sell you a kitchenproduct that can do all the things? How many people who fell for it actually use it? At the end they think it is easier to just use a knife and cut vegetables before trying to unpack the gadget and clean every unrechable blade or whole afterwards. Putting too much into something makes it too complicated, expecially when it is unpracticly in size, storage or rechability.

Other inventions that always stayed the same for it’s simplicity:

Glasses, books, cutlery, pencils, money, etc.

This post opens up a question:

“But why are Computers and mobile devices working for us even tho they are packed with functions, even more than we ever use?” – I will try to find the answer to that in my next post.

Manipulation through Reduction

Taking away options can make life easier. Take away.

How can a Smartphone be easy for Seniors or how can an unhealthy lifestyle change without hard work? I am trying to understand the process to create the ultimative App for Seniors with a modern phone.

People follow into steps from other people and their previos actions and get manipulated wthout noticing.

The first one to show a behavior or a pattern effects others and invisibly codes new situational rules.

For example: the first one to use a bycicle-basket as a bin will lead others to do so as well and gives the basket a new funkction.

That is a natural instinct from the reptillian brain which we can use as an advantage for us. Patrick Renvoise, a Neuromarketing expert works in this field and manipulates/triggers the reptillian brain of customers to make them want something without making them feel pressured to do so.

Is There a Buy Button Inside the Brain: Patrick Renvoise at TEDxBend – YouTube

That means, placing a red carpet on a festival would make people throw less waste on the ground, combining it with basketball-bins would make them WANT to hit the shot but actually to not litter the environment.

Puting a sign on the pissoir to not miss, will not do the work, but sticking a fly inside the pissoir will trigger the reptilian brain, the hunting instinct, to catch the fly and not make a mess in the bathroom. Take away the signs that tell them what to do. Take away the choice. Take away.

Telling people what to do or letting them know that you take something away from them, will trigger the oposite reaction. But silently manipulating their behavior makes wonders.

You can actually use your lazyness as an advantage. Is your lifestyle bad? Do you always choose the shorter, easier way with the least effort? Are you starting to ignore your favourite tasks and Hobbys, just because something easier is in the way?

Use Laziness To Your Advantage – The 20 Second Rule – YouTube

Basically make the way to easy, unhealthy habits longer, harder and put your hobbies in front of you or keep them ready. Like Taking out the batteries from the TV remote and keeping them far away, but having your bycicle next to the door and not in the basement or sleeping in fresh gymclothes for the next day will automatically make your habits better. Take away the easyness from lazy tasks. Take away.

The same thing has to happen for ma application. Take away Error-zones, problem areas, difficulties, too many choices and options, leave them with a modern phone and whatsapp to send pictures to their family, but block for example the brightness or settings. Take away possible problems. Take away.

There are several Apps or phones on the market but all of them didn`t pass the critics test.