How our Product Discovery process drove us to rethink our business idea


In an age dominated by digital connectivity, the challenges faced by senior citizens in navigating the online world often go unnoticed. To address this, the idea of creating a browser tailored for the elderly emerged. This article outlines our journey of product and customer discovery, focusing on understanding the needs of our target demographic through both secondary and primary research methods. Through surveys, interviews, and observations, we sought to validate our hypothesis and uncover insights that would shape our product development strategy.


In an era where the internet serves as a gateway to boundless information and connectivity, certain demographics, particularly the elderly population, face challenges navigating its unfamiliar interfaces and complex systems. This can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnect from the abundant resources and opportunities available online.

With that in mind, the idea of creating a new browser focused on senior citizens was envisioned by Lloyd Jacob. However, to validate the idea, extensive Customer and Product discovery processes would need to conducted. For this portion, I Vinicius Silva joined Lloyd’s project. Here are the discovery processes and steps, we planned and I executed.

By the end of this article, you will understand my research process, the outcomes we achieved, and the actionable steps we took. These insights could prove valuable for your company's research, strategies and product management.


Problem hypothesis: “As an elderly internet user, I always feel confused and overwhelmed with the current tools available in my internet browser. I need a browser that's easy to navigate so that I can access online content without confusion or frustration.”


For the Product Discovery process, first, we decided to use the Double Diamond design process, a simple 4-step framework used for creating solutions to complex problems. The first step was to Discover, where we needed to find the problem and understand it.

During the initial phase, we initiated a Customer Discovery process with the objective of acquiring profound insights into the needs, preferences, and behaviors of our target demographic (senior citizens 60+ years old). The approaches used were:

Primary research: interviews, surveys, and conversations with the target audience

Secondary research: indirect studies on behavior, distribution, and preferences of our target audience

Secondary Research

This step consisted of gathering existing data and information from sources such as market reports, academic studies, and industry publications to understand the target audience's behaviors, problems, and trends without directly engaging with them.

We researched in:

- Facebook groups
- Quora forums
- Reddit forums
- Google scholar articles
- AARP articles 
- Pew Research Center articles
- Statista highlights

Primary Research

Following the Secondary Research, the findings remained inconclusive, limited to sporadic comments and assumptions regarding specific scenarios [see Results - Secondary Research Results].  

It was crucial to determine whether there was a specific problem requiring resolution and whether senior citizens genuinely faced challenges with internet browsers. Subsequently, we proceeded with Primary Research, which involves directly gathering new data and insights from target customers through methods like surveys, interviews, or observations. We used surveys and interviews.


We created a survey to quantify and understand the potential issues that could validate our hypothesis and provide us with insights. The survey included the following questions:

1) What kind of device do you use mostly?

2) What browser do you use mostly?

3) How many hours do you spend on the internet in a day?

4) What are the main things you do on the internet?

5) How comfortable are you browsing the internet?

6) What is the most frustrating thing when you’re using the internet? 

7) What is the most frustrating thing when you’re using your] internet browser?

8) Which features of a browser are most important to you?

9) How do you solve the frustrations you mentioned above?

10) If you could have a magic wand to change one thing about tech devices, what would it be?

11) How do you communicate with your family or friends?

12) Select the issues you have encountered while using the internet [listed issues]

13) What is your age?

Apart from questions 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10, all other questions were presented in a multiple-choice format. 

To share the survey through our target audiences, first, we tried to share it in Facebook groups, Quora/Reddit forums, and contact senior centers across the US, but we didn’t have success. Then we created a Facebook ad campaign that generated a higher response rate.

With the Facebook ad campaign, the number of survey submissions quadrupled. In the total results, 80% of the responses were obtained after we advertised the survey.

Before campaign: 10 submissions, 19.61%
After campaign:    41 submissions, 80.39%
Total:                       51 submissions


We conducted 2 interviews with users who fit our target audience. The objective was to understand and observe the behavior, talk about situations, and know deeply about how they use the internet (browser). 


The outcomes of the methodologies employed.

Secondary Research Results

After research, we found insights to provide us a path forward:

The main social network used: Facebook

Two observed elderly groups: 

(1) Those unfamiliar with computers in their youth, now retired and fearful or novice users. 

(2) Early adopters, aged 30s-40s during PC emergence in workplaces (mid-1980s) and homes (around 1990)

The most common internet uses for senior citizens:

- Checking email

- Contact family members

- News

- Social media and forums

- Shopping

- Games (simple online games

Issues observed in personal comments:

- Some older people feel a lack of confidence and worry about breaking something when using the internet.

- Many old folks are vulnerable to security threats.

- Many different passwords are confusing.

- Ads are annoying and confusing.

Example of comment in Quora

Primary Research Results

Based on the insights from the Secondary Research we created the survey. In total, 50 people answered (9 in the Portuguese version and 41 in the English) and we gathered the following results.


Main browser: Google Chrome (77.8%)

Time spent on the Internet: 4-6 hours (50%)

Main activities: E-mail (92.3%), Social Networks (79.5%), Communication (76.9%)


Interviews and open-ended questions

The most common topics mentioned during the interviews and on the open-ended questions were

- Fear of security threats 
- Ads promoting bad answers in the browser experience
- Annoying ads
- Browser performance
- False information

Discussions (need review)

Based on the results, it seems that senior citizens in general feel comfortable browsing the Internet. 75% of the people declared as very comfortable or comfortable. This invalidates our hypothesis that people in their 60+ years old feel confused and overwhelmed with the current tools available in their internet browsers.

Additionally, there wasn’t any clear and overarching problem we could identify. Survey takers mentioned having specific problems like browser speed, annoying ads, false information, security threats, many passwords, etc. Many of these problems are not browser-related and there are current players on the market already have useful solutions (Adblocks or Chrome password manager, for example).

Investing in development resources to create a new browser for seniors doesn't seem feasible as long as we don't have a clear problem. Possible solutions would be to pivot to an extension (or another technology) or to dive deep into the results and look for a specific niche to explore.


Through a comprehensive product discovery process, we gained valuable insights into the behaviors and preferences of elderly internet users. While initial assumptions suggested a need for a senior-friendly browser, our primary research revealed that the majority of seniors feel comfortable browsing the internet.

Moreover, the specific problems mentioned by participants were often not browser-related, and existing solutions were available for those that were. As a result, investing in the development of a new browser for seniors may not be feasible at this time.

Moving forward, alternative avenues such as developing browser extensions or exploring niche markets based on our findings may offer more promising opportunities for innovation and impact.

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