Imagine you’re at a popular restaurant, eager to order a specialty breakfast item. But the menu features an ornate script that’s too hard or too small to read. It’s confusing and disheartening. And without the help of a friendly and attentive wait staff member to explain the options, ordering isn’t easy.
Now, imagine navigating a website with buttons that are too close together, text in hard-to-read fonts, or complicated menus that seem like a maze. Seniors grapple with these online challenges daily as you’d struggle at that restaurant.
As a forward-thinking business owner, you’ve always ensured your services are welcoming to all in person. Now, it’s high time to align the digital space to ensure it mirrors that inclusivity.
Stepping Into Their Shoes: The Digital Dilemma
Our population is aging. Data from the World Health Organization estimates that by 2050, approximately 22% of the world population will be age 60 or over.
A growing group of seniors and an aging population are eager to engage with the digital world. However, challenges like smaller text, complex navigation, or autoplay videos can deter this demographic. Obstacles are not just a matter of poor eyesight.
Health issues like arthritis, neuropathy, stroke, tendonitis, Parkinson’s Disease, Carpal Tunnel, Multiple Sclerosis, and other health conditions make using traditional input devices like a mouse or keyboard difficult.
While businesses and organizations of all sizes should consider the digital needs of older people, some industries that should be especially attuned include those in healthcare and wellness, travel and leisure, finance and retirement planning, real estate, and housing—to name a few
As a business owner in these (or other) sectors, you may miss out on a vast audience segment if your website isn’t senior-friendly.
A Web For Everyone
When we talk about making the Internet accessible to everyone, we’re not just spinning a feel-good tale. An accessible website resonates with a broader audience, which can increase user engagement and, ultimately, your bottom line.
Inclusive and accessible web design doesn’t just benefit seniors. It’s a principle of reaching out to all, regardless of their abilities or age. By ensuring that your website caters to seniors, you’re making it more accessible to others who struggle with some of the same issues despite age.
The Tools of Inclusivity
How can we make our websites more accessible to seniors and everyone else? Here are some features to consider integrating:
- Navigational Ease: Clear, straightforward menus and breadcrumb trails can help seniors understand where they are on your site and how to get where they want to go.
- Text-to-Speech: This feature can assist those with visual impairments or reading difficulties by reading the text on the page out loud.
- Font Controls: Empower users by allowing them to adjust font sizes, colors, and styles. Providing font controls can be a game-changer for those with vision issues.
- Adjustable Backgrounds: Some color contrasts, or busy backgrounds can be hard on the eyes. Offering visitors the controls to change to a plain background is a thoughtful gesture.
- Disable Video/Autoplay Features: Many people might not have access to high-speed Internet or appreciate unexpected sounds blasting from their speakers when visiting a website. Users can turn off video or autoplay elements to enhance the user experience.
Broadening Your Digital Horizons
In 2023 and beyond, inclusivity and accessibility are crucial for many reasons. It’s about doing what’s right and understanding the evolving digital landscape. When you cater to the senior demographic, you recognize a robust, growing market segment with specific needs.
As business owners in industries like healthcare, travel, finance, or real estate, it’s essential to ensure that your website is as welcoming and navigable as the warmest brick-and-mortar storefront.
The Legal Side of Accessibility
Beyond ethical considerations, it’s worth mentioning the legal concerns of website accessibility. In various jurisdictions, businesses can face legal challenges if their websites aren’t accessible to all users, including seniors and those with disabilities. Ensuring your site meets accessibility standards broadens your audience and minimizes potential legal risks.
Onward To A More Connected Tomorrow
Our goal, especially in web development, should be to bridge connections, foster understanding, and cater to everyone—regardless of age or ability.
By embracing inclusive web design, we’re expanding our business horizons and championing a cause that matters: the Internet for everyone.
So, here’s to a brighter, more connected, and inclusive digital future for the world. Let’s lead the charge together – contact us today to start the conversation.