Web Design for Elderly and People with Disabilities


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The Most Important UX Challenge In 2017: Web Design for Elderly and People with Disabilities

For many reasons, making media and design more inclusive is one of the most important UX challenges in 2017.  According with researchers, the elderly and the people with disabilities are a large and quickly growing segment often ingored. The costs to businesses which are ignoring disabled customers may be hard to estimate, but one thing is sure: 82% of them would spend more, if the web designs were more accesible. The Click-Away Pound Survey 2016 also says that 71% of them will click away from a website if they find it difficult to use.

UX Challenges In 2017

Why you should design for elderly and people with disabilities?

Web Design for Elderly = delivering a better brand experience

Web design researches showed that participatory design with disabled people and the elderly helps designers to come up with solutions to the most common problems which also have impact to the user experience of non-disabled visitors. All in all, it is one of the best ways to create a better design and to deliver a better brand experience.

For those who happen to be distracted, for those who don’t have time to spend on website, all improvements made initially for people with disabilities are important in a similar way. A great design is easy to navigate also for those who are stressed, needing to find information in a hurry, or who are not native language speakers.

The main issues

The main issues faced by elderly and disabled people are often similar to the challenges faced by non-disabled users. Confusing layouts, distracting banners and visuals, fonts and colors which make the text to be hard to read are all aspects creating problems for a large part of users. People who are looking for a quick purchase or people with tired eyes may be also affected.

Crowded pages are representing the most frequent obstacle faced by disabled customers. Therefore, 62% of participants to a survey considered that it is the most important problem that needs to be solved in web design. To explain why this is happening, we need to think about how disabled people access a website. To do this, some of them are using assistive technologies such as screen readers, screen magnifiers or dictation softwares.

Too much content and over-complicated pages are making these technologies to function incorrectly. For example, the screen reading software may be fooled about what to focus on and give some chaotic answers.


Creating a website interface accessible for all means paying attention to each detail from colors and contrasts, to headings and lists which may allow anyone have an easy navigation. It also means ensuring that screen readers can operate properly. In addition, best practices in UX suppose testing over and over again.

Some of the most important recommendations include using simple colors instead of bright contrasting colors, using a linear and logical layout instead of complex menus and descriptive buttons, combining shapes, text, and colors instead of using only color to convey meaning. The buttons and notification should be placed in context in order to make everything easy to understand.

Regarding the content, it will need to be written with simple sentences, subheadings, bullets and lists. In order to keep content clear and simple, it is also recommended allying text to left and break text with images, diagrams and videos. Publishing text which use capitals, italics or underlined words is not a professional choice. In return, a great web design will publish all information instead of bury it in downloads and it will allow user change the contrast between text and background. Adding a descriptive alternative text descriptions for each image in one other good practice.

If you own a business website, consider also providing information in other formats, such as video or audio. It will improve the user experience for both disabled people and non-disabled users.

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