Explore the Future of the Web

Crafting User Experience for the Fastest Growing Web DemographicOlder Users

Shawn Henry

Long gone are the days when young techies were the primary target audience for websites. Increasingly, a key target for websites is older users, especially as Baby Boomers age. Older users' changing needs significantly impact user experience and the definition of good design.

For example, gray text on a light background can be hard for older users to read due to changes in contrast sensitivity and color perception, small click targets can be painful or difficult due to arthritis and tremors, and audio can be hard to understand due to hearing loss. As we age, most of us have increasing visual, physical, auditory, and cognitive impairments that affect how we interact with computers and websites.

Is your design considering the needs of older users? If not, many of those users will go somewhere else. That pretty little design might get some visual design accolades, but very well could be losing you customers - ones with money to spend.

To help know how to design better for older users, there's a rich source of information that's been developing for over 15 years: web accessibility for people with disabilities. The European Commission-funded WAI-AGE project found that existing W3C accessibility guidelines address the majority of older users' web needs.

In this session we'll explore:

  • top web issues for older users
  • websites and applications that get it right, and those that don't
  • how to use W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to address older users' needs as well as the needs of people with disabilities
  • emerging research and user studies on making text readable for older users and others
  • how to create visually appealing, user-customizable designs that work well for a wide range of users

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WebVisions Barcelona explores the future of the web with a lineup of badass visionaries. July 2-4 at IED Design School.

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