If you’re interested in designing websites, there are many things you need to know and take into consideration. This also applies if you are interested in creating a design for a particular online service, or better yet, for a specific target demographic.
Today we’ll be discussing what are the design features of an online service for seniors. While in the past, at the beginning of the age of technology and the Internet, the older generation was set aside and almost completely ignored, nowadays everything is changing. Seniors are now active on social media, have accounts on online dating websites, shop, watch movies and do pretty much everything that young people do online.
The Senior Population is a Growing Market for Online Services
The senior population creates a new market, a market that keeps increasing. With more and more people aging out of the system, getting sick, or choosing to retire early, there are many people who have a lot more free time than others. This makes the senior demographic desirable as a market as they theoretically have enough money and more leisure periods. While you will still need a great web design to reel them in and convince them to check out what you have to offer, it will be easier than it is to attract Gen Z or Millenials, for example.
If you are a Millenial and are hard at work right now, you will notice that while your great grandparents skipped the Internet altogether, your grandparents might have been more interested in the topic, and your parents are pretty much obsessed with it. Think about all the 50+ people you know and see that they sometimes use the Internet even more than you do. While most of them do not necessarily work online and don’t use the Internet to make money, they spend quite a lot of time chatting with others online and other needs in their spare time.
Tips for Senior-Friendly Web Design
Most likely, you understand what the design of modern online services is based on, but there are a couple of things that are worth highlighting regarding the design of services for seniors. When it comes to age-focused online chat rooms, free senior dating sites come to mind. Let’s think about online dating services and see what applies. While to some, it may seem a bit of a stretch to imagine “old” people online trying to date, you should know that there are millions of senior singles looking for love, companionship or sometimes even for casual affairs on online dating websites. Therefore, search speed according to the given parameters, clarity and usability are so important for such sites.
Here are the things you must take into consideration when creating an online dating service for seniors:
- Clear landing page – it is essential for any service, but it’s worth reminding again that your service is aimed at an older group of people. Let anyone who comes to the site have no doubt that they have chosen the right place to communicate online for seniors.
- Well readable font – it is important to choose a convenient font that will be easy to read, understandable, not cause confusion, while not being too convoluted.
- Free version – it is imperative that you offer some form of a free trial. You can either do a specific number of days or offer the main part of the service for free, with added benefits if they choose to go for the premium option. This enables seniors to familiarize with the online service before deciding if it is right for them. For example, you could allow senior singles to make an account, complete their profiles, browse profiles of others, etc., for free. But if they want to get special functionalities (video chat, flirting features, better search parameters) – they would have to pay to upgrade their membership.
- Right visual elements – this will require that you do your research and see what exactly seniors see as appealing. The same great web design and visual elements that apply to a younger generation won’t work for the older one. Here you should go for neutral colors, pastels, something non-threatening that looks safe, and use bolder colors and bigger fonts for important buttons and CTAs. If you make something too flashy or with too many animations, they will think they might get a virus if they click on it or get confused, just as if the fonts are too small, they might not see them.
- Focus on usability – while still connected to the actual design, the size of your buttons, images, overall text are important. Their eyesight isn’t 20/20, and they will become upset if they spend a long time looking for something. Make everything very easy to use. The steps should be clear; what every button does should be clear. Don’t write small disclaimers in hidden places. Be out and open.
- Smooth navigation – if they have to take a million steps and spend a very long time trying to go from one page or profile to the next, make an account, or pay for premium or contact support, they will get upset quickly. Your website needs to follow the rules for best practices. This means a click, max two from the homepage to get to everything.
- Clear instructions – it’s imperative that your target demographic has very clear instructions on how to use the service. If this is their first try at using the Internet, they should be able to figure out how the website works, how an online dating service works, what they need to do, what steps they need to take, and how they can go from being single to finding a match and getting a date.
There are hundreds of online dating services, and you will find many different ones specifically built for seniors. Do your research and see what the trends for design are. You can even get ideas on Pinterest. Any idea you get, cross-reference it online and see if it would work before you implement it.
Keep your demographic in mind from start to finish and put yourself in their shoes. Make sure that the online service you are offering is truly made for seniors and not something you would like if you are not your key audience. If you are unsure, try a focus group and get real opinions.