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Website Design for Senior Citizens


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Website Design for Senior Citizens is a presentation given to a graduate class at University of Baltimore which looks at design heuristics web developers and designers should consider when developing a website for seniors and the general population.

Published in: Technology, Design

Website Design for Senior Citizens

  1. 1. Designing Websites for Seniors Nikki Kerber and Allison Francis IDIA 612 Feb. 14, 2012
  2. 2. Introduction ● Older adults, or seniors have a harder time using the Internet and browsing websites compared to younger adults and teenagers. ● Designing for seniors is relativity easy - it only takes a few modifications. In fact, it has been noted that designing for seniors makes the design better for all other user groups as well.
  3. 3. Introduction ● Seniors use the web to find health information, bank online, research travel options, shop, and e-mail. ● A Seniornet study [1998] discovered that a major incentive for older adults to own a computer is to obtain information about health care and medical conditions. ● A 2003 study showed that searching for health information was one of the most popular activities on the internet for older adults.
  4. 4. Who Are Senior Citizens? ● AARP classifies "older adults" to be those over 50 years old. ● Many studies account for a wide variety of definitions, involving participants between 55 - 75 years of age. ● (Bailey 2004) proposes the following classification system to help clarify age definitions: ○ Young: 18-39 years ○ Middle-ages: 40-59 years ○ Older: 60-74 ○ Old-old: 75+ years
  5. 5. Statistics ● The United Nations (UN) estimates that by 2050 one in five individuals will be over 60 years old. ● As of 2003 in Canada, about 25% of households with people 65 and older and 59% of households with people 55–64 were online. The percentage of Canadians age 65 and older who are online has more than doubled in the past four years (Statistics Canada 2004) ● In a February 2004 survey, 22% of Americans age 65 or older reported having access to the Internet. This represents a 47% increase between 2000 and 2004. Eight million seniors now go online.
  6. 6. StatisticsDemographic forecast for the EU
  7. 7. Aging Issues That Affect Seniors ● Vision decline ○ 16% of people 65 - 74 years ○ 19% of people 75 – 84 years ○ 46% of people 85+ years ● Cognitive decline ● Motor skill decline ○ Arthritis, Parkinsons,Tremors ● Hearing loss ○ 47% of people 61 to 80 years ○ 93% of people 81+ years
  8. 8. Barriers to Web UseOlder people are experiencing web accessibility barriers due to: ● Poor design and poor coding of websites ● Complex software and assistive technologies ● Little or no prior experience with computers
  9. 9. Web Accessibility Initiative: Aging Educationand Harmonization (WAI-AGE) ProjectThe WAI-AGE project ended in2010 but included activities to: ● better understand web accessibility needs of the aging ● community work with the aging community to obtain more direct input and contribution for Web accessibility solutions. ● revise existing and develop new educational materials ● promote the adoption and implementation of a common set of Web accessibility guidelines for older adults and those with disabilities.
  10. 10. Making Your Website Senior Friendly ● Organizing Web Information for Older Adults ● Writing Online Text for Older Adults ● Designing Readable Online Text for Older Adults ● Making Web Information Easy for Older Adults to Find ○ Including Other Media ● Making Sure That Older Adults Can Use Your Website
  11. 11. Making Your Website Senior Friendly ● Break information into short sections. ● Give instructions clearly and number each step. ● Minimize the use of jargon and technical terms. ● Use single mouse clicks. ● Allow additional space around clickable targets. ● Use 12- or 14-point type size, and make it easy for users to enlarge text. ● Use high-contrast color combinations, such as black type against a white background. ● Provide a speech function to hear text read aloud. ● Provide text-only versions of multimedia content. ● Minimize scrolling. ● Choose a search engine that uses keywords and doesn’t require special characters or knowledge of Boolean terms.
  12. 12. Resourceshttp://www.nia.nih. gov/pubs/staffpubs/od/ocpl/agin/making-your-website-senior-friendly gchecklist.html
  13. 13. Design Principles for Seniors ● Interaction design: designing the way users work with the site ● Information architecture: organizing the content ● Visual design: designing the pages ● Information design: writing and formatting the content
  14. 14. Design Principles for SeniorsInteraction design ● Use conventional interaction elements. ● Make it obvious what is clickable and what is not. ● Make clickable items easy to target and hit. ● Minimize vertical scrolling; eliminate horizontal scrolling. ● Ensure that the Back button behaves predictably. ● Let the user stay in control. ● Provide clear feedback on actions ● Provide feedback in other modes in addition to visual.
  15. 15. Design Principles for SeniorsInformation architecture ● Make the structure of the web site as visible as possible. ● Clearly label content categories; assist recognition and retrieval rather than recall. ● Implement the shallowest possible information hierarchy. ● Include a site map and a link to it from every page.
  16. 16. Design Principles for SeniorsVisual Design ● Make pages easy to skim or scan. ● Make elements on the page easy to read. ● Visually group related topics. ● Make sure text and background colors contrast. ● Use adequate white space.
  17. 17. Design Principles for SeniorsInformation design ● Make it easy to find things on the page quickly. ● Focus the writing on audience and purpose. ● Use the users’ language; minimize jargon and technical terms
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  24. 24. References ● Arch, Andrew. “Web Accessibility for Older Users.” W3C, May 14, 2008. Retrieved February 2012. ● Arch, A., & Abou-Zahra, S. (2010, September 30). Wai-age project (ist 035015). Retrieved from ● Bailey, B. (2004). Segmenting Adult Web Users into Meaningful Age Categories. July 2004. Powerpoint presentation available at org_/articles/research/oww/university/Bailey_AgeCategories4.ppt ● Becker, S. (2004). A study of web usability for older adults seeking online health resources. ACM Transactions on Human Computer Interaction, 387- 406. ● Chisnell, Dana, and Ginny Redish. “AARP Audience-Centered Heuristics: Older Adults.” AARP, 2004. Retrieved February 2012. ● Chisnell, Dana, Ginny Redish, and Amy Lee. “Designing Web Sites for Older Adults: Expert Review of Usability for Older Adults at 50 Web Sites.” AARP, February 1, 2005. Retrieved February 2012. ● “New Heuristics for Understanding Older Adults as Web Users.” COMMUNICATION, February 2006. Retrieved February 2012. ● National Institute on Aging. “Making Your Website Senior Friendly.” National Institute on Aging, February 2001; revised March 2009. Retrieved February 2012. ● Nielsen, J. (2002, April 28). Usability for senior citizens. Retrieved from