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Our blog contains a great many articles on user / usability testing, plain language, research with 'older' people and different research methods.


How to understand older people and tech #1: crystallised intelligence

The best digital experiences for older people take advantage of their crystallised intelligence

As we age, we gain a type of intelligence called ‘crystallised’ intelligence.

Crystallised intelligence comes from our experiences and the knowledge we have stored in long term memory. We become very good at solving problems by drawing on what we know.

One of the frustrations frequently voiced by older people in our research is how frustrating it is when a tech tool they know well gets updated or re-designed. It’s important to remember that someone with crystallized intelligence will instinctively try to solve a problem by drawing on familiar concepts and language.


Unfortunately, the designers of some new apps and software have forgotten this lesson. They change the names for things, move things around and change where items are located.

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