I wanted to close the pop-up window, but I downloaded a lot of useless apps

"The smartphone is so convenient, you can play videos with you at any time, you can also watch short videos, buy things, and the time passes quickly, but it is too stuck." Wang Hui, an Anhui native who works in Beijing, recently went back to his hometown to visit his grandfather, and the old man said to him with his mobile phone.

Wang Hui casually clicked on an App and found that the bottom of the page was full of advertisements, and there was a small close sign in the lower right corner, and if he accidentally clicked it, it displayed "Start Download". "Grandpa panicked when he saw that it was not closed, and he hurriedly pressed it, so more pop-up windows appeared and more useless apps were downloaded."

In recent years, in order to cope with the "digital divide", the mainland has accelerated the promotion of App aging transformation: chatting and watching news in the "big name" mode on WeChat, buying bus tickets and paying electricity bills in the "elder mode"... More and more "silver-haired people" are enjoying the convenience of digital life through apps.

However, a recent investigation by a reporter from Rule of Law Daily found that there are many names for age-appropriate models, such as "large-print version", "simple version", "elderly mode" and "elderly model"; The font size of the page in the app is small; Phenomena such as many advertisements and pop-up windows that are not easy to close still plague the elderly, and special apps for "silver-haired people", especially social apps, are still lacking.

The interviewed industry insiders suggested that to promote the aging transformation of App, it is necessary to base on the actual social needs of the elderly group, optimize the interface design, simplify the operation process, and provide voice navigation and voice input functions to truly solve the pain points of the elderly and enhance the sense of gain of the elderly.

Pop-up windows are not easy to close

All kinds of coupons dominate the screen

In order to solve the problems faced by the elderly when using smart mobile devices, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the Special Action Plan for Internet Application Ageing and Barrier-free Transformation (hereinafter referred to as the "Plan") in 2020, deciding to start the special action on Internet application aging from 2021. The "Plan" announces the list of the first batch of age-appropriate transformation apps, covering news and information, social communication, life shopping, financial services, travel, medical and health and other types of mobile phone software.

Since September this year, the reporter selected a number of social apps for aging mode trial and found that the aging design of these applications is diverse, including "care mode", "elder version mode" and "care mode", but no software will appear a pop-up window immediately when it is opened for the first time after downloading, reminding users to switch between "elder version mode". Some apps switch the aging mode in a conspicuous place on the operation interface, such as the upper right corner; Some apps require users to find their own, and the path is more complicated; The Settings button of More Apps is a small, inconspicuous icon that doesn't have any text prompts and is hard for seniors to find.

After switching to the aging mode, the reporter noticed that some apps only increased the font, other functions did not change, and there was no optimization operation; Some apps eliminate unnecessary options and only retain the main functions to make the interface more concise, but the page design of such apps is relatively simple, the display of goods and services is few, and the elderly need to constantly swipe and turn pages to find the content they need.

There are also some apps whose age-appropriate mode puts manual telephone communication first, which is popular among the elderly. For example, railway 12306, in its "love version", the two most conspicuous functional entrances are "online booking" and "telephone booking".

The reporter's investigation found that there are many "routines" in the aging mode of some social apps. For example, some apps "trip" the elderly on the page layout, and accidentally touch the "floating window" to enter the advertising interface; Some App pages have many "junk functions", and various "coupons" occupy the center of the screen, which is suspected of inducing borrowing, and it is not easy to operate when returning to the page; Some apps are reduced to "a skin", where the page seems to have a larger font and a simple design, but after clicking, it returns to the standard page; Some apps only set large fonts on the primary interface, and the secondary interface has returned to the normal font size...

According to Zhang Xiaoxia, senior partner of Beijing Zhongzheng Law Firm and "Volunteer Envoy for the Protection of Rights for the Elderly" of the China Volunteer Association, aging is a positive measure advocated by the mainland to benefit the people, and the apps in the current transformation list have achieved certain positive results, but the number of apps is large and updated quickly, and the overall aging process needs to be strengthened. From the enterprise level, there is a lack of continuous investment in age-appropriate transformation, aging is not the core content of App development, some enterprises have only carried out preliminary transformation, and lack in-depth research on aging issues; From the regulatory level, there is a lack of ageing norms, only programmatic principles and policies, lack of specific rules for enforcement, and lack of corresponding punishment mechanisms, which cannot play a strong supervision.

"In the process of age-appropriate transformation, there are still many difficulties. The transformation standards of various companies are not uniform, there is no unified standard for the content suitable for aging, and the elderly group is often at a loss in the face of different standards and different names, and then abandons the use; Secondly, the transformation content is not complete and imperfect, the specifications issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology clearly mention that it is forbidden to appear advertising pop-ups in apps suitable for aging transformation, but some apps will appear in other forms in the secondary window, and the functional design, functional vocabulary, terminology, etc. of some apps are still more in line with the use habits of young people, and the elderly group has difficulties in understanding. Zhang Xiaoxia said.

She believes that the supervision and guarantee system for App aging transformation has not yet formed is also a problem, resulting in the elderly group being easily lured by online fraud and false advertising, and it is difficult for enterprises to continue to invest in aging transformation with consciousness.

There are few apps for the elderly

Social needs are hard to come by

Sports check-ins, today's outfits, photography blockbusters... On a certain App, the reporter saw many elderly people who are keen on social networking post various dynamics on it.

This app is called "Old Red Book", the operation is relatively simple: pass the pictures and text, you can directly one-click typesetting, adjust the font, and then match the music with similar styles, travel style, sports style or literary style can be easily done. In its recommended square, you can also see landscape scenery, high-definition flower and bird pictures, and a lot of various poems and articles.

The reporter noticed that the App often launches themed activities, such as "the best travel route" and "spring sketching", etc., on the one hand, it can attract many enthusiasts to participate in the activity, release the theme of the event and other content, on the other hand, take this as an opportunity to organize netizens with common interests to play together in reality, with peers as companions, but also to comfort the loneliness of life.

According to the evaluation of the elderly, the app allows "silver-haired people" to express themselves, make friends with friends, learn and improve, and "find a sense of belonging to a certain extent."

In the application market, the reporter found that there are very few social apps for the elderly that are popular with the elderly like this, and there have been several apps that specifically serve the elderly to make friends before, but they have been removed for various reasons shortly after operation.

Why are social apps for the elderly rare in the market and difficult to operate for a long time?

Zhang Xiaoxia believes that the public does not pay enough attention to the market of the elderly group, the needs and development of young and middle-aged people are still the focus of social attention, the mainland is gradually entering a severely aging society, the attention and investment of the society have not yet been raised to a corresponding height, and the investment of social resources is insufficient.

"Revenue acquisition has always been an important goal of app development companies, compared with young people, the elderly group is more slow to perceive new things, and more development companies have not yet sorted out the mode of traffic acquisition and cash monetization in the elderly social field, resulting in the failure of continuous investment and update of apps." The online behavior and needs of the elderly are increasingly personalized, diversified and refined, and App developers are mainly young people, who have unclear insight into the pain points of the elderly group's 'touching the Internet', cannot accurately grasp the more accurate needs of the elderly, and the application of 'suitable for aging' is relatively slow. In addition, cases of marriage and romance deception of the elderly, health care product fraud, telecommunications network fraud and other types of cases have emerged one after another, which to a certain extent 'dissuaded' some elderly users. Zhang Xiaoxia said.

Design based on needs

Risks should be alerted

According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, at the end of 2022, the mainland population aged 60 and above will be 280.04 million, accounting for 19.8% of the national population, of which 209.78 million people aged 65 and over, accounting for 14.9% of the national population, and the rapid increase in the elderly population will become the new normal for a period of time in the future.

How to respond to the social needs of the elderly, promote the aging process of social apps, and let more elderly people catch the express train of the digital age?

An industry insider told reporters based on his own experience that the aging transformation of the App should pay attention to the following points:

Optimize interface design. The eyesight and hearing of the elderly will gradually decline with age, so pay attention to increasing font size and contrast when designing products, use high-definition images and audio files, avoid using too fancy animation effects, and ensure that the interface is simple and clear.

Streamline operational processes. The elderly are slower to accept new things than young people, so it is necessary to simplify the operation process as much as possible in product design to avoid excessive operation steps and complex operation methods.

Provides voice navigation and voice input capabilities. The ability of the elderly to use the keyboard and mouse gradually declines with age, so providing voice navigation and voice input functions in product design can help the elderly use the product more conveniently.

Li Jing, deputy director of the Legal Research and Service Center for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities at Chinese Minmin University, believes that many elderly people are also using social apps, they are very willing to understand what young people are doing, and sometimes special effects are better than young people, so some apps only need to distinguish in the form of fonts, etc., and there is no need to distinguish too much in content.

"We should do a good job in research, effectively understand the specific pain points of the elderly in the process of using the App, to comply with the needs of the elderly, to solve the pain points of the elderly, rather than being forced by policy pressure perfunctory, to uphold the problem-oriented should be corrected, and constantly optimized, rather than just making appearances, going through the motions, whether it is the supply of age-appropriate products and services, or the presentation and functional design of age-appropriate content, we must focus on meeting the real needs of the elderly and enhance the sense of gain of the elderly." Li Jing said.

She proposed that when designing the app, the elderly should be invited to experience a series of processes from download to installation and use, such as the simpler the download, the better, the one-click operation, and how the font and background color are appropriate. As long as it is an app used by the elderly, ads are blocked. The acceptance process before being put on the market should also involve the elderly. Now although many apps have a care mode, the font will become larger after selection, but the settings are hidden very deeply, which is very difficult for the elderly to find, you should put it on the home page of the App, or enter the App There will be relevant tips.

"The government should introduce more detailed policies and norms, provide implementation models, increase corresponding punishment mechanisms, punish development companies that do not promote aging well, set up an award list, and give corresponding commendations to companies that actively promote aging." It is also necessary to strengthen the construction of high-quality content pools, encourage the creation of age-appropriate content, combat malicious inducement, deception, deceptive interaction and other behaviors for middle-aged and elderly people, improve the response to potential risk private message early warnings, tighten advertising strategies, zero tolerance for illegal advertising, and continue to carry out care and publicity for the elderly, so that the elderly can 'have fun in the elderly'. Zhang Xiaoxia said. (Rule of Law Daily reporter Zhang Shoukun, intern Chen Haozheng)