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MIDDLE ATLANTIC REGION

Making Your Website Senior-Friendly

Designing Readable Online Text

Vision commonly changes with age, often making reading from a computer screen difficult as the eyes become less sensitive and less able to detect light, color, and details.

Key: Keep the spacing, type and color of text in mind when designing your website.

Space

  • Allow sufficient white space on the web page to ensure an uncluttered look.
  • Put a space between paragraphs.
  • Allow enough space around clickable targets, such as links and buttons, so that each one is easy to target and hit separately.

Typeface

  • Use a sans serif typeface.
  • Use a typeface that is not condensed.

Arial is the most commonly used sans serif font today, but Tahoma and Verdana are also widely available and were developed specifically for the screen.

Type size

  • Use 12- or 14- point type size for body text.
  • Make it easy for users to change the text size directly from the screen.

Type weight

  • Use medium or boldface typeface.
  • For headings, increase the size and weight or use a color. If you use bold for body text, make headings stand out with size or color.

Capital and lowercase letters: Never use all capitals, it takes up more space and is more difficult to read.

Avoid using italics.

Justification: Left-justified type is best for older adults, because lines will start at the same place on the left side of the screen and follows a left-to-right reading pattern.

Backgrounds/Contrast

  • Use dark type or graphics against a light background.
  • Avoid patterned backgrounds.
  • Make it easy for the user to change contrast without having to use their browser controls, such as a simple “on/off” button.

Color

  • Use high-contrast color combinations, such as black type against a white background.
  • Avoid layering shades of the same color, such as dark blue type on a light blue background.
  • Avoid colors that clash, such as dark blue on a red background.
  • Avoid yellow/blue/green in close proximity, because the differences in these colors are difficult for many older people to see.
  • Use colors to group information visually.