Blog 53

video call

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone to adapt to remote communication from attending meetings with colleagues and clients to catching up with friends and family. Zoom, Google Meet and Houseparty became leading apps everyone downloaded for this. Video calls became the closest thing to having a face-to-face conversation for many people.

However, as the majority of technology is aimed at digital-savvy users, those that aren’t as knowledgeable or used to apps like these may still struggle, especially if there’s no one to help them set up due to social distancing. Without generalising too much, sometimes, getting your grandparents or parents to learn a new tech can often be a struggle. So, we’d like to explore the challenges of onboarding them and how a better UX could improve this.

Not everyone is online

It must be hard to imagine a life without the internet and communication without certain apps. Yet, there are still people that have managed to go about their lives without being online for different reasons. A lot of them are the older population. The Office for National Statistics reports that about 13.5% of 65+ year olds and 47% of 75+ year olds in the UK don’t use the internet.

In situations like the lockdown, video conferencing could be their only way of keeping in touch with their families and friends (apart from just calling them). However, one of the main challenges would be getting these people to create an account with one of the platforms.

Registration or onboarding is probably one of the more complex areas that some users struggle with. It’s also where a chunk of drop offs happen. Forms are dull and unexciting. But many can also be hard to complete for people that don’t use technology much or don’t want to spend lots of time on complex tasks. It’s been reported that 81% of people have abandoned forms in the past and 67% don’t bother to return if they experience any difficulties filling them out. These are very high numbers and product owners need to optimise their forms so users of all levels would be able to fill them.

Don’t make people think

The most important part of the UX in any product is to be as simple as possible. Steve Krug’s book ‘Don’t Make Me Think’ suggests that people don’t like to spend too much time figuring out how to do certain things, and a website or app needs to support them as much as possible. In other words, whether it’s registration or setting up a call with someone - these actions need to be super simple and intuitive with as few steps as possible.

Many products already allow you to sign up with existing Facebook or Google accounts (single sign-on) which is much quicker and easier than filling out a form. But there are lots of people that don’t use these either, so even that can take a while to process. In this case, forms need to be short, clear and only require the absolutely necessary information to complete. Any extra details can be added later if needed.

For the purpose of setting up an account on platforms like Zoom or Houseparty to stay in touch with friends and family, simple forms will suffice. People only need to log in to communicate with each other. However, any more complex products that require customer verification, payment details, addresses etc also need to support those users that might struggle with them.

Create secure links for sign ups

If creating an account is too difficult, generating a secure link for short term access is perhaps a better way of getting people to use the platform. But more importantly, introducing technology and making it accessible to people who sometimes shy away from it will make their lives a lot easier.

Speaking from experience, registration can be a big hurdle. I can actually create a Google Account for my parents, but I’m still passing ownership back to them. And ultimately, they are responsible for that account. Perhaps there could be a system of having ‘trusted members’ that can assist in tricky situations, such as overriding a forgotten password (this happens way too much). It sounds silly to tech-savvy people, but no matter how intuitive you make a journey, for many people, this can still be intimidating.

In my opinion, current events have made this a much higher priority issue, but nonetheless, it’s an issue that’s been there for a much longer time. A lot has been done successfully, and really beautifully implemented, but as an industry, can we do more?

If you'd like to find out how we could help to improve the accessibility and UX of your products, get in touch with us!

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