If you want to make a website senior-friendly, there are a number of things you need to keep in mind. First would be that many seniors are relatively inexperienced in the use of computers, tablets or smartphones. Though some seniors are capable and frequent internet users, many still prefer to accomplish tasks off-line. Those offering services for seniors should take this into consideration when creating their website and do everything they can to make it as accessible as possible to their target audience.
Keep the page clear and simple. Don’t clutter it with faded background images or unnecessary buttons. Have plenty of space around what you are showing them. It might not hurt to have a ‘Need Help?’ button at the very top that will guide your viewer through the steps involved in navigating the site. It would be a good place to explain the security of using a service like PayPal to make a purchase. If your customer have any doubt about how secure the site is, they won’t purchase.
Make the text easy to read by using clean, bold styles. Poor eyesight, which is common among seniors, makes it hard to see the words, so keep the text large. Use the same font across the whole page—not only is this aesthetically preferable for many users, it keeps content and navigation tools from looking cluttered and confusing the viewer.
Many find that the best, easiest-to-find menus are on the left side of the page. Make the buttons large and space them apart. An unsteady hand can select the wrong one easily, so make the buttons different colors to help your reader distinguish them. Keep the menu short and concise. Make sure any text you include is necessary and informative—too much text can be overwhelming to the inexperienced surfer.
Don’t use technical terminology in your content—instead, employ common vernacular as much as possible. If you have to use a technical term, have a popup come up when the curser is over it explaining what the term is. Make sure your menu selection and the page they are taken to match. Don’t lead them down a winding trail. According to a survey conducted by iTOK, a company offering tech support for seniors, 66% don’t receive the help they feel they require with technology. Instead of creating a problem for seniors, offer help and solutions. This starts with your content, where you have the opportunity to offer clear, helpful instructions.
If you wish to target the senior market, your website is of little value if your seniors can’t navigate through it. If you keep these few things in mind when you create your site, it will make it easier for your target audience.