Fashion, Lifestyle & Parenting Blog

How accessible is your website to older users?

There is a generational gap between the average age of website developers and the global average age. Developers are still languishing in their 20’s while the world is averaging 37. What does this mean for you and your website? Well, it could mean there is a gulf in the understanding of what it takes for the older demographic to navigate a website. You might believe that the site created is accessible and intuitive, but it is far from so for people over 50, considered a digital non-native. 

It is worth investing in your website and considering issues of accessibility for those from an older generation. The over 50s now spend nearly £15 billion online annually, and whether you are fashion or insurance, you want to take your share of this commercial value. 

It is worth considering what happens as we age and how your website might need to adapt. Here are some tips.

Seeing offers clearly

The quality of our eyesight is strongest when we are 30. From the age of 40 onwards, the mechanisms in the eye become more rigid, and people begin to see a decline in their vision. We have all seen older people extend their arms to focus, but what we might not realise is that they are also experiencing a reduction in colour perception.

What does this mean for your website?

It would help if you were looking to have a font larger than size 12 on your site. You should also use contrasting colours between background and font, and black text on a white or light cream background is still best here. This need for contrast often means that any text over images will be difficult to see, no matter how cool it makes your brand look.

It would be best to consider designing with screen readers in mind, which means using text and not images with text in. The screen reader will not pick up any text in images unless you make it part of the alt text that describes the image.

Adding audio

By the time your ageing market hits 60, more than half of them will experience a hearing decline. Most websites now have an element of video content to support the sale. With video on your site, you might want to invest in automated close caption software. 

Equally, if your value proposition is directly related to the content of the video, you may wish to offer a link to a transcript. While this might seem like a lot of effort, if the details of your business are within the video, then a transcript gives the consumer time to view the details.

Making links accessible

Smart devices, especially phones, require excellent fine motor control. Your consumer needs to match what they are seeing to where they are touching with their finger. Our hand-eye coordination declines as we age. People with age-related conditions, such as arthritis, are excluded from some pages because the hotspot for links is small or too closely placed together.

White space is an important tool of any web designer anyway. It is a technique used to help a design ping. However, for those who struggle to follow the navigation on a smart device, it is essential. You need to make the space between links and icons big enough and make the hotspot for where the user touches larger. 

There are also some less obvious design considerations to make for PC users. While the hover function is a useful tool for offering help, it can cause problems for people who are a little unsteady on the mouse. Therefore, choosing a different way to walk the user through the functions of the page is advisable. 

Understand that intuitive means something different

The final point worth considering is probably the most important. Your ageing user has lots of disposable income and a lot of time to experience new products and services. Still, they were not born into a digital world—the mindset about what works and what doesn’t may be more conservative than younger generations. While you might be tempted to do something funky with design, you might be excluding the baby boomer generation. Keeping the page simple and logical is key.

Infographic Created by Dogtown Media, mHealth App Developer Team Dedicated to Quality