November 18, 2016 - Web Design

Will Age-Responsive Web Design Take the World by Storm?

by Antoni Żółciak
More by this author

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. Whether it’s a 4-inch Samsung smartphone, iPhone 7, or a Xiaomi, you’ll see the site exactly as the creators intended you to. This method has been around for some time now – and, apparently, the next trend is right around the corner.

Be ahead of the curve. Talk to an agency that knows all about these trends.

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 users can do with it.

Assuming age-responsive design 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 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 the Medium article, age-responsive web design will address several things within one domain:

  • Font sizes and their 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 the user’s technology 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 one set of movies to 18-24 year old users and a different set to ages 25-34.

Seems completely natural, doesn’t it?

The gaming industry has been doing this for a long time

Ever heard of dynamic game difficulty balancing.? According to Wikipedia, that’s the “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 FPS, 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 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 age-responsive design will become as widely adapted as RWD has been. 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

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