Seniors on the Internet – a growing user group with special needs

As a website operator, it is important to keep in mind who the people who actually visit the pages are. If the target group is not specifically intended for older people, many portal operators do not seem to have this group in mind, although these people are becoming more and more numerous. Because one thing is clear: every year the average Internet user is getting older.

A logical trend

That this is the case seems hardly surprising when one considers the age structure of our society. While the 70+ generation is not as familiar with the Internet as younger generations, the majority of baby boomers surf the net regularly and intensively. The share of Internet usage in the 60-69 age group is rising linearly. In the near future almost all seniors will surf the net.

Proportion of elderly people using the internet in Germany
Source: statista.com.

What is there to consider as a site operator?

Although the ü60s are becoming more and more proficient in dealing with the web, as a portal manager one should remember that certain factors can make the website difficult to use for this group. As there will be more and more seniors on the internet, it will become more and more important to understand these factors and to consider their needs.

What factors are there?

Even if an older reader is well versed and has no other problems navigating the Internet, certain physical impairments that make surfing more difficult come with increasing age. Probably the most important ones are:

  • Arthrosis, movement restrictions
  • Presbyopia
  • Hearing loss

What solutions can you offer the older readership on your website?

For motor impaired people:

Unfortunately, arthrosis and other motor limitations, such as Parkinson’s, are not rare. Web links should be seen as an approach to accessibility. It is difficult for affected people to click the links with the mouse. You should therefore try to make clicking as easy as possible. In concrete terms this means 

  • large buttons so it is easy to find the right link to meet
  • suitable distance between two links, so that one does not click the wrong link by mistake
  • easy navigation, so that you can find your way back quickly if you click by mistake

For people with impaired vision:

Presbyopia is probably the most widespread complaint. However, those affected no longer have a keen eye for closeness in particular. This makes it more difficult to surf on the computer. You should therefore make sure to use fonts that are large enough and easy to read. You can read here why font size is important and how to change it.

If you don’t want to use a uniform large font for all your young and older users, there is the possibility that everyone can set the font size for their own needs. In this way, everyone adapts the readability for themselves on the website. This is quick and easy with the free WordPress plugin.

Anmiation shows the Zoom Widget
With the zoom widget as a WordPress plugin, the operator can let each reader set his individual font size

For hearing impaired seniors

Elderly man with hearing aid

In order not to exclude people who suffer from hearing loss, there should be no relevant information that can be recorded exclusively via audio elements. Instead, you should be aware that there are always several ways to consume information. For example, videos should ideally have a subtitle option.

Accessibility as a model for the future

When designing websites it is becoming increasingly important to think about older people. The beauty of this is that the changes not only help older people on the site, but also contribute to the general usability and readability. This helps in the Google ranking as well as an increased positive user experience of your loyal readership.

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