Technology for the “Seasoned” Set

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Homer's Dad
There’s a huge focus on how young people are using technology given the up and coming generation will have a huge impact on what products and services are launched and how they are used. But what about older people; folks in the 50+ or 60+ that want to use technology but want it to be user-friendly? While it’s far from a wave or trend, there are growing signs some high-tech companies have realized there’s a huge market to be tapped by taking a different approach.

A good example is a new search engine called – a terrible name, by the way – that is focused on providing older Internet users with results that are relevant to older Web users. Cranky, started by Jeff Taylor, generates its results by finding the 5,000 most popular Web sites among 500,000 Internet users who are 45 years old or older. (More details on the company can be found in Paul Lamonica’s story on Cranky has a clean, Google-like look and feel, and only generates four results per page, which, in most cases, is more than enough.

Another high-tech player going after the senior citizen set is Jitterbug, which makes a cell phone with large buttons, a big screen and a loud ringtone.

From personal experience in dealing with my parents, there are huge opportunities for high-tech companies interested in selling to older consumers who want no-frills technology that just works and works well. Whether it’s search engines, wireless devices, PCs, DVD players or digital cameras, older consumers with lots of disposable income are hungry for user-friendly technology.

  • Rob Hyndman

    Oh really?

    And it’s not just the blue rinse set. The iPod is a success because of a design that focuses on simplicity – just about every other player out there has a richer feature set. Most people don’t care. Most (read: almost all) product designers don’t get it.

  • Mark Evans

    You’d figure product designers would get the message given how many people spend little or no time reading the operating manual! Speaking a well-designed product, I was looking a Sony 6MB CyberShot digital camera at Future Shop yesterday – big screen, a user-friendly button with good graphics – sweet!

  • Mary Jo

    Just because I have poor vision and need those large buttons, doesn’t mean that I don’t also want super cool features, too. Why can’t we have both?

  • Bill

    I am one of the not quite over the hill gang at 61 but I do watch with interest the ideas that some of us do not need all the bells and whistles and the associated cost. So I was happy to see that maybe with the coming of the “Baby boomer’s” some will cater a little more to the older crowd.