11-18-2016, Web Design
by Antoni Zolciak
Will Age-Responsive Web Design Take the World by Storm in 2017?
Okay, so you got yourself a website. It’s 2016, so it’s responsive. RWD at its finest.
Soon, it may not be enough.
Age-responsive design may change the web as we know it
There’s an interesting read on Medium covering 13 Design Predictions for 2017. To us, the most interesting thing about it is the age-responsive design concept. Why? Because it focuses on users the most.
RWD (responsive web design) aims to make a website seem like it was tailor-made for a specific device. May it be a 4-inch Samsung smartphone, iPhone 7, or a Xiaomi, you’ll see the site exactly like the creators intended to. This method has been around for some time now – and, apparently, the new thing is right around the corner.
In contrast to RWD, age-responsive design will factor in your age, as well. It will not only focus on how the site looks, but also how it works, what type of content it displays, and what you can do with it.
Assuming it takes off on a large scale, it’s going to become a massive dealbreaker – and not just as a sales opportunity. It will serve the users first, and marketers second.
Here’s a practical example: if you’re six years old, you probably won’t want to look at small fonts and monochromatic design. If you’re 50+, well. That’s another story.
As pointed out by the author of said Medium article, age-responsive web design will cover several things within one domain:
- font sizes and its kerning are going be different for the elderly;
- color schemes could be different for varied age groups (e.g. vivid hues for kids, toned down palettes for older users);
- various navigation menus (which would change according to assumed user’s competency).
Theoretically, you could even go as far as to display videos for kids, and text for adults. But wait, you can go even further: show different movies to 18-24 target group, and different ones to 25-34.
Seems completely natural, doesn’t it?
Gaming industry has been doing this for a long time
Ever heard of dynamic game difficulty balancing.? According to Wikipedia, that’s a “process of automatically changing parameters, scenarios, and behaviors in a video game in real-time, based on the player’s ability, in order to avoid making the player bored (if the game is too easy) or frustrated (if it is too hard)”.
Long story short: if you suck at your favorite FPP, you’ll fight enemies with reduced speed, health, and respawning frequency. If you’re a pro (or using an aim hack), the game will become that much harder for you. Just like that.
The concept is really similar to what the age-responsive design might “do” to websites all around the world.
One size does not fit all
Just like we don’t wear the same clothes as our kids or grandparents, we shouldn’t share the same online experience. Sure, we can simply visit different websites – but the idea behind the age-responsive design is for one website to suit the needs of different target groups, not the other way around.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. We can’t guarantee that the age-responsive design will become as widely adapted as RWD did. Google is mostly silent about it, there are no YouTube clips regarding this idea, and, in general, nobody’s doing it at the moment.
But just in case it does take off – you better be ready for it.
Here’s what you need to know
- Age-responsive design might soon be “the thing”
- The main idea? Grow with your customers, not just their devices
- Adapt content automatically based on the age of your users