Building Websites with Seniors in Mind

As the baby boomer generation ages, the proportion of seniors in the population is rapidly growing but many older adults are still keenly interested in using technology and participating in online commerce, social engagement, and learning.  Older adults often find navigating websites frustrating when deteriorating eyesight or manual dexterity creates obstacles.  But, according to a recent British Wall Street Journal report, more companies are designing their websites with the older user in mind. 

Improvements that make websites easier to navigate and to read are being implemented by firms that not only provide goods and services aimed at older adults but also those who aware of the growing purchasing power of an expanding senior population.  Over the past 7 months, older adults who are more vulnerable to becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 have increased their use of technology in order to stay safe at home.   Seniors have learned to bank, shop, read, and use social media to stay connected with friends and family.  But the learning curve is not always smooth and a U.K. survey found that only 42 percent of older adults find technology easy to navigate; 13 percent find it frustrating trying to carry out tasks online. 

In response to the frustration that often causes older adults to abandon a website that is not elder-friendly, many firms are starting to design their site to be simpler to use with larger text and strong color contrast.   Instead of hiding content behind drop-down menus, more companies are using sidebars, a clean font, and eliminating endless scrolling for information.  Creating websites that are clear, concise, and easy to navigate helps not only older adults but also children and people with disabilities.  

With greater accessibility online, everyone can continue to be part of the conversation and participate in an increasingly digital world. But don’t forget to take a break from the screen occasionally and go outside for some fresh air and exercise!