When you think about designing websites that include seniors, what first comes to mind? One thing I know is that we are all getting old and things don’t work as they used to.
The human body deteriorates as we age. But does this mean that seniors or people over 65 should stop using the web?
Research shows that as a global society, we are living longer and remaining more active later in life. According to the Web Accessibility Initiative, many older users have declined:
- Vision — Our eyesight weakens as we age.
- Physical ability — This decline reduces dexterity and fine motor control, making it difficult to use a mouse and click small targets.
- Hearing — This involves difficulty hearing higher-pitched sounds and separating sounds, making it difficult to hear podcasts and other audio, especially when there is background music.
- Cognitive ability — Cognitive ability impacts how people process information. So, a decline in cognitive or mental ability means reduced short-term memory, difficulty concentrating and being easily distracted. This decline makes it difficult to follow navigation and complete online tasks.
So, when designing your website, consider those aged 65 and older who may have trouble using your products/services because of the above conditions.
Here are things that will help when designing your website:
- You should create a high contrast between the text and the background. People with low vision are more common among the elderly. Still they can occur at any age because of health conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, etc. When there is low contrast between the text and background, it is harder for seniors and those with impaired vision to read the text. A poorly planned navigation can cause a bad user experience. Changing the colors of the visit links on the page will help the users recognize where they are and where they’ve been.
- Keep words familiar to the user in the navigation. When you use unfamiliar words, it can lead to confusion.
- Try to keep the menus in familiar locations. This strategy keeps the user from having to learn something new and becoming frustrated.
- Lastly, make the links on your page or buttons large enough to click or tap.