How to Meet The Digital Needs Of The Wealthiest Generation On The Planet

Baby Boomers are the wealthiest generation on the planet. The over-70s are the UK’s most online adults after twentysomethings, with considerable spending power.

But rarely do people talk about the digital needs of the ageing population, and the link between these and accessibility. In this webinar, we discussed why organisations should care about serving ageing customers, what older people want from digital, and what you can do to attract and retain this often ignored and undervalued digital audience.

The webinar draws from our recent research report ‘A golden opportunity – Are you serving the needs of older online consumers?’ which you can now download.

The research reveals that:

  • 81% of over-65s are frustrated by inaccessible websites and apps.
  • 70% say retailers fail to consider age-related impairments such as poor eyesight and reduced fine motor skills that make using websites and apps more challenging.
  • Older consumers spend an average of £163 per month online.
  • But, more than one in 10 over-65s (equivalent to 1.38 million UK consumers*) said they would spend more online if websites and apps were easier for them to use.

We go deeper into all of these and more in the webinar. We hope you enjoy the recording…

February 2024 - How to meet the digital needs of the wealthiest generation on the planet
February 2024 - How to meet the digital needs of the wealthiest generation on the planet

Pete: Welcome everybody, as we bring you guys in, lovely that you can join us today for our Webinar. We have started the call a little bit before the hour. We always know there are a few people who have technology challenges getting on board. So, while you are waiting it would be lovely to know who our audience is today. If you want to put in the chat who you are and what is of interest to you around the webinar. What you are working on and you don’t need to say what organisation you are at. If you are in a nice location in the world do tell us, where we can feel jealous that we should be rather than grey London. So it would be nice to put in the chat who you are and what you are up to. It’s also grey in the Netherlands yes. We send the greyness across to the Netherlands unfortunately. I used to work out near Amsterdam and in the winter you weren’t sure whether you were looking at a canal or sky it was that grey. The other thing if you are new to us or you haven’t been on line, we have the previous webinars recorded, they are put up on HiHub. HiHub is our free membership area. We ask you to log in and become a member and that means you are on the mailing list for future newsletters and webinars. And there is something like 30 hours worth of material there. If you are leading accessibility in an organisation feel free to take the links and put them in to your website and say ‘hey guys here’s some resources that you might want to pick up’. This particular webinar will be ready in a week or so once we have done the captions etc.

So there is a lot to cover with the webinars and you can read the transcript and watch the video later as well as joining us now. The other thing that we will have, the best question in the chat will have a chance to win one of Jonathan’s books. So there is an incentive to ask questions during the session and which ever one of us is not speaking we’ll try and answer as we go along. And if video is not your thing and you are on Spotify or Apple podcasts or even Google play you’ve got access to a number of our webinars as audio. So we often get questions like, can we have a transcript of the slides? Typically everything that matters will be verbally shared. So that would makes it easy for you to get it on Spotify. I know some people like listening to these things in the car or on a run So there is another chance to do that. We’re going to start at about three minutes past and that gives time for people to join who have had technology challenges. Or like so many of us, you go from one meeting to the next. Just a couple of house rules for the session, we have muted you, to keep the flow flowing. But we would love you to comment and chat and use the chat as we’re going along. Feel free to respond to each other. Be honourable and polite to each other and if you can turn on your video, it’s nice to see who we’re talking rather than a blank screen.

The other part of this is, this is recorded. So if you are sharing something in the chat, the chat is not recorded and shared. But be respectful of what you are sharing in terms of your own confidentiality and your oranisation. We’ll be providing live on screen captions in fact you can see that in the chat as we go. And we’ll be recording this session for HiHub. We do not share the slides, the slides are part of our IP. Of course we’re not going to stop you from taking a screen shot and all we ask is you source the material back to us. If you find it useful to reuse, some of these slides come from our training and other places so, you have access to the video and access to the transcript. And presenting today, we’re going to start in a moment. So thank you for everyone who joined us so far, we have still got quite a lot of people in the waiting room who we’re just bringing into the meeting so, welcome to the session and we’re probably going to give another 30 seconds before we start in earnest.

And the two people speaking to you today, one of them is me, Pete Bricknell. I am the Chief Product Officer at Hassell Inclusion and one of the reasons I care about this subject today is my mum.She’s 85 and she has to use her phone to do banking because some idiot broke into her local branch and stole the ATM and so they closed down the bank. She has no banks that she can go to and she can’t walk very far. So I care about digital products and I care about helping people who are older because it matters to my family.

So Jonathan do you want to quickly introduce yourself?

Jonathan: Certainly. Hi I’m Jonathan Hassell and I am old! We did a webinar similar to this about the needs of people who are ageing in the pandemic because a lot of people were coming on line maybe for the first time or certainly to do things that they didn’t usually do and Pete and I were talking about our mums at the time. These days it feels more like we need this ourselves. So yes, I am CEO of Hassell Inclusion and been working in accessibility for over 20 years. And I am here just to make sure that we have a really good understanding of this audience that often times gets overlooked. That’s what we’re here for.

Pete: Great, so what we’re going to cover this afternoon is why does aging and digital accessibility matter? We all recognise what we do in digital accessibility, often that’s around for people with disability. But we’ll talk about why aging and disability often join together and the things you do for accessibility helps everybody. We’re going to talk about how do you support that older population, whether they are your customer or colleagues and employees.nd then we’re going to look at three practical steps for engaging older users on line, we’re going to look at acknowledging what it might mean for the organisation and addressing the needs and how do you make this resilient and sustainable, how do you adopt this. We’re then going to talk about some of the things we can help you. In these sessions with you want to enable you things yourselves and then we can support organisations as you see fit and we’ll do Q&A. Hopefully that will cover some really interesting stuff and Jonathan has some sneak peeks to share in the slides that have not been shared to anybody anywhere in the world yet.

Jonathan: Super, thank you very much Pete. I can take us into the first section and you will hear from Pete again in a little while. Please feel free, pop questions into the chat as we go through. We both know all of this stuff so, while I am presenting Pete can be answering your questions in the chat and vice versa and hopefully we’ll have time at the end to answer questions too. We wanted to start out with why aging and digital accessibility matters. And this was some really interesting things that were coming through. We feel like we’ve caught if you like a little bit of a wave here. There is a lot of people talking about this sort of thing.

Here’s just a couple of articles from the last few weeks. Frank Skinner, a stand up comedian in the States is saying; why is it ageism isn’t considered along side all the other isms that people dislike? It seems to be if you like the last acceptable prejudice and I found a really great article on From somebody who is a 70 year old who spent well over 30 years teaching people digital media and is now thinking about it from an aging perspective. That’s the sort of thing we’re about here and just to quote from there. He is talking about President Biden, he is aged 78 and do we think he can’t use a computer? That is the key thing we are talking about here. In that often times younger people just think older people can’t really do very much. This was the quote.”What a mind blowing concept that must be for younger generations for whom writing someone off simply because of their age is the last acceptable prejudice. They hate every ism except ageism. It’s completely forbidden to tell any joke about race, gender, religion, weight but age, do whatever you like.” And I think he is right. Even when we put disability in that list, and things like ableism, a lot of the time people kind of, if you like just say, oh, well, older people. They won’t be using our things anyway. So they are not the audience for us.This session is to try and get through that, that could be a seriously short sighted way of thinking about things. Because the global population is aging. One in six people worldwide will be over 60 by the year 2030. That’s quite a huge proportion of the world’s population who you might be not serving if you don’t understand their needs. Here in the UK at the moment it’s at 12.5 million people over 65. In the States 58 million. So this is a very, very large group of people that I think we should be talking about a lot more.

What is even more interesting, this article was from the 5th of January this year. Reporting on some figures from the Office of National Statistics here in the UK. Saying that, the over 70’s are the UK’s most on line adults other than 20 somethings. Just let that sink in for a moment. All of those people who you think actually may not be using the web. May not be coming to the sorts of websites and Apps are probably doing it the more of the major audiences that you think of. People like me at 50 or 40 or 30. So over 70’s are spending their time on line. They also have considerable spending power and the figures by 2040 people think that 63p in every pound, that’s 63 cent in every dollar will be spent by over 65s. A lot of people who are older have got a lot more money than younger people. Why then do all marketeers push products to younger people all of the time and kind of forget older people? Wouldn’t they wish to spend their money on line, if over 70’s are on line? There are lots of them and they have more money than everyone else and you would be expecting them to be spending more than younger people on line. They are spending over 165 every month here in the UK. Which is about ten percent of their overall monthly household expenditure but that isn’t as much as people that are younger than them.

So why is that? Because it feels like there is a real opportunity here if we think about it in the right way. We believe the stats around how disability and age relate are something to do with that picture. So here’s a couple of charts about the prevalence of disability at different ages for men and women in the UK. So disability and age have a relationship. And that could have something to do with what we’re talking here in terms of how to make sure that people are able to use that money in ways that would be advantageous to all of those retailers, all of you who are providing services for people. We’ve got things like deteriorating eyesight, reduced fine motor skills, hearing loss, poor memory, mobility issues and also something that we’ll talk about a little which is increased anxiety. We have worked with a number of organisations that say, when they can get a new customer that’s over 75 they spend as much money with them as their customers who are under 50. The hard thing is getting them to make that first sale. The hard thing is making sure, especially if things are coming via a website or app that people don’t experience barriers.

So that’s the reason why we asked 1,274 UK adults age 65 and over about their experiences and that’s the rest of the talk in the webinar just taking you through some of the findings from that. It’s not all of the findings, they will be available in a report that we’re just finalising at the moment. It will be available in a couple of weeks time. And you will be able to read much deeper but today you are going to get some insights into this particular world and I think one of the things as somebody who has been track this for a while is I was really proud that we actually had 395 people who were 80 or above talking about their experiences of digital. I haven’t really seen that with research that’s happened previously. So, there’s some really interesting things in here.

So the first thing I want to say is these are the top ten on line activities that we found with over 65s. So these range from banking to buying things for yourself or as gifts. Applying for things like passports and cost comparison websites, purchasing insurance policies, paying bills, booking hotels, groceries, ordering prescriptions, watching TV programmes. Are you seeing how this is coming through? Of the top 10 online activities of the over 65s Seven of them are things that are all about payments. People buying things. Whether it’s gifts, holidays, groceries whatever it is. So what we have got here is a population who are spending more time on line than pretty much any other age group. And they are spending all of that time, doing things where they would be buying stuff. So you have got to figure that they are a great target if you are providing services, if you have an E shop or something like that. The question is though it doesn’t always feel like that.

So if you like, why isn’t the case always that they are making as many purchases as they could? We asked them that in the survey, 69% said that they felt that websites and Apps weren’t designed with their needs in mind and these are the sorts of frustrations that they said were the top 6. Complicated passwords. So that’s probably for those banking Apps. Can I remember my password to be able to get in, if I can’t and I write it down somewhere, is that security leak and somebody else will have access to my money? That sort of mind set. Poor navigation, I have come to the site to find something, I don’t know where it is. I am not going to buy if I can’t find it? Not having enough time to complete a task before you are timed out. Again that’s probably to do with doing things mostly on government websites. You have a form to fill in for a new passport or something like that and people either haven’t enough time or they feel like they don’t have enough time to complete the task before they are timed out. Poor readability of text. So a lot of people who are older don’t read text as well as they used to. My mum being in that group and it’s entirely possible there is a link between that and the previous one. If it’s taking me longer to read the text on the form and to type things into the form than everybody else that’s why not having enough time to complete a task is a big thing when it comes to time outs. Buttons being too small to press easily on a mobile website. A lot of people may have tremors or difficulty pressing things accurately. If you have spent a long time filling in a form and there are two buttons submit and cancel and you are not totally sure you are going to hit the right button with your finger because the size of them is not big enough for you to do that with any confidence that’s where the anxiety comes in. And difficulties hearing the sound of on line videos or podcasts. Thankfully most of the video on demand services have got things like captions as standard these days. That’s great. A lot of people using those services are older people and they may need the ability to hear the sound like that. So it just gives you an idea of how these things are coming through.

So, how do you support our older population? Because to be clear they are a lot more interesting and dynamic than a lot of people think and what you are doing with the things you are creating on line may appeal to a lot more people who are older than you think. Here’s a quote from Mark Twain. “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years”. Obviously, Mark Twain is a humourist and the key thing here is it’s not the old man’s problem here, it’s the boy. It’s not them, it’s us. When we think about people aging we may be out of date with the way we’re thinking about things. We may be misunderstanding or underestimating what people need from us.

So we’re going spend a little time just having a look at older people as customers and older people as employees. So do you know your older customers, you can see it here on the screen. Somebody just retired. This is Emma Thompson. I remember her initial show in the UK when she had broken out at the Edinburgh festival at the fringe. And she was young and she got a TV show and She was amazing. She’s now retired and that makes me feel old but that’s the reality of the world. We’re all aging, I am wearing a different pair of glasses. To those that I normally would for this because you are seeing me with my VDU glasses on because I find is easier to see the computer screen with these. I don’t have a disability, I don’t really consider myself elderly or older, I just need these because I am 54 at the moment and that’s the thing we need to think about here because we need to rethink who older consumers actually are. To give you an example, the IBM PC came on to the market in 1981. That’s more than 40 years ago. A manager who is in their 30s in 1981 is now in their 70’s, a graduate who was 22 in 1981 is now approaching 65. So what we’re talking about here when we’re thinking about older consumers is not people who need to be introduced to this new fangled technology of computers and the internet. It’s people who have been using this all the way through their working careers and now as older people want to continue doing that in their later life when they have more time to be able to use the internet than they probably did in their jobs.

Here’s the other side of this, if you are thinking about this and you are thinking in our organisation the C Suite just won’t get this. They don’t think older people are worth it. The average age of a CEO of a FTSE 100 company in the UK at the moment is 55, the US President is 78. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple is 63. If I as somebody who is 54 need to wear these glasses to see the screen very well they will be having the same things too.

They may not be talking about it, not to everybody else and certainly not to younger people. But to their friends, they probably will. So, if you go to them and say actually failing to make the websites and Apps available to older consumers is now actually detrimental to everyone’s future, they may actually be more receptive to this idea than you think.

So, the thing that gets in the way is that ableism. We still are stereotypically as a community of people creating stuff, websites,mobile Apps, a young generation who are doing it. People like me who have been around for a long time are the exception. Ageism is getting in the way in work, in communities and society and health and the mass media technology all the way through and the great news is a lot of organisations are saying this is not okay any more. It really isn’t. Age without limits just one organisation out there at the moment, who is trying to combat this, we’re also working with age irrelevant and a number of organisations. Age without limits put out there the first ever Anti Ageism campaign day of action on the 20th March. We didn’t know that that was coming along, but It’s probably going to be about four or five days after our report is published. So we’re hoping that we’re feeding into a ground swell of opinion out there at the moment that ageism’s time is gone. We need to be thinking in new ways. Here’s the thing from a consumer customer spending point that you really need to get when it comes to why it’s so important to do that. So these are some figures from our report. SO those people with an age related impairment. So people to have difficulty, seeing, hearing, mobility issues etc. The people who struggle with things not being as accessible as they like are already spending 9% more on line than over 65s who don’t have those. That’s quite interesting.

So we dug into that a little. What we found was that 11% of over 65s said they would spend more on line if websites and Apps were easier for them. So everyone wants things to be easier. That figure is much higher for participants who disclosed particular age-related impairments. So people’s difficulties seeing and hearing etc. What we have got is a lot of people who are spending more time on websites and Apps that are not accessible for them than pretty much anywhere else. That doesn’t make any sense until you look at this. We have been doing user research with a lot of different organisations and some of those have been retailers and when we spoke to older people what they have said is that yes, website and mobile Apps can be really hard to use but also going out into stores can be really hard to do. So if somebody has difficulty with their seeing and hearing it’s actually easier for them to use an accessible website to do their shopping than it is to go to a shop and try and get around it with limited sight or hearing they have. These are the sorts of things that actually make on line exactly the sort of place where you might be attracting more people to the sort of thing that you have got. It’s easier for people to buy on line if they are older, if you are making it an accessible way of doing things. And we found was that, that made us think yeah okay, if people start doing this it will optimize their ability to tap into the spending power. So it just gives you an idea from the perspective of customers. So how about employees, most of the work we did in the survey was around looking at older people as customers but it’s very important for you to understand as well that the retirement age is going up every year and older people are still working, sometimes they are working second jobs after retirement.

So how does that play out with where you are. So the first thing is there is a lot of unconscious discrimination happening, that’s not us saying it, that’s the stats that are out there. 30% of people aged over 50, over 50. I’m definitely old in comparison to this believe they have been turned down for jobs. 20% of employers believe age discrimination occurs in their organisation. So it’s not just people saying this is happening, it’s actually employers saying yeah we know it’s happening. So, why is that? And is that a problem for employers as well as the people who they could be employing? From our perspective, it really is a win for everybody if people can get past that ageism. I don’t know if you have ever seen The Intern. It was a film a while ago, almost ten years ago with Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, basically it was a start up in New York. And rather than getting an intern who was like 20, coming directly out of university or something like that, they had an intern this was much older and initially it was all of those, here’s an older person who doesn’t understand the new technologies and the way people are working these days, but over time the other thing that came with age like experience and wisdom came through as well and it’s a fabulous move. I will let you find that for yourselves.

But the key thing is this was quite present in terms of where we’re going. Not only is the retirement age going up but a lot of people are finding the need to work later in life because of finances, so it’s really important for people to be able to continue in their jobs. Not if you like be discriminated against for someone younger. This was from a really great article and there is a link on the screen. So when you find this, play this back on HiHub, go and have a look at the page because it was somebody saying these are the things nobody tells you about retirement. Various things I would have liked to have moan, like the fact my purpose seemed to have been robbed from me. When I was working every day I was doing things important for people and when I retired it didn’t feel like that. So this particular person, and it was a couple, one of the couples took a second job after retirement because they just wanted to be back in the workforce. The other person started an on line community for people like her. So fundamentally this is really important and digital is what we’re all using in jobs these days, so it’s really important to make sure people can still do it.

The stereotypes that older people are less productive and energetic than others are not necessarily the case anymore. Obviously you can’t make generalisations for everybody in the world, but the stereotypes and discrimination that happens around them I think are unhelpful. A lot of organisations are saying we need to rethink the way we think about talent. Could be that the best person for the job is not necessarily the one who doesn’t have grey hair. So older people however want flexibility and there’s lot in the media about that at the moment and they want you to support their digital needs, so we haven’t got time to take you all the way through this chart today. But this was a chart that we created. You can find it on our Hassell website. About all the different parts of somebody’s employee journey where digital accessibility will impact them. We created it in 2020 talking about disabled employees but it’s as much for people who are older as well so I really commend people to look at that. And Pete put that in the chat, so you can just click on that link and go directly to that page So I am going to hand over to Pete who is going to take us through, if that’s some of the stuff useful for you to think about, what are the steps to engage older users with what you are doing, Pete over to you.

Pete: So there is three steps to consider engaging older users. And when we looked at this on line and we looked around different sites, there is often elements to support you addressing those and almost that’s for the quick win. The immediate sticking plaster fix. But I think there is two parts around that. One of them is acknowledging that different people need different elements into the project and the product. And so you if you’ve got specific problems that older consumers might have in experiencing your websites and Apps that list of the top ten the top six issues, particularly things like passwords if you went and did a WCAG review of the website and looking against the web accessibility standards they are not really going to talk about how you do passwords very well. There are elements beyond this and it’s all about the experience. So some organisations are thinking about how they do passwords differently. Then there is addressing the issues and we’ll talk about looking at those from different places, we have had questions in the chat. One of those things is a lot of people who have needs don’t see themselves as disabled and wouldn’t want to be called disabled because of the stigma. I am not disabled I just can’t see.

So we need to be very careful about how we support people. And even how we help them self identify. What accessibility needs do have is better than do you see yourself as disabled because you are going to get very different results there. And then the adopt side of it is to think about an age positive mind set across the organisation. To ensure older consumers are thought about from the start and this is part of thinking about inclusion in general. We’re focusing on age positive, one person said I am the only under 25 person in the group and the rest are over 45. Just in the same way we need to think about what does a young person need.We’re talking with an organisation where they are focusing on accessibility for just under 25s, we talked about neurodiversity there. So these skills are making sure you’re thinking about all of your lenses, and today we’re talking about age but it could be other lenses that you look at the same needs. And when we look at acknowledging, the first one is to acknowledge it. So we need to think about what is the impact of older people on your organisation and success. We have talked about the commercial world and the money they are spending, and this is also relevant in the public sector and some of the services will be scewed much more towards the vulnerable and elderly user.

So the first question is how much do the older people contribute to your companies success? It might be sales or amount of users. What is the percentage of new users are they onboarding to your service very well? So if you are ecommerce is it really easy to become a member and sign up to it? And then what percentage are existing users and are they about the same? Are you loosing people? Because the new user can’t get through. We had one particular client who said we realiseld how many older people we have and this is far higher than we thought and at least half the people are not doing that first initial switch on of our service. They have said they wanted it and they are not activating it. So we are losing people and it could be they are losing people for all these reasons raised today. Some people want to talk to a human being, some people have difficulty with their voices much prefer the web chat because it’s hard to be heard on a call center. And so, when you know the cost of that service about which channel, are they at the channel they really want to be at or are you forcing them down something?

The other question is how do you compare to your competitors and how are they promoting themselves to this demographic? We do a lot of analysis where we look from the outside, what are your competitors doing. You might think you are doing well but somebody else is seen as better in the market and you haven’t told people what you are up to. So you need to engage your head and get the financial figure, the metrics figure about this is what the older population contribute to the organisation. That can be a big ah-ha moment And the second part is listening with your heart. So the WCAG standards are useful but they don’t tell you all you need to know. And older people may have similar but not identical needs to people with disabilities, so we need to include them in listening to their needs. We do have a webinar, where we have two people, one of them is an older pensioner talk about their experiences with technology, it’s something we really encourage clients to do.

One of our clients about a year after they did one of our speed dating sessions, we were having a talk about a completely different team. That person came back and said this meeting was my mind blowing away understanding what it really means for somebody else. Now as I understand this. We have shown you numbers in the slides but having somebody tell you their experience and why it matters makes all the difference. And some of the insights you gain are not within WCAG itself. For example, some older people having slow disabilities appear on them they have not been trained with screen readers, they don’t really know how to use it and suddenly this is a start. So you need to think about your keys and controls on your applications, is it easy to use? Will you help somebody understand what they need to do. And they may say I am not disabled but you can say there is some free tools out there and paid for tools out there to help you. When you do your design system, is the structure clear for everybody? Particularly if you are a UX designer and you’re immersed all the time. 3 lines means menu doesn’t it. Why? Oh it’s a hamburger. Why? So some things like save to a floppy disk and my children are like what is a floppy disk Dad, what is a record player? Well it’s a bit like a CD player with scratches on it! That idea of your metaphors do they matter for everybody? And another part of acknowledging is knowing where your gaps are and finding your gaps, a lot of organisation focus on the middle one, technical compliance to the WCAG standards but we believe there is two other elements, one is the holistic view. What are your benchmarks against your policies, governance, processes, the way of working that you have and the ISO standard out ISO30071-1 is around that space. So it’s a good north star to point to.

And the other part is what is your team capability like? We often find developers feel more confident than that really are and other groups felt less confident because they know what they don’t know. So it’s good to have an idea of when somebody was trained and what do they know well and where do you focus your training. So that gets you to understand the size of the benefit for the organisation and understand what it means and understand the gap and then you go into addressing the issue. So I am going pass back to Jonathan on that one.

Jonathan: Thanks Pete. We have had number of questions, can you give us some similarities and differences between accessibility for people with disabilities and people with ageing? So here are a few that actually play across the two. For example you could have hearing loss because you were born deaf. You can have hearing loss because you have lost your hearing later in life. In the end it all comes down to the same thing really which is I am having difficulty hearing something. If you are having difficulty hearing what we’re saying on this webinar you can turn the captions on. It’s that sort of thing, for example if somebody is needing that make sure that your videos have captions or make sure if you go to webinars they have this as well. A lot of people who are older have a condition called tinnitus where they don’t maybe lose all of their hearing but they lose it in different frequencies and sometimes they can be sort of noises there aren’t there and they can hear them all the time. They can’t stop. And so it can be difficult to hear people over if you like that background noise. But the similar things it’s not the same for somebody who is older and somebody who is deaf for example. It’s a lot more complicated than that but there are links so it’s worth you getting that. Similarly people maybe born with a difficulty with vision. They may loose vision because of part of an accident. Or all of us will not see as well as we used to when we’re getting older.

Me and my glasses and my mom is a really good example of what you can see on the screen. She can’t read books any more. For a while she used to take around a big light to make sure there was enough light on the book so she had a chance of reading it.Then I introduced her to an iPad with its own back light and the ability to make the text bigger and suddenly she’s reading books now because of those two things. So the text size, making sure that people can make the text size bigger and making sure there is good colour contrast as well. For example this Sepia tone book here is much harder to read than one which is black on white. That sort of thing. Very similar needs for people who have different disabilities around vision as well. Poor hand control. Again, a lot of people later in life, may experience difficulties using their hands, some may have tremors and some may have arthritis so it makes it harder for them to use their hands, sometimes they have pain in them. So larger buttons, that they can tap with an unsteady hand, drag and drop can be really difficult, because it’s not just tapping on something You have to hold on it and move it across which takes a lot more out of you if you like, if hands are something that’s difficult. A lot of people use speech import and keyboard only, if they have a disability. Those sorts of things can be really helpful for older people as well if they know about those technologies, so part of this is to help them understand the technology as well as how you would get it working with the product that you maybe creating. Understanding and anxiety and this is really big one. Again, it’s not just older people who get anxious using websites, anyone look at mental health and vulnerability and especially in the banking world for example and especially these days with the cost of living crises when you are already in a situation where you are anxious about your money. Then everything becomes harder for you.

And so websites really, really need to be easy to use. You need to know that if you are spending money with a website, that you are actually going to get the thing that you think you are buying. Especially if you are don’t have huge amounts of money or like a lot of older people you are used to trying to spend the least on things, it’s taken me a long time to get my parents to understand that the rest of the world uses taxis all the time. It’s not just something for a holiday, it can actually be something that they could really benefit from. So there is cultural issues around some of these things. So making sure that things are as simple as possible, especially when it comes to forms. Because forms are notoriously difficult to do, you can get halfway through a form and it’s taken you too long and you are not getting to the end of it. Therefore you have lost all of this information and you have to start all over again and that’s the sort of anxiety that people feel. Should I even bother? That sort of thing Even people who are really good at tech can find these things, as they age, difficult.

Memory, a number of people saying how would you do log in and things like that if people are having difficulty with passwords? It’s really difficult to forget your finger or your face. So for example, if I just take this into the disability world for a while. A lot of people who are dyslexic also have difficulty remembering passwords. My best mate is dyslexic. He never uses the on line banking website of his bank because he has to remember the password to get in. He uses the mobile app which is just set up for his face ID. That for him is the solution to a problem with passwords. And it gives you an idea of what might happen for people who are older as well. Technology can be amazing, face ID and touch ID and the Android equivalent are genuinely break hrough technologies for people who have difficulty remembering passwords. So that sort of thing really, really useful. So hopefully what that does is gives you a number of ideas as to how this stuff plays in with digital product design. We created a poster on this a few years ago. So again, Pete put the link into the chat if you click on that. If you want a memory of what you have got here something you can print and put up in your office, that’s completely free. It’s all closed comments, so share it with whom ever you like because we really do want people to have better experiences than those they are getting at the moment. So I am going to hand back to Pete to take us through adopt and bring us into land. Pete back to you.

Pete: We thought about some techniques and in the questions people are like tell me more, and in one hour we can’t tell you everything. We have a variety of training courses we can help for different roles. That can help think about this beyond just the few tips we have given. But if there is anything you want to take on then there is stuff we have shown you in the last few slides are great starters to getting you there. So part of this is to land this across the organisation, so that it is just the way that you work, the way that you think. So there is four elements that with help you there. The most important is to think early. There is the idea of shift left. When you are thinking about a big business case and you looked at your demographic have you put some budget in there to think about the different types of users, we’re concentrating on people who are older but have you thought of other demographics as well, because retrofitting and fixing after, is neither efficient or effective in the long term. Moreover, we have seen people get sued because their site is not accessible, because somebody has got very frustrated and therefore they go and say you’re not meeting the standard. And the most embarrassing thing is, for somebody to sue you again two or three years later because they know you have done nothing about it.

So the first thing to think about is what does good look like and try and put this into your policies, your standards, your guidelines and your development framework. We see accessibility in the wider sense. What works for people with disability supports people older. But also what helps people with disabilities such as subtitles helps you if you are on the tube. So a lot of the good practices actually result in good products that are useable for everybody. A clean and clear web page is going to help everyone. So if you put those in your policies and standards and guidelines it’s really helpful and that should consider also marketing, events, meetings, things like that. And then put it into the way you work, your development methodology, your governance and your metrics and reporting. If you are doing a business case, what we recommend is people think about accessibility at the same time as they think about security and at the same time they think about personal data. And treat the three of them important, in the same way. You are not going to build an unsecure site so why are you going so build a site that people can’t use.

You’re not going to build a site which loses and shares data badly, so why are you going to build a site that people can’t use because they are older. And then think about up skilling your teams. It’s very easy to think that’s a developer problem. In fact we’ve had quite a lot of clients who’ve said to us ‘oh no the developers fix that’ Well actually you need to define it if you are a designer. If you’re in marketing, you need to think about this as you produce images and you produce social media and things like that. So it’s really quite important to consider it across multiple roles. And if you are in procurement and you’re purchasing Are you buying products that work for people across the spectrum of needs. And again that should be one of your key criteria. What we see is if you are a big organisation you have the ability to change the market. And encourage companies do think about the widest possible users. And then implementing the right tools. So there are tools which give promises particularly when they say forget what you built on the website but we’re going to make it look nice. That can be dangerous because the underlying fixes haven’t been resolved but there are tools out there. And the other thing about automated tools is they don’t look at everything. We talked about the experience is everything. So you need to look at it from how somebody gets an email, how they get advertised to. How they learn about the tool, what is the documentation. And then you got the website that works and then the email you get after and the PDF and the application form. That’s quite a spectrum of items. And an automated tool is not going to see everything, so you need to think about the whole experience, but it can speed some parts of it up.

So we have talked about those 3 areas acknowledge what the users are, address their needs and make sure you are resilient and long term because you have adopted it and played it into the way you work. So how can we help you? You are probably doing accessibility already but are you promoting it to your audiences. What we’ve seen is there are a lot of people out there, we did some researching around best practice across a number of banking Apps and found some great features but very little information provided on how to use those features. And when we look at some accessibility statements from website they kind of say, yes you can use the accessibility tools. And a lot of people this is the first time they have gone into, they are frustrated with the product and they don’t know how to use the accessibility features and features on the phone to make their life easier. So consider communication and that communication might not just be on your product. The other part is they may talk to generic features or WCAG guidelines. And outside of the accessibility community I don’t know what that means. Tell me how I just can see the text better. How can I press the button. So think about it in a way that people can communicate to it. So there is a lot that can be done both in doing and then tell the world about it. And one of our mantras these days is do great stuff, be authentic in that and then tell the world what you are doing. So for example NatWest has a tap to call feature that means you are safely contacting the right people. Starling bank with helping with warnings around if you haven’t got enough money in a particular area or saving space which is great. If you are scared about managing your money. In the old days you kept your cheque book and you watched how you were spending your cheques and now it can be harder. And the thing is, if you are doing it well it can have a positive impact on your business.

Accenture did some research back in 2018 and last year and they looked at organisations that took disability inclusion sensibly and clearly and fully in their organisation. And they found that those organisations that took it seriously did better than their peers, 28% more revenue and five years later those organisations were storming ahead at 60% more revenue than their competitors and they were much more profitable and their income had grown. And what I see with this is that’s because this is a symptom of a good way of thinking. So the ways we can help organisations, is we can help you think about that customer and competitor analysis. It maybe doing a project with you, it maybe just giving you some advice. We have speed dating services where we bring people who are older and people with disabilities and we talk to large numbers of your team to hear about their insights. We help organisations benchmark against the ISO standard and we also have a free quick self assessment you can do for yourself so you can get a quick feel for where you are at. And then in terms of addressing those issues, it might be technology or support, it might be some guidance helping you build that into your backlog. It might be doing rapid audits of the experience rather than just WCAG and of course training. And then that helps you adopt it and work with your different policy owners through workshops to understand what is important in those policies and how to update your own policies, so that you include people with disability and people who are older. So we have given you a flavour, it’s now your chance to ask us questions. Jonathan I don’t know if you have been looking in the chat, with anything that’s popped up. If you have a question we might not have answered earlier or has now popped into your head, please put it into the chat and we can respond.

Jonathan: Thanks Pete. I have been doing my best to type away to what people have asked about. And there was a lot of questions around the difference between accessibility for older people and accessibility for disabled people. Whether or not if you like, we need to have a separate set of guidelines from WCAG for older people. Personally I don’t think so. Because the key thing is and I put it in the chat. WAI. So the people behind WCAG created something called WAI age a long time ago by a guy called Andrew Arch who is now working in Australia. Brilliant guy, wonderful work, nobody saw it. So that didn’t really help in the end not because it wasn’t good work but because people weren’t looking at it. So I think that’s the key this about all of these things, is the guidelines that are helpful are the ones that you follow and you know they are there. So WCAG is a great start. There is lots of stuff in there that will help older people as well as people with disabilities if you follow them. What I would recommend is that you don’t just go with guidelines. All of the really interesting things that I know and all of our team know at Hassell Inclusion about aging have happened through talking to people who are aging. For example that point that, most of WCAG is very, very biased towards screen reader users for example for people who are blind. Screen readers are massively complicated to use and I have not a single person who thinks they are a solution to the needs of people who are losing their sight when they are older and it’s like okay, here’s this really complicated tool, that doesn’t work. So it’s very much about listening to people. So you can do that yourselves, just listen to some people who are old that you know, you might get some great insights. If you want that done in a professional way that’s the speed dating that we do and it’s just so transformative of teams when they listen. So I just really encourage you to do that. Pete do you want to tell us what we’re doing next time?

Pete: UK public sector have some laws they need to follow, US public sector has Section 508 and many countries around the world have different laws. So next month we’re going to look at two big changes happening with the European accessibility Act, and for organisations that are serving the European Union whether they are in it or outside, so if you are US based or UK based or outside the EU, it could affect you. There is certain industries at the start of the list. So we’re going to talk about that. Also, in the States, the US Department of Justice is cracking down on compliance to accessibility standards. So we’ll be talking about those things. And in April we’re going to talk about how do you talk about your success. As I said earlier, it’s great to do stuff with integrity and you need to tell people about it so they know what you’re up to. And just one last thing which was a question between WCAG standards and the ISO standard, they are serving different needs. The ISO standard is around governance and policy and process and organisation and how you do things and WCAG standard is what you want to have on the page. So they do dovetail to each other. And provide you two useful standards to follow there, it’s not an either or, it’s one plus.

I hope you have enjoyed our session, we have hit the hour and thank you so much for joining. If there is anything you would like to say as you leave, any comments about what worked well in the session and do scribble something down, thank you for your time this afternoon. Thank you for all the conversation in the chat. It’s been great to have so many people engaged with this conversation, it shows there is something there. And we look forward to you joining us next month. If this was useful to you feel free to send the invites to colleagues and ask them to come along the next time. It’s always more the merrier. We can certainly accommodate more people on the call and hopefully it’s been a good hour for you this afternoon. Thank you very much.

Jonathan: Thanks everybody. Have a good day.

Summary of key report findings including: 12million over-65s in the UK, 63p in every pound will be spent by then by 2040, they currently spend £163 a month online on average, 60% of over-65s have good or more confidence level online, but 81% say they have frustrations, 11% of over-65s say they would spend more if websites and apps were easier to use

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