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More Elderly are Using the Web

Ten years ago only 25 percent of older adults had exposure to computers. Not surprisingly, with the growing acceptance by the population of the Internet and the increase in spare time afforded the elderly as they pass into retirement, the number of elderly Internet users is increasing.

Increasing attention has been paid to the specific ergonomic requirements of the aging as they experience a decline in mental functioning in computer-related sensing and responding abilities. Sight is a particular area in which the elderly frequently demonstrate a decline. Font type and size are of particular consideration with this decline in visual acuity. Experts recommend using sans serif fonts (Arial, Helvetica, Verdana), and black type on a white background. These fonts have letters that are of uniform stroke and width without any embellishment.

The elderly tend to take longer to use search engines in locating information. It has been found that they benefit from being given more navigation options. Since the ability to made quick, precise movements declines with age it is suggested that ‘click’ options not be place too close together.

As more and more research comes out regarding the ergonomics of Internet use, Web designers will become more sensitive to the results as is becomes available to them.

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