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What are the things I need to consider when I design for the users that are 45-70 old?

I know a little about vision, hearing and dexterity problems, but what are other problems that some of you faced?

The scenario is: a travel website that allows users to view the destinations that we provide, sign up for newsletters and general information about travel

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Be very careful, Igor. I'm getting 45 years old in april... – Benny Skogberg Nov 13 '12 at 15:01
45-70 will include people with very different needs. How did you identify that particular age range? It seems a little arbitrary. – Matt Obee Nov 13 '12 at 15:01
@Matt Obee these people travel with us. – Igor-G Nov 13 '12 at 15:02
I'm with Ben! Rocking my 44th year :) I think you are about 20 years off on the beginning of dexterity problems. Just make it easy to use for anyone. – Itumac Nov 13 '12 at 15:34
@BennySkogberg: Quit complaining already young Benny! :-)) Had you waited till you were over your current age to start running like I did (started at 45), you'd never get below 50... – Marjan Venema Nov 13 '12 at 18:47
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The only generalization I'd make about that age group is that often their eyesight declines, making the readability basics important:

  • use default browser font size (i.e. don't set the font size for main text)
  • use readable font (usually san serif font)
  • ensure adequate contrast
  • layout for readability (attention to line length and leading)
  • design page to be zoomed without breaking the layout

These ease reading for everyone, but are more important for the sight declined. They're the obvious guidelines, not a complete list. One place for more info is the W3 Web Accessibility Initiative.

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+1 for adequate contrast. I'm 52 and have worn glasses all my life; things like the monochromatic VS2012 interface make it difficult for me to see all the little bits of available information on-screen. – DaveE Nov 13 '12 at 22:36

I'm not aware of particular design considerations for those aged 45+, aside from the normal usability issues that affect all of us. I am aware of lots of guidelines when designing for older people aged 65+, most of which are common sense. There was, for example, a project within W3C in conjunction with the European Commission (WAI-AGE) looking at inclusive design for older people. One of the things they looked at was making websites more accessible and usable by applying WCAG guidelines.

One thing to bear in mind is that there is actually a lot of diversity in older age groups when it comes to confidence with technology. Some older people will have been using computers and browsing the web quite happily for many years. Some will have attended classes and received training more recently than younger people!

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