User Interface Design for Seniors

When most people design websites and apps, the target audience they have in mind is tech-savvy young or middle-aged people; many fail to consider interface design for seniors. This oversight costs customers. If we are lucky, we will all eventually suffer the side effects of age. The fact is that many older adults use the internet to find products and services. For many businesses, such as legal or attorney firms or certain retail operations, your online browsers are much more likely to be senior citizens than they are to be college students. Additionally, we live in an aging world. By 2035, nearly 45% of the population in developed regions will be over 50. By not maximizing their ability to use your website, you are doing your business a disservice. Below, read our tips about successful user interface design for seniors.

Visual Elements

Since many older adults face a decline in eyesight, it’s important to make visual elements sufficiently large and easily recognizable. Most experts suggest that fonts should be at least 16 pixels as a default. Furthermore, giving customers the ability to customize font sizes and colors can be of great benefit. 

Beyond text, you can help older adults see your website properly by increasing color contrast. Even for people without eyesight challenges, greater contrast between colors makes your website more visually appealing. Some accessibility software can give your clients the ability to adjust contrast on their own and customize it to their needs.

Interaction

People viewing your website is great. However, if you’re like most business owners, that’s not enough. You want them to navigate between pages, fill out forms, and click on buttons. Designing a user interface and experience is all about making sure everyone is able to do those things with ease. Older adults, for the most part, have the same website behavior as anyone else. They may simply need a clearer, simpler user interface. 

This means making pathways obvious. Make your navigation clear and easy to use. If you’re designing buttons, you should make them 11 millimeters diagonally at a minimum. Additionally, it’s a good idea to make the whole button click-able. Have you ever been frustrated by an ad that requires you to click a microscopic x to exit? Don’t make clicking a button or filling a form on your site agonizing. The easier your site is to use, the more visitors you’ll retain.

Language

When conducting user interface design for seniors, keep your target audience in mind. Try to use universal language. Just like dated sayings may turn younger users away, tumblr slang can dissuade older users. If you decide to use colloquial language, make sure to use wording everyone is likely to recognize. Otherwise, you’ll be cruisin’ for a bruisin’. 

Still curious about accessibility? Read more about the need for digital accessibility here. 

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Chantelle Gossner

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