Tag Archives: web design tips

Web Design Guidelines for Elderly Users

senior citizen using computerNowadays, there are many people aged sixty years and above using the internet. This older generation uses the internet to find information on different topics ranging from real estate, travel and shopping, to health-related content. However, many individuals in this age group face challenges related to poor eyesight. As a result, they might find it difficult to read text on a web page or navigate accurately. Here are some guidelines for building a site for elderly users.

1. Use legible words

To make your site suitable for an older audience, make sure your font size is at least 12 points. If possible, give users the option of resizing the font if they cannot read it properly. Avoid the temptation of using script fonts which look stylish but are difficult to read. It would be advisable to stick to simple san serif fonts in upper and lower case. Finally, remember to make your text scannable by breaking it down using short paragraphs and headings.

2. Have a clean layout

Your website needs to have a clean, uncluttered design which helps visitors focus on the most important information. Divide your content into distinct sections which are labeled clearly. Highlight your links and call to action buttons to ensure that they stand out from the rest of the content. Make sure there is sufficient contrast between your background and text. Preferably, use dark text against a light background. To avoid too much scrolling, you need to keep your pages as short as possible. Long content should be divided into several brief pages for easier reading.

3. Have extra features

It would be advisable to add audio files for the older users who have problems with their eyesight. This will give them the option of listening to what has been written. Make the sure the audio button is large enough and that it appears right next to the text. In addition, you could add a video which visitors can watch. In case you choose to add video and audio files, it would be advisable to have a downloadable transcription for the people who have hearing problems.

4. Simple navigation

Make sure your navigation is consistent as well as simple. You can simplify your navigation by having ‘next page’ or ‘previous page’ buttons on your pages. However, avoid having too many pages on your site. Visitors should be able to find what they are looking for with just a few clicks. In addition, it would be advisable to stay away from scroll down menus which could complicate navigation. Make sure all your links are properly labeled so that visitors will know where they will land when they click on them.

5. Test, test, test

Before launching your website, it would be advisable to get feedback from a sample of elderly users. Allow them to try out the site and ask the following questions:

  • Can they read the text on your page easily?
  • Does the information on your pages make sense?
  • Is the navigation easy to understand?
  • Are there any distractions on the pages?
  • What can be improved to make the site more user-friendly?

This feedback from your target audience will give you great ideas of how you can enhance the design of your site.

Web Design – Costly Mistakes to Avoid

Web Design MistakesWhen designing your website, your main aim should be to improve the user experience of your visitors. When people have an easy time on your site, they are likely to come back for more and even refer others. However, many designers make mistakes which not only drive visitors away, but also destroy their credibility.

Here are some of the most common web design mistakes that should be avoided.

1. Slow loading pages

Web users would enjoy browsing a site which has fast loading pages. Most people don’t have the patience to wait around until a web page finishes loading. If it takes too long, they are likely to leave and go elsewhere. Therefore, don’t make the mistake of having slow loading pages which only contribute to a poor user experience. Generally, pages load slowly due to large or excess graphics or animations. Therefore, it would be advisable to keep the number and size of graphics on your site at a minimum.

2. Large or small text

Having text which is too tiny on web pages is another common mistake which designers make. Such text is usually very difficult to read. On the other hand, some designers have very large text on their pages which looks unprofessional and unattractive. To avoid making similar mistakes, take time to check the size of text used on popular sites out there. In addition, you could ask different people to read the text on your site. This will enable you to choose a size which would be comfortable for readers of all ages.

3. Poor color combinations

An attractive and harmonious color scheme plays a key role in creating a pleasant user experience. Therefore, when it comes to web design, having poor color combinations is unforgivable. Generally, it would be advisable to keep your color scheme as basic as possible. For instance, simply having a white background with back text can look very professional and attractive to visitors. Such a color scheme also makes your standard link colors very visible. To enhance the appearance of your web pages, you could add one or two colorful graphics.

4. Pop-up windows

Pop-up windows that appear immediately you land on a web page can be very annoying. In addition, they are an unnecessary distraction for visitors who have to close them first before accessing the web page. As a web designer, your main purpose should be to allow visitors to enjoy the content on your site. Pop-up windows draw the attention of visitors away from your site’s content and might cause them to leave permanently. In addition, such windows make your site look unprofessional and might be associated with spamming.

5. Links opening in the same browser window or tab

Some sites have links that open in the same browser window or tab, while others have links that open in a new window or tab. Most web users would prefer the latter option which offers a more pleasant user experience. This option allows them to access information in the new window or tab, and still be able to refer to the earlier web page. This ensures a more organized browsing experience for your visitors.

How to Design Sites for Target Audiences

web designWhen designing a site, you need to consider who your target audience is. This will enable you to come up with a design which is best suited to their needs, and thus enhance your chances of success. The following are some of the major areas you need to consider when designing a website for a targeted audience.

1. Layout

You need to ensure that the layout of different elements in your site is appropriate for the kind of audience you want to reach. For instance, a basic layout which has very few links would suit an older audience which has little technical knowledge, while a more youthful audience would prefer a dynamic site with more features. In addition, you need to ensure that the fonts used suit your target audience as well as your brand. For example, if your brand targets senior adults, a basic font in a large point size would be ideal. However, if your target is teens, you could go for a more artsy and fun font.

2. Navigation

Your site’s layout and navigation are closely related. An older audience which has limited technical knowledge would be comfortable with a basic top navigation bar. However, a youthful audience would not mind having several navigation menus, footers and sidebars which give them a chance to find more specific information from the site.

3. Color

When designing your site, use colors which are suitable for your target audience. For instance, while an older audience is likely to have problems reading white text on a black background, young people might find it stylish. Though a site which is targeting artists could use a vibrant color scheme, this might not be appropriate for a site targeting lawyers.

4. Features

Your target audience will also influence the kind of features you can have on your site. Research has proved that younger people prefer video or audio content over written text. In addition, they would like to find links to social media profiles such as Facebook or Twitter which will enable them to share interesting content with their friends.

However, you need to ensure that the additional features on your site don’t interfere with your user experience. Though features like fly-over ads or pop-up windows might not be a problem for web-savvy users, people who have little technical knowledge might get offended by these features. Finally, you need to use feature which allow your audience to access the site from their computers, as well as their mobile devices.

5. Content

Your site’s level of success will be determined by the extent to which your content resonates with your target audience. When people visit your site, they need to find solutions to their problems in the content published, as well as your marketing message. If your content does not match your target audience, they will end up leaving your site and finding others that are more relevant to their needs.