2022 marks two years since the pandemic began. The impact it has had on our relationship with communication and technology is substantial and over the last couple of years, we have seen a huge shift in consumer behaviour, particularly among the senior demographic. So, what does this mean for the year ahead?
With the growth in popularity of online retail and entertainment, it’s clear that consumers have embraced digital solutions – a trend that shows no signs of slowing. As a result, older users have become much more confident using their personal technology. Whether this has come as a result of increased use of video calling, purchasing goods and services online or using social media platforms, it’s undoubtedly led to a wider shift in the demand and behaviour of this user base.
Consumers are far more willing and open to use technology in their daily lives and mobile phone providers, ourselves included, are heightening their focus on tools and services which look to address evolving wants and needs of the customer when it comes to product preferences. These innovations have come in many forms; from the intuitive menus to the improvement of customer online journeys and upgrading of digital comms and marketing.
And when it comes to product preferences, there are a number of trends that we’ve identified among our older user base, who we know favour accessible yet functional, modern technology.
Over the last eighteen months, connectivity has arguably become more vital than ever before. While confidence in using technology has grown, this has meant that for many seniors, having the right blend between accessibility and functionality in the technology they use is crucial.
We’ve seen that older users are increasingly demanding well developed, easy-to-use technology, with 88% of seniors stating so within our research. Devices with high quality sound, screens and design materials, accompanied by intuitive features, are helping to meet these requirements.
We know that, as we approach older age, some things don’t work quite the way they used to. Our eyesight can deteriorate, and our hearing and dexterity often worsen as well. Devices that come equipped with features – from hearing aid compatibility to adjustable font size settings and easy set-up processes – provide the user with additional support to meet a varying range of needs.
We’ve seen through the success of our feature phones – which follow a more traditional candy bar and clamshell design – that these intuitive design features are extremely important for many older users. Featuring large, well-separated buttons and no touchscreen, these devices are ideal for those who aren’t quite ready for a smartphone and want to focus on calls and texts with their family and friends.
When it comes to smartphones, there are additional factors to take into account to ensure evolving senior demands are met. For example, with our Doro smartphones, we implement exclusive user interface features for the user. This means that apps, messages and settings are presented in an inclusive, easy-to-navigate way and, much like on our feature phones, are complemented by specialist features such as loud and clear sound.
With further dependence being placed on mobile phone technology in 2022, these are features that are often overlooked by phone and technology manufacturers, which are truly valuable to this demographic. It’s these design features which improve the overall user experience for seniors, giving them the option to make small customisations to best suit their needs.
And crucially, the way in which these devices can support wider care and safety systems is key for many older users and their relatives.
Looking to 2022 and the years to come, we continue to recognise the heightened role that technology plays in levelling-up the experience for seniors and their loved ones when it comes to providing care.
The last eighteen months have highlighted the important role that technology plays in both communication and care for seniors and their loved ones, or what we call the ‘Circle of Care’.
We have seen an increase in demand for products that tie in with a wider ecosystem. This is a trend that we’re going to see accelerate in 2022 and, rather than standalone devices, IoT systems will provide the senior market with new opportunities, providing that they are clear and straightforward to use.
Our Response by Doro service offers a glimpse of the possibilities and added safety potential that technology like this provides to older users. Response by Doro can be activated via the Response button*, which is located on the back of the phone. It alerts pre-connected loved ones when pressed by the senior Doro user that they need assistance, whilst simultaneously sending the user’s location via GPS in the app. Through this service, we’ve seen first-hand how important it is that seniors and their loved ones have safety and security features embedded into their mobile phones, providing all parties with added peace of mind.
Aside from safety solutions, there is also great value in remote tools, which allow family members to lend a helping hand from wherever they are. For example, via the Response by Doro relative app, users can adjust settings on the phone such as the ringer volume, font size or screen brightness. Taking this a step further, our smartphone devices are also preinstalled with remote-control programme, TeamViewer, which allows senior users to lean on their family or friends for additional remote support with their phone if required.
Looking ahead to 2022, I expect to see senior tech competency continue to grow. This will fuel appetite for advanced yet accessible tech and additional IoT system integration. From a Doro perspective, we will continue striving to adapt and perfect our devices and services to serve the demographic as best we can.
Whether the answers are tied directly into mobile phone offerings or independent solutions, we’re constantly exploring ways in which we can improve the quality of life for our users.
Peter Marsden is Managing Director of DORO UK and Ireland
For more information on Doro
* Response by Doro is model dependant. Devices on which it is not available come equipped with an Assistance button, also located on the back of the phone. When pressed in an emergency the Assistance button will call, in sequence, up to five pre-registered contacts on the user’s phone to alert them that help may be required.