17 Jun 4 Reasons to Make your Web-based Platforms Senior-Friendly
The inclusivity of the internet is more important now than ever. As individuals all around the world practice social distancing, there has been a surge of global internet usage. Seniors are enthusiastic and curious, but often feel left out of the loop when it comes to the online world. Studies conducted in the USA found that 67% of individuals aged 65 and up are now online of which three-quarters go online daily, but nearly 50% of them feel like they require assistance. It is time to make surfing, searching, and shopping easy for our Baby Boomers!
1. Unlock a whole demographic of users
Older adults is a group that is often overlooked by designers and developers who have misconceptions that older populations aren’t interested in and aren’t proactive when it comes to web-based platforms. A survey conducted in India shows that, of urban and online seniors, 69% shop online on their smartphones and 81% enjoy using social media. Such tasks are often misconstrued as active practices of a younger population, however, seniors are realising the benefits of switching online for services, entertainment, and information at increasing rates. Oftentimes, the reason seniors are holding back is the lack of considerations to their needs in the platform’s design which, consequently, limits their access to your product. Enhancing your UX to make your platforms senior-friendly will eliminate the barriers of navigation and use that they face. This will unlock a whole new demographic of users or customers. Studies show that individuals aged 52+ have around 12 times more wealth than millennials. Additionally, we are seeing a decrease in the practice of retired and senior citizens handing over their property and wealth to their progeny while they are alive. They are learning to enjoy their lifetime of hard work and hardship with a change of lifestyle – a movement online. With significant economic power in the hand of older adults, this group is particularly valuable. They are eagerly exploring the digital world. Ensure that they have an effortless experience with your platform!
2. Provide easy access to essentials
Many companies and organisations whose products and services are deemed essential are shifting their workings to the web. From banking to purchasing medicines, seniors may need to complete important tasks online, in their entirety. Many governments highly recommend filing taxes online, and even offer a guarantee in reduced wait time in the completion of the procedure as compared to when paper taxes are filed. These steps have been taken to increase accountability, reduce errors, and provide convenience to users. Due to the massive profits of this scheme, it wouldn’t be surprising if in-person and paper-based services are abandoned completely, in the future. Especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, web-based services seem more practical than ever before. But, how will senior citizens cope if they struggle to use your platforms? We must work collectively to prepare them for this change so that completing essential tasks online is a viable (and the preferred) option for them.
3. Fosters independent living
Growing urban trends show an increase in nuclear families and we see that seniors now live independently. They are learning to adapt to this new age of technology where everything is at one’s fingertips. Kitchen necessities, medical supplies, clothes, furniture, and food are all just a click away. Individuals now prefer to watch movies and tv shows from online platforms due to the variety offered and increase in control of the user (as they can choose what they want to view instead of only being able to watch what is being broadcast). Smooth and easy communication with their family members, such as via video call, and connecting with their community via social media are of importance to them too. There are many benefits for those who utilise technology. A decrease in loneliness has been observed, and physiological and psychological health is improved. Seniors’ lifestyle practices have an increased dependency on web-based platforms. Enhancing older adults’ interactions with these platforms fosters independent living. Older adults will no longer need their grandchildren to guide them. The global life expectancy increased by 5.5 years between 2000 and 2016, and is continuing to grow. Hence, encouraging seniors to take charge of their daily tasks will further empower them.
4. Senior-Friendly optimisation increases improves the UX for all
Lastly, the optimisations that you make to your platform not only benefit seniors, but also all users. Utilising inclusive user interfaces and design principles increases the ease of use of your website. Simple, clean aesthetics improve the overall readability of your platform. Implementing techniques to differentiate your content allows users to navigate through your website without roadblocks. Other design optimisations regarding colour combinations and graphics made to reduce the strain on eyes and minimise sources of distraction for seniors will prove to have the same benefits for children and middle-aged adults. Creating inclusive websites and applications contribute to holistic development in the user experience, to make your platforms accessible to everybody!
If you’re interested in knowing how you can make your platforms senior-friendly, or if you want to learn more, feel free to contact us!