Design Principles to Accommodate Older Adults

  •  Miranda Farage    
  •  Kenneth Miller    
  •  Funmi Ajayi    
  •  Deborah Hutchins    


The global population is aging. In many industrial countries, almost one in five people are over age 65. As people age, gradual changes ensue in vision, hearing, balance, coordination, and memory. Products, communication materials, and the physical environment must be thoughtfully designed to meet the needs of people of all ages. This article summarizes normal changes in sensory function, mobility, balance, memory, and attention that occur with age. It presents practical guidelines that allow design professionals to accommodate these changes and better meet the needs of older adults. Designing for older adults is inclusive design: it accommodates a range of physical and cognitive abilities and promotes simplicity, flexibility, and ease of use for people of any age.

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