6 July 2006

Mature users seek uncluttered mobiles, claims research

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A mature mobile phone user
Rachel Jones, founder of the UK user-centred design company Instrata, writes in Usability News about new research by her company which “set out to discover what consumers in the UK and other European countries aged 30 and upwards really want” from their mobile phones.

“The desire for a less cluttered, stress-free lifestyle is reaching into the sphere of mobile phones, according to research carried out by Instrata. Go into any mobile shop and you are faced with a bewildering array of models. The market may seem crowded but, with the focus on youth trends, manufacturers are still missing the mark for many consumers.”

“The research examined attitudes to mobiles, and levels of satisfaction. It soon became clear that many consumers are unhappy with the choice available. There is a perception that mobiles are over complicated, feature driven and aimed at the youth market. However, when asked about recent simplified models, many participants assume they are for ‘old or disabled people’.”

She concludes: “The prevailing mobile culture seems to imply that more equates to better, and simplicity means ‘dumbed-down’. When phones are created for the older market they do not have the styling or personalisation that these consumers want, or if they do, the marketing concentrates on what they feel are the more patronising aspects of improved usability instead of innovation.”

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