Making Your Website Senior-Friendly
Making Web Information Easy to Find
Computer conventions that younger people seem to use automatically, such as scrolling, clicking buttons and links, and using menus, may be unfamiliar to older adults. In addition, advanced age may bring changes in spatial memory, the ability to recall the location of objects in a given space and actually find them.
Key: Make navigation elements consistent, explicit, and predictable.
Providing obvious and consistent “signposts” will help older adults orient themselves on your site.
- User standard templates for design.
- Use the same symbols and icons throughout.
- Use the same set of navigation buttons in the same place on each page.
- Put the page title in the same place on each page.
- Avoid using features that may distract attention, such as pop-ups and visuals that are not relevant to the task.
- Use explicit step-by-step navigation whenever possible.
- Structure navigation to ensure that it is consistent throughout, and that the fewest possible clicks are needed to achieve a given task.
- Incorporate buttons such as “Previous/Next page” for ease of clicking through related pages.
- Make sure that the “back” button behaves predictably.
- If you use pull-down or fly-out menus, make them open and close on a click.
- Do not use menus that require users to slide the mouse and click all in one movement.
- Write descriptive, easy-to-read links that help people predict what will happen next.
- Use action words (verbs) when the link is about taking an action. Example:
- Avoid: "My account"
- Use instead: "Go to my account"
- Use words that are meaningful and understandable on their own. Example:
- Avoid: "Click Here"
- Use instead: “Click here for more information on arthritis.”
- Each link should start with distinct and relevant keywords.
- Make links obviously clickable using color and underlining.
- Make visited links change color.
Icons and Buttons
- Use large buttons that do not require precise movements to activate.
- Make buttons and icons stand out using color.
- Make buttons obviously clickable.
- Make bullets in a navigation list active links that go to the same place as the words that follow them.
- Use single mouse clicks to access information.
- Treat double clicks as single clicks - if a person clicks more than once, accept the first click and ignore the other clicks.
- Do not use automatically scrolling text.
- Do not set pages so that people have to scroll horizontally.
- Minimize vertical scrolling.
- Avoid bars, rules, and other horizontal features that may suggest the bottom of a page when there is more below.
- If the site has many pages and they cannot all be listed easily together, include a way to search your site using keywords.
- Make sure that the search box is in the same place on every page. People expect to see the search box in the upper left or upper right side of the webpage.
- Choose an easy-to-use search engine that doesn’t require special characters or knowledge of Boolean logic (T/F).
- Be tolerant of what people search. For example, offer alternatives for misspellings.
- Provide a way to contact the site owners if people cannot find what they need.
- Offer a telephone number for those who would prefer to talk to a person, or provide an e-mail address for questions or comments.