It’s a myth that only younger people are social media savvy or regularly use the Internet. Seniors are increasingly embracing technology and using the Internet to meet their needs for social connection, news, entertainment, personal research, business, and shopping.
If you have a website for your business, it’s important to evaluate it for its friendliness to seniors, especially if they’re among your likely customers. They may want to buy things from you online or use your site as a resource for information and an additional way to reach out to you.
How can you make their experience with your site more enjoyable? The following are several important tips:
- Make sure the text is easily readable.
Use clear fonts and preferably no font size smaller than 12. There should be a strong contrast between the text and the background colour. Break the text up into smaller sections with informative headers. Use bullet points or lists, especially when providing step-by-step instructions. Get your point across succinctly.
- Make things easy to click on.
Don’t require double clicks or use tiny icons that are difficult to hit. Ideally, you won’t place click able items close together; if you do, your site visitors are more likely to miss the target and click on something they didn’t intend to touch.
- When you revamp your site, try not to change too much.
If seniors grow accustomed to your site, major changes in the layout or appearance can throw them off or frustrate them. Avoid huge unnecessary changes – and try not to make major changes frequently. Do what you can to keep your site recognisable.
- Take extra care with the language.
If your customers are largely an older crowd, take care not to rely heavily on slang, web speak, technological jargon, or acronyms that are unfamiliar to them. Consider the kind of humour or anecdotes you share on your site and whether it would appeal to them.
- Offer features that support physical impairments.
For example, to accommodate difficulty with hearing, you may want to supply the text to any video or audio file you embed on your site. For visual impairments, make sure your site still looks good if it’s enlarged or if site visitors are viewing its mobile version on a computer screen; the text should remain readable, and the layout should continue to appear attractive and professional.Another feature that can help people with visual impairment is the ability to navigate the site with keyboard commands, rather than having to track a mouse cursor. You can also make your site friendly to programs that read the text out loud.
- Aim for a positive tone.
Your tone shouldn’t come across as scolding or negative. Keep it more gentle and respectful. Speak in an optimistic way. Carefully evaluate the content to ensure that you aren’t communicating in a condescending way.
- Make sure they don’t have to fill out many (or any) forms.
You don’t want to turn their experience with your website into an obstacle course. If you need to use forms, keep them simple and make sure the instructions are clear.
- Increase the likelihood that they’ll share your content on social media.
Social media use offers important benefits to seniors. But what do they enjoy sharing? In October 2015, Social Media Week offered some insights into what seniors might like posting on Facebook. Seniors generally enjoy clear images and informative content that represents their interests.Consider how they may enjoy being in a position to share knowledge, advice, and encouragement with other people, particularly their family and friends. And because they don’t necessarily think to immediately share content, you can ask them to. For example, in your blog posts next to the social media icons, you can encourage them to spread the word.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for further advice on making your website more friendly to an older generation that’s embracing technology. With the right design, content, and features, your business website will more easily attract seniors and encourage them to do business with you and share your content.