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Accessibility for Seniors on the Web

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Karen Blundell
November 19, 2007

Karen Blundell
Karen Blundell is a web designer and internet consultant based in Welland, Ontario. Her focus is to assist home and small business owners succeed on the internet. You can find out more about her services at http://karenblundell.com
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One of the reasons accessibility in web design is so important is because a large percentage of seniors are surfing the web. The baby boomers are approaching or are in their sixties and about 75% of them are surfing the web to get information about health issues in particular and they are also shopping big time. How nice is it for them to shop at Christmas for their grandchildren without having to go out and brave the elements? I think it’s absolutely fantastic that the internet has made seniors’ lives so much easier. And the internet has also enabled them to keep their minds active, which, in my opinion, is an important key to longevity.

So what does that mean to a web designer? Well, a savvy designer would design sites to adhere to current web standards and accessibility. Using dark text on light backgrounds, enabling the visitor to adjust the font size on the web page, and clear concise information on a page with easy navigation is what a senior should expect to find when visiting sites and the smart designer should know this.

Unfortunately, that is often not the case. In fact, many corporate web sites virtually ignore the needs of seniors, using deprecated code, unreadable text, and worse, unclear content. How ignorant and just plain dumb is that?

My advice to web designers, whether freelance or corporate, is think about seniors and the baby boomers and what their needs are, and design your sites accordingly. If you take care of them, they'll take care of your bank account by giving you their business.

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