Nowadays, 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.