Appealing to the Presbyopic: 3 Tips for Creating a Visually Accessible Website

We’ve all seen them. In libraries, at cafes, watching plays and attending ball games; the epitome of the recent saying “the struggle is real.” They are, of course, the presbyopes. A funny thing happens around age 40, when those who formerly had no difficulty reading fine print, suddenly find themselves struggling. They are forced to visit the eye doctor who diagnoses them with presbyopia and says that dreaded word: “bifocals.”

As much as Americans seem to resist the aging process, losing your vision seems to be one of the worst ways Mother Nature informs you of your age. Even after getting a shining new pair of bifocals or progressives, the presbyopes seem to struggle. You will see them adjusting the glasses on their noses, holding menus farther away or peering at computer screens with their heads tilted back. Understandably, this is not the ideal situation for anyone.

As more people age with high internet usage, they demand web designs that cater to their visual requirements. Designing web pages with tiny fonts, glaring colors or obnoxious moving banners create all sorts of trials no one should have to deal with simply to view your site. If you are pitching to the over-40 crowd, which is nearly half the population, your website design should cater to their visual needs. Included here are a few tips for creating a website that is aesthetically pleasing, and visually accessible, to the presbyopes.

Talk Text

The first way to make your website more appealing is to consider the size of the font. Have you ever realized how much you dread “reading the fine print?” It makes sense, then, that consumers who see a webpage filled with tiny font may distrust your company. Individuals using size 12 font are doing themselves, and their customers, a disservice.

Many web designers now believe that 16 is the ideal font size for a web page. However, 16 may still be a little too tiny if your target demographic is over 40. Consider upping the ante to a size 20 or bigger and cut down the text blocks on your page. Only say what you need to say and utilize blank space for ease of readability.

Cut Down on Color

Have you ever noticed how neon colors can give you a headache? Makes a person wonder how teenagers can sleep in those lime green and hot pink bedrooms, but that’s a digression. Bright colors make it hard to read, especially with abnormal color pairings. Utilize blank white spaces and black text. It may sound boring, but it can actually communicate a clean, trustworthy appeal.

Don’t “Move It, Move It”

One of the most maddening features on any website is an ad or popup that bounces around the screen. It is hard enough for the youngest internet user to find the “x” and close it out, let alone someone who is subjected to a millimeter or so of bifocal reading space!

Moving banners are more likely to make your consumers angry enough to click the back button than to generate any kind of positive reaction. If you feel you must have a popup, like a “how can we help you,” place it at the bottom of the screen; make sure the “x” is visible, you don’t want a consumer having that popup blocking their reading of your “contact us” page!

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About kamn

I am freelance web designer and developer with a passion for interaction design. I love communication, creativity, technology and everything in between.

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