In 2017, the United Nations published a report which stated that by 2050, the number of people over the age of 60 will grow from 962 million to 2.1 billion. All in all, this group grows quicker than any other, and it happens all around the globe. For this reason, both web and mobile developers today put a great emphasis on UI/UX that takes into account key principles of creating applications for people facing physiological and cognitive changes.
One more challenge for developers derives from the fact that a huge part of senior people today are not comfortable with technology, which means that development patterns that work for younger people can not be applied in relation to their older counterparts. Hopefully, professional UX/UI designers are aware of these differences and take advantage of certain principles that allow them to master interface designs for older adults.
In this article, we will disclose the main a11y (accessibility) rules that apply to users with all kinds of impairments and disabilities, and in our case, to senior citizens facing cognitive and physiological changes.
Designing UI for People with Impaired Senses
The majority of web applications today are designed for young people. Probably it is so because a large part of people working in the tech industry is really young and, sometimes, can forget that older have other needs when they use the developed applications.
For example, people with disabilities can utilize some kind of Assistive Technology (AT) to navigate their computer or mobile device. These could be a screen reader, dictation software, a braille keyboard, some software and devices that increase the size of text and applications on the screen, etc. There are also various combinations of AT used by different people, so it is important to create web applications that would be conveniently designed for everyone. And although such accessibility requirements are often considered as optional, the truth is that there are certain regulations, such as Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the US, that require compliance. In case a company ignores the stated requirements, it will probably face a lawsuit.
So how can we create applications that would take into account the needs of elderly people? Hopefully, there are a11y rules, so, when designing applications, developers can consider them as a benchmark. Now, let’s see how these rules can be applied to make web applications more friendly to senir citizens with visual, hearing, mobility, and cognition disabilities.