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How web sites work for older users. A study of 50 sites. Sally Balch Hurme, JD AARP Consumer Protection NLIEC 2006 Conference. Goals of the AARP study. Review 50 web sites from the point of view of people age 50+ Find out how well sites support older adults

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how web sites work for older users

How web sites work for older users

A study of 50 sites

Sally Balch Hurme, JD

AARP Consumer Protection

NLIEC 2006 Conference

goals of the aarp study
Goals of the AARP study
  • Review 50 web sites from the point of view of people age 50+
  • Find out how well sites support older adults
  • Provide guidance for designers and developers
  • Show examples of web pages that work well and that don’t

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

rationale
Rationale
  • Percentage of older people going online is large and growing; in 2005:
    • 75% of people age 56-65
    • 41% of people age 66 and up
    • 60 million Boomers online
  • Use the web for information about health and prescription drugs, travel, finances and investments, news, and hobbies
  • http://www.aarp.org/olderwiserwired/oww-resources/doing_the_math_older_adults_online.html

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

what s in the literature
What’s in the literature
  • Older adults are diverse – much more than is usually thought about in creating web sites
    • Age: chronological and experiential
    • Ability: physical and cognitive limitations Aptitude: expertise with computers and web
    • Attitude: positive and risk-taking or negative and risk-averse; need or seek support from others

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

method how reviewed 50 web sites
Method: How Reviewed 50 Web sites
  • Used two of AARP’s eight personas
  • Defined high-level tasks
  • Selected web sites
  • Performed tasks
  • Recorded observations

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

persona 1 matthew
Persona 1: Matthew

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

persona 2 edith
Persona 2: Edith

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

defining high level tasks
Defining high-level tasks
  • Start the day
  • Research health options
  • Plan a trip
  • Do household bookkeeping
  • Leisure activities, shopping

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

selecting web sites
Selecting web sites

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

performing tasks and recording observations
Performing tasks and recording observations

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

practice
Practice

My doctor has prescribed Zocor for my high cholesterol, but I wonder how effective it really is. I saw this new site in the AARP Bulletin…

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

findings from the review much good but too much bad
Findings from the review: Much good, but too much bad
  • Some sites are doing good things
  • Still too many opportunities for serious problems and task failures
  • Many sites scored both positively and negatively, e.g.:

Financial services – Explanations on some pages were simple; but on other pages, writers assumed more knowledge about the subject than the persona has

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

findings from the review opportunities for task failure
Findings from the review: Opportunities for task failure
  • The web is very difficult for the least expert among older adults
  • The web is still frustrating for users with more expertise

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

examples
Examples
  • Purplepill.com – Nexium
  • Aetna.com
  • AAA.com
  • BBCNews.com

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

suggestions how to make it easy
Suggestions: How to make it easy
  • Interaction design: designing the way users work with the site
  • Information architecture: organizing the content
  • Visual design: designing the pages
  • Information design: writing and formatting the content

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

suggestions how to make it easy1
Suggestions: How to make it easy
  • Interaction design
    • Make it obvious what is clickable and what is not.
    • Make clickable items easy to hit.
    • Minimize vertical scrolling; eliminate horizontal scrolling.
    • Ensure that the Back button behaves predictably.
    • Let the user stay in control.

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

suggestions how to make it easy2
Suggestions: How to make it easy
  • Information architecture
    • Make the structure of the web site as visible as possible.
    • Clearly label content categories.
    • Implement the shallowest possible information hierarchy.
    • Include a site map and link to it from every page.

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

suggestions how to make it easy3
Suggestions: How to make it easy
  • Visual design
    • Make pages easy to skim or scan.
    • Make elements on the page easy to read.
    • Visually group related topics.
    • Make sure text and background colors contrast.
    • Use adequate white space.

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

suggestions how to make it easy4
Suggestions: How to make it easy
  • Information design
    • Make it easy to find things on the page quickly.
    • Focus the writing on audience and purpose.
    • Use the users’ language--minimize jargon and technical terms

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

links to the reports and other resources
Links to the reports and other resources
  • Two reports
    • Designing Web Sites for Older Adults:A review of recent, relevant research
    • Designing Web Sites for Older Adults:Expert review of usability for older adults
  • www.aarp.org/olderwiserwired

How Web Sites Work for Older UsersChisnell, Redish, & Lee

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