Designing a Website that is Accessible for the Elderly

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Vision

When designing the website for the Occupational Therapy campaign, it is important to consider text size so having text no smaller than 16 pixels could make a positive difference for the reader.

“From the age of about 40, the lens of the eye begins to harden, causing a condition called “presbyopia.” This is a normal part of ageing that makes it increasingly difficult to read text that is small and close” (Ollie Campbell, 2015).

Campbell also says that elderly people may find it harder to define colours when they are faded or desaturated, so using colours that stand out will be important but sticking to our colour scheme which is green, white and blue to keep the same theme as Nottinghamshire County Council and their ‘Help Yourself’ campaign.

Motor Control 

It is essential to make the website easily accessible, with the touch of a finger. Campbell also tested how the elderly react in different situations using technology.

In the general population, a mouse is more accurate than a finger. But in our user testing, we’ve seen older people perform better using touch interfaces. This is consistent with research that shows that finger tapping declines later than some other motor skills” (Ollie Campbell, 2015).

Wix (a website builder) allows you to design your website in different variations such as computer, smart phone and a tablet. This broaden the amount of people that can access the website if they had troubles using a computer.

Why do Seniors use the Web? 

A study by Jacob Neilson back in 2013 defined several reasons why the elderly use the internet:

  • Health: “When I was put on [a drug], no one explained it to me. One of the nurses gave me a book, but I went to Internet, too. Anything I have to take, I want to know what it is all about.”
  • Travel: “I have used the Internet for travel—Travelocity. I don’t put my credit card on the machine. I telephone. I just don’t feel like having my credit card on the computer. I checked the weather, I checked the price for the airlines, I found a flight, and then I telephoned the airlines. I found the price on the telephone was cheaper than the computer.”
  • Hobbies: “I check into some of the various TV shows, and tried for tickets for shows. I got into the Internet as far as the names of the shows and all, but I didn’t know how to fill out the forms.”
  • News: “I pay for the Wall Street Journal online. I get the print copy but sometimes the print is missing information, and I can get more online. They update the information online more. And the New York Times, too. You can go back days as well.”
  • Finance: “I log into my bank account every morning. And then I go to my various retirement accounts.”
  • Shopping: “I buy clothes and books. I like Lands’ End. They let you build a model. I was using Priceline.com to save on food. I knit, and I like Wooly Hill Farm to buy yarn.”
  • Social: “I was trying to find relatives, and I discovered an old army buddy of mine and so we are emailing. I am trying to get an email address of a second cousin once removed.”

The Occupational Therapy website will be under the categories of Health, Social and Shopping. Occupational Therapy is run by the NHS so it will naturally come under health giving people a helping hand, I will add a forum page on the website for elders to discuss the products and review them to let others know what they are buying and the shopping will be buying or borrowing the products off the council, which will have a delivery service.

References:

Smashing Magazine. 2016. Designing For The Elderly: Ways Older People Use Digital Technology Differently – Smashing Magazine. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2015/02/designing-digital-technology-for-the-elderly/. [Accessed 17 November 2016].

Usability for Senior Citizens. 2016. Usability for Senior Citizens. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/usability-for-senior-citizens/. [Accessed 17 November 2016].

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