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Senior citizens help researchers design friendly banking interfaces

A European consortium has designed friendly banking ATM, mobile, TV and web interfaces in order to boost the access of senior citizens to these services.

17% of Europeans are over 65 years. This percentage will increase in 2060 to 30%. Currently, most go to a branch and usually do not feel safe when using online banking or an ATM. For example, only 33% of senior citizens use ATMs compared to 86% of the rest of the population. Current interfaces are not adapted to their needs and abilities: issues arise related to the font size on the screen, the size of the buttons and understanding what steps should be taken to withdraw money or complete a transfer. "For these reasons it is necessary to change to a banking model with easy-to-use online services as we have shown in Bank4Elder" adds Miguel López, Innovation Director at the Instituto de Biomecánica de Valencia (IBV). At present, both ATM and e-banking are the most extended methods but they require a redesign that takes into account the needs and capabilities of older population. However, trends indicate that in the future access to banking services through mobile phones or television will also be increasing. In order to resolve this situation, BANK4ELDER designed user-friendly interfaces for senior citizens to access these banking services. Design and validation with elderly people The project has developed and validated with senior citizens 4 interfaces (TV, web, mobile and ATM) to access various banking services bearing in mind that there are two groups of users: high tech and low tech (people who have never used a computer or own a smartphone). The involvement of potential users in Spain and Portugal throughout the entire project has been the key to success, including field tests at home. Their support has totally changed the focus of traditional banking, especially online banking, where the endless options menus are changed for an easier and more graphic way of presenting the information. Validation included usability testing of the new design with a very high degree of satisfaction, although low-tech people still need some assistance to perform certain tasks, especially to interact with the web interface. Specifically, over 90% of users who have participated in the project can successfully access the services through all interfaces. Furthermore, both the satisfaction and performance success increases with the frequency of use, reaching 100% in many cases. The ATM was the best evaluated. In fact, people who never used it and did not see the benefits, claim that they would use more often an ATM designed with the Bank4elder interface. In conclusion, the consortium has created an easy-to-use environment for senior citizens, multimodal, ubiquitous and customizable, explains Innovation Director at the IBV, Miguel López. "We think of solutions that encourage greater access to banking services through new technologies, which is not yet widespread in this sector since the elderly find them difficult to interact with." "These are solutions tailored to meet the demands of functionality, accessibility, usability and aesthetics of elderly people. Furthermore, the characteristics of these environments allow them to adapt to the needs of each client," says Miguel López. The project Bank4Elder with the reference AAL-2010-3-039, has received funding from the AAL Joint Programme co-funded by the European Commission. Coordinated by Vector, Spanish software and technology developer consulting enterprise, three European companies (Nuromedia, Digintel and NewAmuser) also took part in the project and provided the more technical aspects of development. Besides the Institute of Biomechanics, the Provincial Federation of Democratic Associations of Pensioners and Retired people UDP Valencia and the Portuguese association of senior citizens Rutis also collaborated with this initiative.


Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal