Usability Considerations for Older People: Webcredible’s Usability Test

Webcredible, a group of people that profits from doing what they love - making sure that websites are as usable and accessible to all visitors, made comparative usability tests between older users (65 yrs and above) younger users (40 years and below). Note that to even the field all users have been regular (at least once a week) users for more than a year so that any difficulties on their part while surfing can not be attributed to lack of experience in surfing the internet.

After the tests the data were analaysed and the results showed a marked difference in the needs between the two user groups. Usability factors/issues they compared and saw a marked difference included:

  • Assigning blame
  • Emotional reaction
  • Mental models
  • Technical language
  • Link identification
  • Attitude towards downloading
  • Search usage
  • Speed in reading and task completion
  • Design preference - referring to simplicity, font size and screen resolution

The results, which I will discuss in detail in later posts, showed that there are plenty of seemingly small and trivial design “flaws” that can be tweaked to make website more usable to older people. In the succeeding posts you will see just what it is you can do to improve your website design to answer the needs of older visitors while at the same time still retaining the good look that will attract the younger generations. After all catering to the needs of older people doesn’t mean turning of the young ones. It just means giving your web design a little more thought to be most effective to a wider audience.

Go back