Web Design for Senior Citizens

In a study provided by the Neilson Norman Group, it is estimated that this year, American seniors will spend about $25 billion per year on e-commerce purchases if current trends continue. Since the majority of websites are built for a younger demographic, it is that that by tailoring a website’s look and functionality to the needs of elders, there could be an increase sales up to $77 billion per year.

Senior citizens are not only shopping online, but they are also using the various social networks available in order to keep connected to family and friends, as well as reconnect with people from their past. There is evidence that seniors benefit from the social aspect of Internet usage, as it can help reduce their feelings of isolation and can even lower the rate of depression among senior citizens. As many senior citizens will attest to, their age does not eliminate their ability to be part of a community, even online, nor does age preclude the ability to enjoy the benefits of current technologies and trends.

The design of many websites, including social networking websites like Facebook, dating websites or even the smaller community forums found on military or other service-related websites are beginning to take the online interests of seniors seriously, providing alternative sizing of text and using better navigational tools or other tutorials to help guide a senior citizen through a website. The size of “clickable” web icons is also a concern for seniors, who may be experiencing mobility issues due to arthritis or other physical issues. With many seniors having sight or hearing impairments, an effective web designer will take into account the accommodations needed to assist these special needs situations, as well. Also, by providing clear information and possibly the ability for the end-user to engage in customer service online through chats, the senior is better able to get the information needed, leading to greater customer satisfaction and benefiting any website, whether retail, social or informational.



With the growing rate of those that fall into the “senior citizen” demographic due to the aging of the Baby Boomer generation, it is important for web designers and web developers to keep in mind the special needs of these generations of people. While many of the seniors and Boomers did not grow up using web technologies, their ability to adapt to the culture and technology does not leave them behind in terms of tailoring online experiences to their needs. Smart web design takes into account a broad range of age, needs and other considerations in order to properly present the website to the largest population possible.

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