Can you imagine life without the current technological innovations? It is unthinkable. However, that is actually what the older generation has to endure—a life without computers and the internet.
Baby Boomers have been born before the age of digitization. They have gone to universities, worked in companies, and lived their lives with minimal influence from techy stuff.
They were long retired from their jobs before the internet was considered a staple commodity in the workforce.
As a result, seniors became uncomfortable in navigating tech-related things, as they have very limited experience with it. It is unknown territory for them, making them extra cautious when using it, and sometimes even avoiding it altogether.
Seniors and the Internet
Times have changed, and fortunately, that includes the way the older generation views computers and the internet. According to statistics, 32% of senior American citizens aged 65 and up have been accessing the web regularly.
After ten years (2018), this number grew, and roughly three-quarters of the 65+ population says they go online at least once a day. Of this number, 51% of seniors said they browse the internet several times a day, while 8% said they go online almost every hour.
Computer usage for senior citizens grew each year. Even without credible statistics, it is already a known fact since everyone’s grandmas are now on Facebook; and almost every Boomer parent now has smartphones, constantly pestering their kids about their forgotten passwords and emails.
However, despite this growing number, reports have shown that seniors still have a hard time accessing websites. According to a usability test run by the Nielsen Norman Group, 55.3% of seniors experience difficulties in using sites and completing specific tasks in it.
This difficulty was attributed to several factors, such as physical manifestations of aging, experience with technology, and the use of older equipment.
With more and more seniors turning to the internet, it is increasingly important to make websites more senior-friendly. Website management not only means optimizing it for Google but also includes creating a satisfactory user interface and experience.
This is especially true for enterprises in the business, finance, e-Commerce, and senior care industry. With senior accessibility, expect your site to receive 35% more traffic and business than your usual count.
So, here are smart tips to make websites easily accessible to the older generation.
1. Accommodate the Physical Changes of an Aging Audience
Most successful companies know that the key ingredient to increase sales is to know your target audience. Knowing this makes every step easy, crafting every decision towards the customer’s comfort and satisfactory experience.
So, if your target market is within the age group of 50 and above, expect them to have physical changes that might affect the way they browse your site. Address this issue and make appropriate changes such as the following.
- Increase font size. 60% of seniors have reduced field of vision, making it hard for them to navigate websites with teeny tiny paragraphs. If your target consumers are within this age group, it is best to have at least 12 to 14-point fonts.
- Break paragraphs into short sections. Long and run-on sentences make an article hard to read. Cut large bodies of texts into smaller parts and use headers and subheaders to make it scannable.
- Use short and direct instructions. Whether it is a fitness website or an e-Commerce shop, giving clear instructions is a must. Give them clear and numbered steps that they can easily remember and follow.
- Use common words. Avoid using technical terms, lingos, and jargon. Stick to everyday words and make it as though you are just having a friendly chat with them.
- Simplify navigation. Websites with complex navigation and formatting easily frustrate anyone, especially elderlies. Make website navigation accessible by minimizing scrolling, using vivid colors to differentiate background, texts, and hyperlinks, and using single mouse clicks.
- Provide a text-to-speech option. Special speech functions allow seniors to access your site despite reading difficulties. It also provides relief for their eyes to have some time away from the blue light of their phones/laptops.
2. Publish Appropriate Content
If you want to catch the attention of older adults, then make blogs and website content that will cater to their needs. Make informational articles that will answer their burning questions. Make it available and easily understandable.
Use familiar words and slangs that they will understand. Ensure that your content is helpful to their situation; they should leave your site satisfied, not confused, and full of questions before they read your articles.
If possible, use visual aids and illustrated guides to help them understand what you want to convey. Visual representation also helps them remember instructions with ease.
3. Layout and Style Design
Like Gen Z’s and Millennials, seniors have a limited attention span. They will likely leave your website if it fails to load within seconds or have so many GIFs that it hurts their eyes.
First, optimize your site and make sure it loads in any device within seconds. Pages should also have a consistent style across any devices so that users can remember how to navigate it. Websites should have large buttons that are easily seen, as well as easy-to-use menus.
Avoid featuring too much animation in your web pages. Flashing and blinking elements distract senior users, making it overwhelming for them to proceed to use the site. Also, avoid color combinations of red and green or blue and yellow. Refrain from using a dark background for light font colors.
4. Conduct Usability Testing
The only way to guarantee that your website is, indeed, senior-friendly is to test in on your target audience.
You can gather a pool of older adults and observe them use your site. Watch how they navigate it and take note of the specific problems they encounter. More importantly, you can get pieces of useful advice from them to know what their preferences are when it comes to websites.
Usability testing allows your company to see how the site works with seniors, while still in the process of developing it.