Updated May 31, 2022Reading Time: 3 minutes
Recently we worked on a web design project for a client that helps seniors. In the process, we had to rethink user experience and go beyond mobile responsiveness. Using the coolest new plugins or the most trendy design weren’t the most important elements for this target audience. It was about creating something simple, easy to navigate, and that exuded trust. 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day, according to The TransAmerica Center for Retirement Studies. If your business caters to this demographic, here are five things to consider.
Website Design for Seniors
A user’s experience on a website typically centers on readability. There are several components that affect readability, especially in addressing website design for seniors:
• Font size – All jokes about fading eyesight aside, font size actually is important. As people get older eyesight often deteriorates. Addressing this issue goes beyond simply increasing font size. Too big and it looks amateurish. On a typical website, letter size varies. For example, headers are bigger and bolder yet still need to work with longer-form content. We found a way around the problem by using a font resizer plugin on WordPress. The resizing plugin allows users to choose how big or small the type appears. As a side note, if you’re going to use a plugin like this, make sure your website theme is responsive to the font size changes. It won’t work if your theme isn’t compatible.
• Colors – Color psychology is something you could spend hours worrying about. We keep it simple (so it doesn’t look like a circus) and choose colors with contrast in mind. From experience, the colors that work poorly are yellow and light orange. Of course, color choice all depends on your website’s background color. If your type color doesn’t have enough contrast, it won’t matter how big the font size.
• Text structure – Following on from the above points, consider the structure of your text. Nobody likes a wall of text, even voracious readers. For seniors, this is even more important. When you can, break up your paragraphs and add indents. Also, consider increasing line spacing. If you find it difficult to scan/read, the use of bold and headline functions aid in making the important bits stand out.
• Font style – Choosing a font can be difficult as it tends to be a personal preference. Generally, we suggest avoiding overly fancy or decorative scripts. Fonts that have been seen to work well are straightforward and sans serif like Veranda or Arial. Be aware that some fonts will render differently across browsers.
• Design style – This point is less about seniors and more about knowing your audience. Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age. Remember they grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. They came of age during the golden years of advertising. When appealing to this demographic, you may want to evoke a sense of nostalgia.
Design for Everyone
Designing a website for seniors is not unlike designing a website for anyone else. You need to make sure what you’re putting up is intuitive, clean, easy to navigate while still keeping it as aesthetically pleasing as possible.
Do you have any tips for designing a website for seniors?
Photo credit – Top: Jeremy Keith
Photo credit – Bottom: Ethan Prater