Don’t Let Your Website Ignore Senior Citizens
The current generation may have different tastes and likings – and appear to be a driving force behind the way online marketing is targeted. Hopefully such strategies does not mean leaving senior citizens out of the picture as this bracket of users comprises a good majority of web surfers and more importantly, web purchasers. The United States alone has an estimated nine million adults age 65 and older, many of whom are typically retired, have substantial assets, are certainly active and have an increasing interest in modern technologies. Here are some tips on how to not let your Austin website design ignore senior citizens.
Usability problems affect more seniors than younger users. It is important for young Austin website design professionals to consider the physical attributes of human aging such as general internet knowledge,decreased motor skills, problems with eyesight, and memory challenges. Many of these individuals may have had limited exposure to computers and the internet when working and may not totally grasp the conceptual model of how such technology works. Website usability for younger users can be advanced; however, in order to accommodate usage by older users, certain features should be reviewed to promote being better handled by the older generation:
- Layout – Make the layout friendly for older adults by providing consistent and obvious buttons and icons to make it easier to get oriented on a website. Templates or page designs need to be standard and use the same symbols and icons on each page; navigational buttons should be int the same place on each page. Especially avoid features that are a distraction such as pop-ups or unnecessary animation.
- Navigation – Make website navigation easy and consistent throughout; structure the whole navigational architecture to have the fewest clicks as possible to reach a destination. Give call-to-action buttons simple and obvious names such as: Find Products Here, Click to Shopping Cart, or Sign Up Here. Next Page and Previous Page should be used to move between related pages and can be very helpful. Buttons and icons should be in bright colors and a good color contrast to the background.
- Links – Links need to be simply written so it is clear where it will lead. Avoid using phrases that leave any doubt as to where the user will be directed. As an example, avoid using My Account and use Go To My Account for better understanding. Links should also stand out and be obviously clickable.
One of the biggest changes faced by older adults is with vision. With eyes less capable of detecting color, light, and fine details, monitor screens can be harder to read. Consider some of these features of website design:
- Adequate Space – Sufficient white space gives a more organized look to each page. Allow adequate spacing between paragraphs and around clickable targets such as buttons and links.
- Common Typeface – Sans Serif typeface is recommended as it is less condensed. Other widely available and developed fonts would include Arial, Tahoma and Verdana.
- Type Size – For body text, be sure to use 12 or 14-point as well as make it easier for text size to be changed directly from the page. As an example, put a clickable button with “+” and “–“ on one corner.
- Format – Never use all capitals or italics especially for content as it makes it harder to distinguish different letters. Use left justification for easier reading, which makes the left margin even and right margin uneven.
Following the tips outlined above can allow website design firms to accommodate older viewers by being informative, easily accessible, friendly, and accommodating with the needs of mature adults. Besides, most of the tips mentioned here are good for all potential viewers and purchasers!
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