More than 50% of the UK population is now over 50. Dick Stroud faces up to the painful truths about ageing, but explodes the many marketing myths about this target group. This book is essential reading for marketing executives of all ages."
Mr. Hugh Burkitt, Chief Executive, The Marketing Society

Chapter 11 : Interactive media for older eyes, hands and minds

This chapter details how the knowledge about the effects of aging can be transformed into making interactive channels effective for older audiences. It details the practicalities of using interactive technology to fulfil, rather than frustrate, the older user.

An eighty year old can have the same attitudes, interests and zest for life as their grand, even great-great-grandchildren, but they will not possess the same quality of eyesight, dexterity and cognitive powers.

Our lifestyle and genetic history influences the form and pace of our aging but a decline in sensory and cognitive abilities is inevitable. Sorry if this sounds somewhat melodramatic, but that is how it is! The wonders of genetic engineering might change this rule, but not in the timescale of this book.

Because the Web and e-mail are the most widely used forms of interactive media the chapter focuses on ways of improving their effectiveness. The same principles and techniques are equally applicable to multimedia messaging and interactive TV channels.

There is a wide variation in the depth of involvement that marketers have in the technical implementation of their Web site and e-mail marketing. For some marketers the technical aspects of the Web and e-mail are a 'black art' they delegate to their technical experts. For others, often in smaller organisations, understanding the technical issues is part of their job.

With this in mind I have written the chapter so that the reader can select the level of detail appropriate for their needs.

Marketers make a disastrous mistake when they believe their in-house Web developers or their external Web design agency understand the science of designing for older people. Producing age-friendly Web sites is not something that web designers understand and very few of them possess more than a rudimentary knowledge of the subject.

If you decide that that your interactive channels should be as effective for the over 50s as the under 30s then your Web designers must be instructed about the requirement. This chapter helps you to formulate your instructions and gives the tools to make sure they have been followed.