If I were a product interface designer, I’d start looking into creating experiences for the LOHAS crowd (Age 35 to 55). Baby Boomers are the largest growing population segment followed by the Early Gen X crowd (and I should know) yet products almost always seem to gear their marketing and their features to the young. Nothing wrong with that, we were all young once (thank god that’s over) but there comes a point where buttons need to be easier to find and use, and what’s intuitive for the "Digital Babies" may not be for those who learnt to use a PC in High School.
Taking a leaf from Chris Gielow’s book, let’s use the "mom test" as an example, and of course one of my favorite companies, Skype. Dad set it up for mom to use – no more telephone bills to her daughtrs in India and the US – and I called mom. She finally answered after a few rings and said "I didn’t know what to do, I heard it ring, so I clicked on the button which showed an upright telephone" Obviously, the right thing to do, since we were talking. Plus the button is green, while the other icon is a phone in horizontal position and coloured red. Whereas, she has yet to figure out how to use MSN messenger or Yahoo IM or chat features. The Skype dialogue box allows her to do what is natural without having to decipher language or instructions or smaller icons. I could be biased, but I’m nonetheless impressed. (And mom, if you’re reading this, of course it’s because you’re brilliant, not the software :P)