Is your organization developing its own app? Or maybe redesigning a website that includes several forms? Or just looking to refresh a dated design? If so, it is imperative to consider your entire user base and their needs.
At the recent Connected Health Conference in October, several sessions spoke to the importance of inclusive design in connected health solutions. Examples of factors that should be kept in mind when designing user interfaces (UI) include:
- Know your users. If your application or other digital property requires a user to enter a date of birth, consider the most efficient way to do this. For example, using drop-down lists for month, date and year is very simple … except for older people. Baby boomers are those who have to scroll a long, long way down a drop-down list to find their year of birth, so factor that into your design consideration.
- Potential barriers to access. If a user doesn’t have or can’t access the technology, the best content or app in the world won’t be of much use. Barriers to accessing digital content are many, including:
- Not having a smartphone, or not knowing how to use features on a smartphone
- Having an older phone that apps can’t be downloaded to
- Not being able to afford a phone
- Having more pressing concerns, like not having a home or a job
- Life changes. The most connected people can encounter life situations that may affect their connectivity. For example, a healthy, active senior reaches retirement age and after retirement, loses motivation to continue with healthy activities. A young, pregnant woman who has only a few months until delivery to change behaviors has different motivations from someone who has had diabetes for several years. Thus, messaging will be different in these situations.
These factors and more must be considered when developing digital properties for connected health. If a user feels an app isn’t designed for him or her, then it is of no value to that user, and any potential good it might have brought is lost.