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Empowering seniors to use Android phones

At Katsuna we revisit Android to offer a smartphone experience to senior users that is more accessible, more enjoyable, more satisfactory. We empower seniors to use the latest Android versions and an extensive ecosystem of apps specifically designed for their needs.

What is Katsuna?

What is Katsuna?

Introduction to Katsuna
Challenges for seniors

Challenges for seniors

Analysis about the barriers seniors have on Android


Explanation on how we face the challenges for seniors

Using Android is not easy for everyone.

Seniors face a wide set of challenges as the ageing process is different for everyone. These challenges are related to the decline process of physical and mental characteristic such as vision, hearing, memory, cognition and motor control. Each individual's characteristics decline dynamically through age and this decline differs to each characteristic. Therefore “one size fits all” solutions are not relevant for senior users.

The different challenges of each individual result to difficulties for services & solutions to be effective without understanding each individual user characteristics and peculiar needs. The above explain the hurdles seniors face with Android and smartphones in general as current solutions do not take individual characteristics into account. The major challenges for seniors with Android are:

Interaction complexity.

Having so many options on Android becomes a burden for senior users. Moreover, the options given to users are not prioritized and that results to confusion. Senior users are lost on Android and cannot complete the intended actions with ease.

Adaptation requires time and effort.

Senior people face discomfort and disappointment when using smartphones for the first time. Major reason is the number of different designs and interfaces required even for performing basic operations. Especially if a user is not familiar with Android much effort is required to adapt. 

User characteristics are not considered.

Each user is unique and has individual characteristics. Smartphone's interfaces are designed for a single type of user. Different physical and mental user needs are not taken into account. Users who struggle feel excluded.

One trend is certain: the ageing of populations is rapidly accelerating worldwide. 

60+ as percentage of population.

Source: UNDESA Population division, World population prospects

There is a strong need for the digital enablement of seniors 

Smartphones will become essential to communicate and will be the tool in order to collaborate with companies & governments. Seniors have historically been late adopters to the world of technology compared to their younger compatriots, but their movement into digital life continues to deepen.

There is an interesting report from The Boston Consulting Group explaining 

Statistics proving senior users have difficulties with using smartphones.

It's not only seniors. 40% of the population is struggling with using computers!

The smartphone penetration on seniors is relatively low even in developed countries: 

The inconvenience of current smartphone propositions is more obvious on ages 70+ when physical and mental limitations make the use of smartphones even more difficult. The problem of accessible smartphone technology for seniors on global scale is unaddressed. The problem is rather obvious either you search for facts or if you just see around you.

At Katsuna we are offering our 2 cents.

Seniors go Android

We revisit Android with the goal to deal with the challenges senior users have with smartphones, lower their hurdles and empower them to use smartphones. We offer more accessible and meaningful digital experiences rethinking basic interactions on Android for an effective everyday use of a mobile phone. 

Access to technology is a right, not a commodity.

We are dealing with complexity and unifying the way to do things on Android. At Katsuna empathy is the driving force for understanding individual user characteristics and then offering tailored experiences to our solution ecosystem. We strive to provide accessibility and a way to easily learn to use Android devices without having previous knowledge.

We frame and tailor the context of basic actions so seniors can effectively follow and complete simple flows. Katsuna focuses on the basics and offers the support structure for the every day phone use. We invite a broader audience to Android. The idea behind Katsuna ROM is to make senior people comfortable with Android phones. Therefore we recreated the way users interact with the basic applications and the operating system delivering a coherent look & feel. 

Going from feature phones to smartphones is not easy for seniors. They have challenges that are unsolved by the current offerings. Katsuna fills the void and delivers convenience on Android, empowering senior people for utilizing smartphones.

Our apps are available on Google Play.

Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Download and install the Katsuna ROM on Nexus devices.

At Katsuna we understand user challenges and we deal with them one by one. Our approaches are implemented across all our sollutions with coherency and help seniors utilize Android phones. We provide context and flow. The below approaches are dealing with senior challenges:


A set of two options is given to complete major tasks. Choices become obvious to the user who can deliver intended actions effectively.

3 step interaction path

The steps are:

  • Navigation
  • Focus in context
  • Interaction

Purpose driven concept with short interaction paths. Coherent experience, reduced time to Android adaptation. We unify user interfaces by following a single pattern for most interactions. Learning curve is significantly reduced.

For reaching the goal just navigate through a list of items, focus to the selected one and execute the action.

Tailored experiences based on user characteristics

The system based on user’s input, adapts to user visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and preferred hand.

Characteristics of seniors differ significantly. It is a necessity to provide tailored experiences for satisfying individual user needs and reduce barriers from physical and mental limitations.

Benefits when using Katsuna solutions

At Katsuna we redesign basic applications to optimize user performance in the areas of:

Decision making

By highlighting only the most important actions, prioritizing them and dealing with complexity, we help seniors on the desicion making process. Users focus on the significant choices.

Simplicity & coherency reduce hurdles on decision making. Systematically presenting relevant options is key.


We design solutions that help users focus on one thing at a time. We support the user to retain attention while performing an action and improve selective attention and attention switching. Flows are simple, even users with cognitive limitations can effectively complete actions.


Deficit in memory can be eliminated when providing contexual information about the elements of the solutions. We provide contextual information with icons, titles and descriptions which are understood by users of divergent cultural background.

The aforementioned 3 step interaction path helps significantly users to follow a smooth flow and not to be interupted; thus resulting to working memory disruption and contributing to the procedural memory.

As a next step we are working to support user's prospective memory through mechanisms of reminders and notification.

Interface tailoring

Every user is different. We try to understand user characteristics and deliver a tailored coherent experience to each user. We apply changes that improve the overall product. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like small improvements, but when combined with all other optimizations across our solutions, they have a noticeable impact on user experience. Tailoring is achieved by changes on different axes:


The user can specify his visual preferences during the initiation phase or through settings. After having understood the visual status of each user, the system adapts to user needs offering a custom to each user coherent experience across all Katsuna solutions. Colors and spacing and fonts are optimized for improved readability of texts.

Hand preference

First Android phone for left handed users. We think it is important that users use only their preferred hand while operating a phone. The modern mobile phones have become increasingly big and using only one hand has become difficult.

We help users who want to operate with one hand, eg disability cases where the second hand is not well functioning. We help left handed users (around 10% of the population) to operate smartphones and we offer a customized experience for left handed users across all solutions.