The Elderly and Web Accessibility – Accommodating Aging Web Users

Americas, Assistive Technology, ICT, October 12 2018

Senior couple surfing on the Internet on a laptop

Image via techsenior.eu

USA: The ability to easily access and use the internet has become a vital aspect of leading a normal modern life. We use the World Wide Web to retrieve health information, get access to a plethora of benefits, stay connected with friends and family, and learn about an unprecedented array of commercial and social services that directly affect the quality of our lives.

However, older demographics are regularly neglected when it comes to making sure they can use the internet on equal terms, which brought us to a noticeable age-based digital divide. Older users often face challenges when they try to access the Internet because of disabilities associated with their age.

Most of these impairments are linked to declining vision (reduced contrast sensitivity, color perception, and near-focus), physical ability (reduced dexterity and fine motor control), hearing (difficulty hearing higher-pitched sounds and separating sounds), and cognitive ability (reduced short-term memory and difficulty concentrating).

It should be noted that these issues often overlap with the accessibility needs of people with disabilities. This is why websites, applications, and tools that are accessible to people with disabilities are more accessible to older users as well.

Since we can expect the number of elderly to drastically increase in the following decades, we must start meeting the accessibility requirements older people need in order to fully make use of the Internet. After all, older web users are also a growing market segment. This makes them an important target group for many businesses, which should play a significant factor in making the internet more accessible to the elderly.

So, where do we currently find ourselves in terms of making sure that older people can use the internet on the same basis as everyone else? Well, while the elderly still have significantly lower rates of internet usage than the general public, it should be noted that this demographic is more digitally connected than ever before. According to recent studies, more than 70% of internet users aged 65+ are now using the internet on a daily basis. This is extraordinary progress when compared to how much seniors were accustomed to participating in the online world just a few years ago.

However, while older demographics may be connected more than ever before, it’s important to grasp that their participation on the Web is still noticeably different than what younger people are accustomed to. Hoping to help you better understand the current relationship seniors have with the internet, the team at MedAlertHelp created an info-graphic that focuses on explaining precisely how the elderly interact with the digital world.

To view the info-graphic, visit the URL: https://medalerthelp.org/elderly-the-world-wide-web-infographic/

SOURCE:
Written By: Nikola Djordjevic, MD, Community Manager and Head of Content at MedAlertHelp.org.
Coming from Serbia, Nikola is a doctor of medicine who started this project in 2018 out of his passion for helping others, particularly seniors.
Apart from reviewing medical alert systems, he also writes a blog dedicated to health, aging, retirement, and other senior-related topics.

Re-posted with permission

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