A Usability Study of
Websites for Older Travelers
Kate Finn and Jeff Johnson,
Wiser Usability, Inc.
{kfinn, jjohnson}@wise...
Why? Given:
WCAG, ADA, 508, Age-friendly guidelines
Older Adults (50+):
 Increasing #s, % of population
 Increasing #s...
Why? Given:
Older Adults (50+):
 Increasing #s, % of population
 Increasing #s, % are online
 Reduced vision, hearing,...
What? Online Leisure Tour and
Travel Websites for Older Adults
HCII 2013Finn & Johnson 4
Leisure travel very popular for ...
What? Typical Websites for Older
Travelers
HCII 2013Finn & Johnson 5
How: Exploratory Study
3 well-known, reputable travel sites,
specializing in tours for older adults
9 participants: all ...
Results: Sites following common
age-friendly usability guidelines
Guideline GCT GET RS
Avoid small font size; provide an o...
Results: Further Observations
Other Usability Issues
 Confusing terminology
 Changes not obvious
 Too much information...
Results: Further Observations
Other Usability Issues
 Confusing terminology
 Changes not obvious
 Too much information...
Results: Further Observations
Other Usability Issues
 Confusing terminology
 Inadequate indication of links
 Too much ...
Results: Further Observations
Other Usability Issues
 Confusing terminology
 Changes not obvious
 Too much information...
Implications
Older adults are not included in the
design process, and experience great
frustration
Senior-focused busine...
Implications
Older adults are not included in the
design process, and experience great
frustration
Senior-focused busine...
Implications
Older adults are not included in the
design process, and experience great
frustration
Senior-focused busine...
Results: Further Observations
Other Usability Issues
 Confusing terminology
 Inadequate indication of links
 Too much ...
Thank you!
Kate Finn and Jeff Johnson,
Wiser Usability, Inc.
{kfinn, jjohnson}@wiserusability.com
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A Usability Study of Websites for Older Travelers, HCII 2013, Las Vegas NV

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Presentation of paper for the Human Computer Interface International 2013 Conference, Las Vegas, NV. Describes an exploratory usability study of 3 websites designed for older travelers, and outlines the difficulties 9 study participants had trying to complete tasks on the websites.

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  • Familiar with global populationUS: 83% of 50-64; 56% of 65+Since higher rate of sensory/cognitive issues, disproportionately affected poor designControl large proportion of discretionary income, presumably companies want their businessGiven all this and…Age-friendly design guidelines – 10 years…
  • We wanted to see if even senior-focusedcommercial websites are age-friendly.
  • focus on travel websitesbecause - leisure travel is very popular with those 45+, - 50% of all foreign trips, -  more than 50% of all leisure travel spending- Many plan entire trips online
  • As an Exploratory Study: Usability test on those 3 companies: reputable, focus on older travelers, pro’ly-designed websitesOnly W willing and available, so notgender-balanced75% W do all their own travel research, only 10% M, M think W would rather do itVoila to recordEach site: 3 Ps, Search for trips to specific destinations, get trip details, try to book
  • Analyzed data. Compiled list of usability issues. A few A-F guidelines.Basic usability for any age user, not just OAs;But OAs: more frequent and severe problems usability issuesonly 1 P knew how to re-size text; only 1 P knew to click on banner to go home; Explicit Home Buttons: GET and RS, but GET  Booking WizardScrolling: GET good, but RS: 200 countries listed 4 at a time!
  • Many, many other problemsDid anyone ever conduct usability tests?Talk to travel agents to see if the sites meant to be that bad, if it was part of the marketing plan (if people could not complete tasks online, they would call to talk to an operator, who would pressure them into adding on excursions, upgrading accommodations, etc.)No clear answer
  • Terminology – specialized,non-standard, undefined (hosted, guided, escorted tours)Changes: When people changed something like the date, they often didn’t notice that price or availability changedMany cases of: Overwhelming amount of info, cluttered, not much white spaceMenus, small space around, small font, tremors; egpull-right, nested, or accordion proved to be a problem
  • Youngest P, computer skills teacher, really struggling with menus on RS
  • - Scoping errors: relation of page parts or pages to each other; hierarchy, memory”Eg: walking tours menu, France search (really due to unclear navigation, too many options)No concept of location, didn’t use cues (breadcrumbs, hilited menus, page titles); couldn’t tell when revisitingAttitudes: Literature: Blaming self, temerity, giving up vs: anger at site, and tenacity (even trying same wrong thing over and over)
  • Striking frustrationSeveral Ps:sites too difficult, wd call 1-800 number, or refuse to travel with this company. 1 P: no way!Wonder: Any users shown these sites before releaseInclusion of O-A in design and testing could greatly improve their UE
  • Other questions raised:Do companies/designers even know about A-F guidelines or User-Centered design?Somehow think none of this applies to them?
  • Market research indicating lost business due to user frustration?Not sufficiently motivated to adopt A-F practices?
  • Clip of SR, sums up UE of most participants
  • A Usability Study of Websites for Older Travelers, HCII 2013, Las Vegas NV

    1. 1. A Usability Study of Websites for Older Travelers Kate Finn and Jeff Johnson, Wiser Usability, Inc. {kfinn, jjohnson}@wiserusability.com
    2. 2. Why? Given: WCAG, ADA, 508, Age-friendly guidelines Older Adults (50+):  Increasing #s, % of population  Increasing #s, % are online  Reduced vision, hearing, cognition, motor skills  Disproportionately affected by poor design  Control a very large % of discretionary income HCII 2013Finn & Johnson 2 We wanted to see if even senior- focused websites are age-friendly.
    3. 3. Why? Given: Older Adults (50+):  Increasing #s, % of population  Increasing #s, % are online  Reduced vision, hearing, cognition, motor skills  Disproportionately affected by poor design  Control a very large % of discretionary income WCAG, ADA, 508, Age-friendly guidelines HCII 2013Finn & Johnson 3 We wanted to see if even senior- focused websites are age-friendly.
    4. 4. What? Online Leisure Tour and Travel Websites for Older Adults HCII 2013Finn & Johnson 4 Leisure travel very popular for 45+ Account for 50% of foreign leisure travel Account for over 50% leisure travel spending Many plan entire trips online
    5. 5. What? Typical Websites for Older Travelers HCII 2013Finn & Johnson 5
    6. 6. How: Exploratory Study 3 well-known, reputable travel sites, specializing in tours for older adults 9 participants: all F, ages 55-80, wide range of web competence and travel experience Captured video of screen, cursor, voice (think out loud) 3 Ps per site: find destination info, search for trip details, and book trip HCII 2013Finn & Johnson 6
    7. 7. Results: Sites following common age-friendly usability guidelines Guideline GCT GET RS Avoid small font size; provide an obvious way to re-size text -- -- -- Make the difference between links and non-links obvious; indicate link state -- -- -- Indicate the user’s navigation path (e.g., with “breadcrumbs”) -- -- -- Make it easy to return to the Home page -- ? ✔ Minimize the need for scrolling, especially horizontally -- ✔ -- Minimize page clutter; use sufficient white space -- -- -- Finn & Johnson 7HCII 2013
    8. 8. Results: Further Observations Other Usability Issues  Confusing terminology  Changes not obvious  Too much information  Menus difficult to operate Interesting Behaviors  Scoping errors  Getting lost in web site  Tenacity vs. giving up HCII 2013Finn & Johnson 8
    9. 9. Results: Further Observations Other Usability Issues  Confusing terminology  Changes not obvious  Too much information  Menus difficult to operate Interesting Behaviors  Scoping errors  Getting lost in web site  Tenacity vs. giving up HCII 2013Finn & Johnson 9
    10. 10. Results: Further Observations Other Usability Issues  Confusing terminology  Inadequate indication of links  Too much information  Menus difficult to operate Interesting Behaviors  Scoping errors  Getting lost in web site  Tenacity vs. giving up HCII 2013Finn & Johnson 10
    11. 11. Results: Further Observations Other Usability Issues  Confusing terminology  Changes not obvious  Too much information  Menus difficult to operate Interesting Behaviors  Scoping errors  Getting lost in web site  Attitudes HCII 2013Finn & Johnson 11
    12. 12. Implications Older adults are not included in the design process, and experience great frustration Senior-focused businesses and website designers don’t observe user-centered or age-friendly design Senior-focused businesses and website designers are not sufficiently motivated to include age-friendly considerations HCII 2013Finn & Johnson 12
    13. 13. Implications Older adults are not included in the design process, and experience great frustration Senior-focused businesses and website designers don’t observe user-centered or age-friendly design Senior-focused businesses and website designers are not sufficiently motivated to include age-friendly considerations HCII 2013Finn & Johnson 13
    14. 14. Implications Older adults are not included in the design process, and experience great frustration Senior-focused businesses and website designers don’t observe user-centered or age-friendly design Perhaps they are just not sufficiently motivated to include age-friendly considerations HCII 2013Finn & Johnson 14
    15. 15. Results: Further Observations Other Usability Issues  Confusing terminology  Inadequate indication of links  Too much information  Menus difficult to operate Interesting Behaviors  Scoping errors  Getting lost in web site  Tenacity vs. giving up HCII 2013Finn & Johnson 15
    16. 16. Thank you! Kate Finn and Jeff Johnson, Wiser Usability, Inc. {kfinn, jjohnson}@wiserusability.com

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