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Website Design – Keep an Eye on the “Older Crowd”

Website Design – Keep an Eye on the “Older Crowd”

October 13, 2017

It is an assumption that when it comes to Technology that the User Group sixty-five years old and over are not accessing the internet. This is not entirely so. According to Google’s Consumer Barometer- 75% of this Audience utilize the web for personal use on the daily with over 20% using tablets as their device of choice. The screens on mobile tablets are the right size and easier for this Audience to control the font size by zooming in and out. So what does this mean for developers and designers? Simple- integrate simple UX strategies to ensure that you are not deterring a segment of your audience that has strong buying power.

Things to keep in mind when targeting and considering the sixty-five and over crowd:

Font control – provide the User the ability to increase font size for easy reading
Font size – consider using 16 pixels as the default font size – anything smaller could be difficult for the target audiences to read (sans serif fonts are preferred)
Color Swatches – consider using a lighter/pastel palette with minimal gradients or design elements. Darker colors are beautiful but can be harsh for the eyes. Softer color palettes allow the target audiences to focus on the content and will be more engaging.
Minimal Functions – Avoid having multiple screens for functions (forms should be on one page if possible)
Prominent Call-to-Actions – Large, easy to see Call-to-Action Buttons that prompt the User to take an action or walks them to through a process
Initial Call-to-Action – Have one image with one descriptive Tagline or Call-to-Action within the main banner. Too many overlapping messages or design elements can be hard on the eyes and overwhelming
Include simple, visual cues detailing the process and reinforce those cues throughout the site
Incentivize users by offering loyalty programs, exclusive content, coupons on related items, etc.
Ensure forms only ask for necessary information to reduce the chances of User frustration.
• Design with appropriate spacing between elements (fields in forms and buttons). Most Seniors will use tablets when using the internet and will rely on a touch pad.
• Interface elements to be clicked with a mouse (such as forms and buttons) should be at least 11 millimeters diagonally.
Avoid dropdown menus when possible. These are often hard to manage on tablets and more so if you have any vision impairments.
Include a Statement or Icon within the body of the page that reinforce to the target audiences that the site is secure. They may not understand that the “https” indicates a secure certificate or know what that is. They may be apprehensive to move forward with entering information if they question the site’s security.

As with most of us it is important to offer content in forms of videos and easy to follow call-to-actions. Videos are a great way to clearly get your message across without forcing your audience to read a lot of content. Furthermore, consider using a people or persons in the video that they can relate to. This helps create trust and increases engagement. Also, be sure that if you have forms for them to fill out; please keep them short and only request the minimal information needed. We want to avoid frustration on the User’s behalf. I always recommend that you include ADA testing as part of your ongoing maintenance and Quality Assurance testing to ensure that you are addressing any functionality or design elements that can be troublesome for your Users.

I hope you have found this hopeful. Remember to always define and consider your audience before you begin designing and once you have launched; remember to routinely assess your analytics and test the entire site for usability, accessibility and security.

Melissa Adame

Melissa Adame is the Web Applications/IT Program Manager for Webhead. If you have questions or comments for the author, please contact Inquiries@webheadtech.com

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