Most of us know to design keeping accessibility in mind. But, you may not have thought much about what it means to design for a multi-generational audience. “Designing for aging” usually calls up images of medical or health-focused products, not the programs and websites used in business today. But the workforce around you is evolving at a rapid rate. Gains in longevity, advances in healthy aging, and increasingly flexible workspaces mean workforces in the future will look very different than they do today. More folks are willing and able to work into their 70s and 80s, and due to economic realities, retirement is not an option for many. Add in declining birth rates and you can see why companies are gearing up for workforces that may include up to five generations. But few are talking about how to design for these new users who are tech-savvy, but have needs created by aging.
After years spent designing accessibility into AT&T’s, recently, I began looking at how to design for this aging population. The good news is “We’ve got this. You already have the tools you need if you apply the VIMM model of user loads and the Accessibility Guidelines published by the WC3 to your work. In this talk, we’ll walk through the requirements of an older generation of worker and how to create effective solution using these tools. You’ll discover that the designs you start creating will bring you back to the basics of what good design is all about. By designing products that are accessible to all your users, you’ll be creating work that will enable the changing workplace to be a productive and inclusive space for all – including yourself. ‘Cause let’s face it – we’re all aging, but as the old saying goes, it sure beats the alternative.
About the speakers
Linda Chadwick-Wirth has been designing experiences for users of all ages since 2005. Since joining Critical Mass (CM) in 2010, her work has included digital campaigns & site redesigns for a wide range of clients that have included HP, adidas, Harley-Davidson, & AT&T, to name a few, but her main focus and special passion is designing experiences and flows that help users accomplish day-to-day tasks in an easy and intuitive manner. A card-carrying member of AARP (and proud of it), she is the Age Affinity Group Lead on CM’s Diversity and Inclusion Board where she works to foster a culture embracing multi-generational differences and strengths. She and her husband live in on a small farm In western Colorado with a menagerie of dogs, cats, chickens, horses, and a mule.