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The Changing Landscape of Web Users: How to Design for an Aging Population - Lea Cuniberti-Duran and Krys Blackwood


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Seniors are one of the fastest growing segments accessing the web, and yet, they are often ignored when websites are designed.
In our talk, we will explain why including seniors as part of use cases should be a priority. We will also explore who these older users are, what their behavior patterns are, how they access the web, what their physical limitations are, and how those should affect your design decisions. We will be presenting data gathered from published studies, quantitative and qualitative studies we conducted in-house, and sharing best practices. As part of the presentation we will also share a case study of how we built a world-class ecommerce tools aimed at Seniors: our epic fails and big wins and what we learned in the process.

Published in: Design
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The Changing Landscape of Web Users: How to Design for an Aging Population - Lea Cuniberti-Duran and Krys Blackwood

  1. 1. T H E C H A N G I N G L A N D S C A P E O F W E B U S E R S : H O W T O D E S I G N F O R A N A G I N G P O P U L AT I O N UXPA 2015 - SAN DIEGO L E A C U N I B E RT I - D U R A N A N D K RY S B L A C K W O O D
  2. 2. WHO ARE SENIORS/OLDER ADULTS? • 65+ years old • Live on a fixed income • Average income per person: $21,000 from Social Security and pensions
  4. 4. S E N I O R P O W E R ! • One of the fastest growing segments on the web • 39M according to 2010 U.S. Census • 10,000 Baby boomers retire everyday
  5. 5. O T H E R C O N S I D E R AT I O N S • Designing for seniors will make your site accessible to pretty much everybody else • Implementing good practices: Older Adults are particularly effected by poor usability standards • Other populations may benefit from a senior-friendly design approach • Low/impaired vision • Little technological experience • English learners
  7. 7. O L D E R A D U LT S O N L I N E • 59% who are 65 or older go online • 47% have broadband • Once online it becomes a regular part of their lives • 71% go online everyday • 82% go online at least weekly
  8. 8. TOP MOTIVATIONS TO GO ONLINE • 75% to stay in contact with family and friends • 58% to shop online • 53% to research about health care or medical issues • 46% to look for bargains on products • 40% to keep up with the community • 17% to watch TV, shows, videos, etc.
  9. 9. I N T E R N E T U S A G E VA R I E S B Y A G E • Seniors who use the internet and adopt technology tend to be younger, more educated and affluent. • Baby boomers • Have at least some college • Income above average ($30,000+) • Live in an urban or suburban area
  10. 10. T E C H N O L O G Y 0 25 50 75 100 Cell Phone Desktop/laptop Smartphone Tablet = Seniors over 65 yo = All adults
  11. 11. T E C H N O L O G Y A D O P T I O N • A substantial majority of seniors express trepidation about using new digital tools or devices without assistance • Physical challenges play a role in technology adoption • Less likely to go online • Less likely to have broadband • Less likely to own a smartphone
  12. 12. AT T I T U D E • Attitudes toward technology differ based on age • 60yo+ (Baby boomers) • More apt at exploring • 70yo+ (Greater Generation) • Risk adverse
  14. 14. E F F E C T S O F A G I N G O N T H E E Y E • Presbyopia (not being able to focus at close distance) • Cataracts (yellowing of the lenses) • Reduced pupil size (heightened sensitivity to glare, contrast, low lighting ). • Decreased color vision • Loss of peripheral vision. (Glaucoma) Most common conditions experienced by older adults
  15. 15. NORMAL VIEW
  20. 20. D E S I G N T I P : U S E A N I M AT I O N T O G U I D E U S E R AT T E N T I O N
  21. 21. C ATA R A C T S ( Y E L L O W I N G O F T H E L E N S E S ) Y E L L O W I S H A R D T O D E T E C T
  22. 22. O T H E R C O M M O N V I S U A L P E R C E P T I O N D E F I C I T S • Decreased ability to visually compare elements (what is the same and what is different) • Trouble decoding and recognizing icons
  23. 23. T I P : A D D E X P L I C I T L A B E L S
  24. 24. “Visual search is the common task of looking for something in a cluttered visual environment. The item that the observer is searching for is termed the target, while non-target items are termed distractors. ” V I S U A L S E A R C H
  25. 25. V I S U A L S E A R C H I N O L D E R A D U LT S • Significant changes in eye tracking speed and accuracy • Reduced ability to detect changes in the visual stimuli • Decline in peripheral vision
  26. 26. S E N I O R S C O N D U C T V I S U A L S E A R C H E S B Y S C A N N I N G L E F T T O R I G H T T O P T O B O T T O M
  27. 27. T Y P O G R A P H Y B E S T P R A C T I C E S F O R O L D E R A D U LT S • Font size: 16 px or greater • Font weight should be at least regular 
 (avoid thin, light, etc) • Contrasting font color • Left align
  28. 28. T Y P O G R A P H Y B E S T P R A C T I C E S F O R O L D E R A D U LT S Typographical golden ratio: Line Width = Font Size x Font Height
  29. 29. E F F E C T S O F A G I N G O N H E A R I N G • Seniors have difficulties with: • Filtering background sounds • Loss of high pitch sounds • Understanding fast speech • Think about this! how many instructional videos currently on the web have one or more of the characteristics listed here?
  30. 30. E F F E C T S O F A G I N G O N M O T O R S K I L L S • Lower dexterity • Seniors look at keyboard while typing 
 TIP: avoid auto-populate • Fitt’s Law is amplified: mice are hard to use
  31. 31. EFFECTS OF AGING ON COGNITION • Reduced processing speed • Greater tendency to be distracted • Reduced capacity of their working memory • Reduced confidence as they question their own abilities and memory
  33. 33. T I R E D O F “ S C A R E TA C T I C S ” • They express a lot of fatigue around negative messaging • “Don’t tell me what to do, let me decide and help me do it” • Hungry for neutral and unbiased advice • Encouragement, positive spin, inviting, empowerment all good themes
  34. 34. T R U S T I S S U E S • Lots of stories of people being taken advantage of • Wary of the hard sell • Suspicious of advertising: they know the cost gets passed on to them. • Read the fine print • Often they have at least one story of having been duped or bullied
  35. 35. T H E Y D O I T T H E I R WAY • Frequently print pages and emails so they can review them later
 Tip: think about your print stylesheet and optimize for readability • Will read every word on a page
 Tip: links in content/body • Use their own terminology
 Tip: make sure you aren’t using lingo
  36. 36. T R U S T B U T V E R I F Y • 50% want to pick up the phone and talk to a human being.
 50% want to get information emailed to them or online.
 TIP: Have a prominent phone number in addition to online exploration • Very thorough about doing their homework
 TIP: Provide meaningful content that brings value to the user • Whether online or on phone, they want a human connection 
 TIP: Use imagery with people
  37. 37. “The computer has a language all its own and sometimes I’m intimidated by it and I am right now.”
  38. 38. C A S E S T U D Y: B E S T P R A C T I C E S I N A C T I O N
  39. 39. Q U E S T I O N S ?
  40. 40. T H A N K Y O U ! @lea_designer @shodoshan