4 Things To Do When Designing For Seniors

I’ve witnessed lots of seniors who are as comfortable and savvy with the web as any millennial. Still, we can’t deny that our human body deteriorates as we age. And when it does, these areas affect web usage most: our eyesight weakens, our memories fade, and our fingers and hands lose dexterity. There is a LOT we can do to make the web easier for everyone, but there are four things in particular that all web pages must have to improve the experience for seniors.

1_ Create High Contrast Between The Text And its Background.

Text size and typeface also affect legibility greatly. But low contrast between text and its background makes it very difficult for seniors to read.

2_ Give Cues In The Interface About The Action The User Recently Took.

For example, repeat the search query on a search engine results page. Change the visual treatment (like the color) of visited links on pages. Match the page title with words in the link the user clicked to reach that page. Some of these suggestions may seem dated, but they abide the proven design recommendation to help people recognize where they are rather than forcing them to recall what they have done.

3_ Make link and button targets large enough.

Make link and button targets large enough to click or tap and leave plenty of space between them. Acquiring a very tiny link can be problematic. Likewise, accidentally hitting the wrong link can be difficult to recover from. 

4_ Don’t Change Your Global Navigation On a Whim. 

Seniors often write down the steps they take to achieve their common tasks on a website. Changing the UI means they need to re-learn and re-write their notes. 

Do these four things for seniors knowing that like all accessibility-related changes, making these changes will help not only the aging, but will help everyone.

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