Frequently Asked Questions

What is the meaning of the term ‘age-friendly’?

We define age-friendly as: “An environment where the unique physical needs of older people are satisfied in a way that is natural and beneficial for all ages”. There are multiple ways that physiological ageing impacts how we experience our environment. Download “25 Effects of Ageing” to learn about the most important types of ageing.

How were the physiological effects of ageing researched?

Much of the research was undertaken in the preparation of the marketing textbook that Kim and Dick jointly authored. Marketing to the Ageing Consumer is published by Palgrave Macmillan and was launched at the beginning of 2013. For more details see http://www.age-friendly.com/the-book/. This document [25 Effects of Ageing] is a summary of the most important effects of ageing that are covered in the book.

How was the AF model created?

We aggregated the best examples of customer experience research into a single model. This was extended to incorporate the latest developments in digital marketing. The model was tested using a range of industries including hospitality, finance, consumer electronics and white goods. The touchpoints are grouped into a ‘journey’. For example for Brands it is the customer journey, for Cities its citizen journey, for patients the Medical journey.

Are their client-specific or industry-specific questions?

You cannot add client or industry specific questions to the iTunes app or any of the upgrades. There is an Expert version of the app that provides this functionality plus more options for analysis, output and the number of auditors and administrators.

For details of the Expert app please contact us via App Support

What do you mean by ‘Journey’?

A ‘Journey’ is the detailed sequence of steps or ‘touchpoints’. The AF Brands Tool was built around the Customer Journey (age-friendly business or brand). It has since expanded to cover Employees (age-friendly employment) and Citizen (age-friendly social infrastructure).

We are in the process of creating new industry specific journeys.

Do I need to be technologically adept?

Considerable effort has been made to make the tool as simple as possible. If you can use an iPad and are web literate then you can use the audit tool. Training videos are provided for each phase of using the AF app and AF Engine. The videos can be found in the AF apps section of the web site .

What are the long-term plans for the AF tool?

Our aim is for the AF Tool to become globally recognised as the process and toolset that organisations use to to determine their age-friendliness.

How much effort is required to undertake an audit?

It is difficult to give an answer to this question since it depends on the depth and scope of the audit. The Free app has a few generic questions that illustrate the way the tool works. The Pro Upgrade has over 150 questions that need to be answered.

Furthermore, the degree of note taking as well as the additional functionality of camera and sound recording available in the upgrade versions, means that the detail in evaluating each question becomes a very personalised to the auditor.

Can the AF tool handle different languages?

The Free AF tool and the Upgrade versions are all in English.

The Expert version of the AF tool is available in Japanese. We are working with partners to make the tools available in other languages.

What training is involved?

When you first use the app and the Web Engine you are provided with videos that provide step by step instructions on how they are used.

Another set of videos is provided once you purchase upgrade packs. All the videos can be seen here on the AF Support web site.

Personalised training via Skype is available at an hourly rate. Training sessions for larger companies are quoted based on scope. For details please contact us.

How detailed are the questions in the upgraded apps?

The upgrade questions are far more detailed. For example, the AF Brands Retail pack alone contains 45 questions to evaluate the age-friendliness of the Retail Channel.  The Retail journey is then divided into the following touchpoints (Access, Ambience, Check-out, Comfort, Product,  Sales, Signage and Toilet facilities)

Here are three example questions

Audio:  Is the level of ambient noise in the store likely to cause annoyance or difficulty when talking with the sales staff?

Audio background music: Is the style of music being played likely to make an older customer feel out of place?

Illumination: Is the light in the store sufficient for you to easily see the product on display and the packaging?

For each question we provide scoring criteria that are related to one or more of the effects of physiological ageing (cognitive, sensory and physical)

In addition to the Retail questions the module also includes complimentary questions to evaluate the Online sub-Experiences (Mobile App, Mobile Web, Online Help, Search and Website) as well as a set of questions covering the various aspects of sales and post sales support.

Why was the AF tool developed?

Most people understand the problems associated with our ageing populations but few see the opportunity. For most companies the core challenge is knowing where to begin – and – how to start. The Audit applies a rigorous process to highlight potential barriers between an organisation and it’s ageing customers, employees or citizens. The ‘bottom line’ is the audit improves the way organisations respond to their key assets – customers and employees.

Who developed the AF tool?

The AF tool was conceived and developed by Kim Walker, the leading expert in 50-plus marketing in Asia Pacific and Dick Stroud the author of Europe’s best selling book The 50-Plus Market.

Can I add new questions?

Only in the Expert version can users add new questions. However, if you have questions you think would add value to an existing journey or touchpoint, please contact us and we’ll consider it for inclusion.

If you’d like to know more about the Expert version, please contact Kim or Dick via this page or use the app support contact form.

Has the AF tool been field-tested?

The beta version has been tested in 50 audits. The experience and feedback from these audits form the basis for the new iPad-based AF tool.

Does one need to study gerontology to conduct an audit?

Obviously, it is a benefit if auditors are accustomed with the behaviour of older consumers but this is not essential. The tool contains sufficient instructions for it to be operated by non-specialists.

Does the tool use 3rd-party apps?

Whenever possible, the questions use third party apps and software to improve the accuracy of the responses. These apps will need to be downloaded directly from Apple iTunes at the licensee’s expense.

How objective are the scores?

We have created objective measures for as many of the issues as possible in an effort to remove subjectivity and to make the Audit accurately replicable as possible. However, the tool provides specific guidance on the scoring of each questions to improve accuracy.

Does the tool help with understanding the psychological and behavioural factors of ageing?

The tool is very much focused on the physiological aspects of ageing and their impact on the customer experience. However, we have sometimes married the output from an audit with qualitative research to add human texture to the rigour of the Audit.

Can you measure the ROI effect of using the tool?

People have asked for ROI but it is too early to provide any. The trouble with modelling is that depends how rigorously companies implement the conclusions from the research audit.