mobile

Forget Apple, this smartphone’s designed specially for granny

By Kitty Knowles 25 January 2016
A Doro smartphone could make your granny happy. Pic: iStock/rollover
Summary

This Swedish smartphone company makes neat 'Easy Phones' with the elderly in mind.

My grandad was pretty tech, using email before I even had a grown-up email address. But mobile phones – and smartphones in particular – can be counter-intuitive even if you’re a digital native.

The Apple iPhone, for example, is going backward when it comes to being user-friendly.

“Today we sadly have a little bit of a setback, as some companies embrace what’s called a ‘flat design philosophy’, which means to remove some of the visibility of what you can do,” UX expert Jakob Nielsen, told The Memo.

“Buttons are not really marked very clearly, and links are not strongly emphasised with underline or strong colours.”

“Some people think that looks better but that said it actually does undermine usability, making it harder to know what you can do.”

This is where Doro steps in.

Doro, a smartphone for you granny

Over the past five years, the Swedish phone company has made a name for itself creating sensibly designed smartphones especially for the over-65s.

Now the third-largest maker of ‘feature phones’ in Europe, its range of so-called ‘Easy-Phones’ feature large icons, easy menus and loud, clear sound. These vary in price from being free on contract, up to £160 (by comparison, the cheapest SIM-only iPhone is £379).

“Our mission is to help people who face the challenges of ageing to live an easier, safer and more fulfilling everyday life,” the company states on its website.

Doro EasyPhone smartphones. Pic: Doro.
Doro EasyPhone smartphones. Pic: Doro.

Good news for 2016

Now Doro is set to make life even easier, as it will this year launch a new model that move away from apps in favour of word-based services.

Buttons will simply say things like “call”, “view” and “search”, while selecting “add” gives the user the choice of entering a calendar date or uploading a new phone number.

The company also plans to launch a separate app that can be used (on any smartphone, including iPhones) to monitor Doro phone usage; this means that friends and relatives can check in without having to formerly check-in.

The ‘Great Pound’ matters

Doro has been clever in cashing in on the Grey Pound. It’s now the only mobile handset maker left of a once-thriving Scandinavian sector now that both Nokia and Ericsson have bit the dust.

As Martha Lane-Fox campaigns for better digital inclusion with her digital skills charity Go ON UK, its about time phone manufacturers recognised older people as an audience with needs to be met – especially as there will be around 728m people above the age of 65 across the world by 2020.

We’re looking forward to the new improved Doro: Finally a phone to make your granny happy.