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This question is begging for an age-related tag and we don't seem to have one, and I wasn't sure how to word such a thing myself. I would personally use the term "Older users" but I'm sure there's a better and more accurate way to put it.

More generally is the issue of User Groups; experience, age, sex. These are often topics in UX and surely will be a common topic in our questions, but we don't seem to have any tags directly related to specific groups. I've never created a tag in SE before and I don't know which tags people believe would help so I thought I would ask here.

I've been doing some searching and neither the ACM or the SIGCHI conference seem to have a list of specific keywords for this sort of situation, so I can't decide. I have fonud a couple articles that use the terms "Older Users" (most frequently) and "Older Adults" (which I find less descriptive in a UX situation; the fact that they are a user is relevant, the fact that they are an adult is almost redundant). Currently I would suggest "Older Users", "Children" ("Child Users?") and perhaps "age-related design" or something similar for a more general tag.

Update: I created a tag older-users for the question mentioned as that seems to be the most fitting or at least most common keyword used in academic articles from what I've seen.

An answer I got from a professor of Human Computer Interaction: "I don't think there are universally accepted terms. Yes, "children" and "older adults" tend to be most common, but it is best to try to be as specific as possible with the data or project you are dealing with."

Since we're talking tags rather than keywords for a specific, explicit research topic like a single paper, I think the "children" and "older adults" style tags are perfectly acceptable. After all while "Children ages 5-7" might be the explicit target of a single study/question, it's not very helpful as a tag if I'm searching for questions on designing for general age ranges.

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That's a very good idea. There certainly are many UX questions that are only related to one age/sex/skill user group and tags to denote each of these could be useful.

I'd divide each of the three categories into several tags, but I'm not sure how to word them either, not to offend any users. Is there any standardized nomenclature used in usability testing guidelines?

  • I updated my question, did a little research but found no definitive list of age/skill/group related keywords from the ACM or SIGCHI, the big players that I'm most aware of. "Older Users" certainly seems to be in common use and I don't believe it would be seen as offensive or ill fitting, I'm just wondering if there's a more technical or more widely accepted term – Ben Brocka Aug 28 '11 at 17:18
  • I agree. It does seem important to distinguish between age and experience. I've posted an answer below. – eBeth Aug 31 '11 at 17:54
  • Yes, we certainly shouldn't combine these groups together. There are seniors much more proficient with computers than some of the youngsters. – Philip Seyfi Aug 31 '11 at 18:25
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I've always used "Novice", "Average" and "Power" when describing users in documentation. I've always given a description in the documentation, but right now I don't have those descriptions handy. Can post if it will help.

  • I've never been sure whether to use "power" user vs "technical" or "experienced." With no background "Power" user is much less obvious in intent but "power" user seems to be the preferred term at least informally. – Ben Brocka Aug 31 '11 at 18:16

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