If you speak to anyone under 30, they cannot imagine a time without the internet and digital communication tools. They are native to this digital world and so find it intuitive, like walking around the room. However, for those more elderly consumers, the internet is a web of confusion; there are tools and language outside the realm of their experience.
Currently, we all rely more heavily on digital tools for shopping, socialising, and attending to our most basic needs. Consequently, there is an opportunity for website developers to welcome this older generation into the fold. However, designing for this age group is not straightforward, and none of the typical assumptions can be made. Both accessibility and ease of navigation must be at the forefront of any user experience decision.
Here we take you through five crucial decisions to make when appealing to the older generation.
Problems with vision and hearing
From the age of 40 onwards, the lens in our eye starts to harden. It causes a condition called presbyopia and makes it difficult to read the small and close text. Our ability to discern colour also diminishes with age, with shades of blue significantly affected.
Hearing of older users may also become unpredictable. Most people over 65 will experience some form of hearing loss. Also, for most in the older generation, the sound is less fundamental to the product’s success. In essence, the user will be much more confident with a single sense approach.
Consequently, designers need to avoid font sizes smaller than 16 and give accessibility options – or the ability to increase the text’s size. The designer also needs to avoid the colour blue in interface design and pay special attention to the contrast ratios. Finally, using screen readers for those with excessive sight loss and provide subtitles on video and audio for those who are struggling to hear.