Design Patterns
for Mobile User Interfaces
Targeted at Older Adults

← Back to list of patterns

How should these patterns be used?


Our patterns largely follow the structure presented by Christopher Alexander in "A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction" (1977), and that was later reused by Jan Borchers in "A Pattern Approach to Interaction Design" (2001).

Level of confidence

Each pattern starts with its name written in small caps. An individual ranking is attributed to each pattern, representing the level of confidence that the authors deposit in it. This ranking can range from zero to two asterisks, where zero represents the lowest level of confidence and two represents the highest.


The pattern identification elements are followed by the context that describes the reader’s current situation, as well as the goal of the pattern and the environment within which it is located. The title and context will give the reader an immediate perception whether the pattern is applicable, or not, to their particular problem.

Problem statement

After the context is set, the problem statement is presented in bold and is followed by a longer problem description. It is in the problem description, that contradicting forces are explained and the problem’s empirical background is presented.


Finally, the solution appears in bold and includes references to other related patterns. These references point to other patterns in the language, and offer readers further guidance in constructing usable UIs for older adults.


Unlike Alexander’s patterns, we do not present an image of a real-world application of the patterns, as they have not yet been put into practice. We could provide examples of interfaces that unintentionally meet the criteria defined in each pattern but thought that would not aid in the comprehensibility of the patterns themselves.


Borchers, J. (2001). A Pattern Approach to Interaction Design: John Wiley & Sons.

Alexander, C., S. Ishikawa, and M. Silverstein. A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction. Oxford University Press, 1977