cognitive design usability

7 tips for designing for older users

Although the article from webcredible is titled “7 tips for designing for older users“, the strategies are great for plain old usability and accessibility. Here is a summary with some comments.

  1. Make obvious what’s clickable and what’s not. (Please don’t mess with the underlines!)
  2. Use radio buttons rather than dropdown menus. (Unless you have over, say, 8 options.)
  3. Stay in one window.
  4. Implement the shallowest possible information hierarchy. (And forget 3 or 4-level cascading menus; they are also difficult to navigation with our without a mouse.)
  5. Include a site map and link to it from every page. (Also good for SEO.)
  6. Keep your language simple.
  7. Appear trustworthy.
design layout monitor podcast resolution screen

Podcast #38: Screen Resolution

Dennis and Ross discuss many considerations and techniques concerning screen and browser resolution when designing an accessible web site including:

  • Fixed vs. 1024 x 768 vs 800 x 600
  • Using Javascript with layout design
  • Recent screen resolution stats of users
  • Min/max-width and IE support
  • Considering content/audience

Download Web Axe Episode 38 (Screen Resolution)

Other links:

code color design layout navigation podcast text

Podcast #34: Design Considerations for Accessibility

Considerations for designing an accessible web site, including discussion on web site conventions, navigation, color, text, and layout.

Download Web Axe Episode 34 (Design Considerations for Accessibility)

[Transcript for Web Axe 34]

Stick to Conventions

  • Search upper right
  • Global navigation across top
  • Sub navigation on sides
  • Icons

Navigation Considerations

  • Skip navigation
  • Indicate visited pages, current page
  • Use breadcrumbs where possible

Color Considerations

  • Ensure enough color contrast
  • Light on dark, or dark on light?
  • If you change the color of an anchor state, change them all
  • Never use color to convey information

Layout Considerations

  • If you have a low vision/large text style sheet, convert layout to one column
  • Pay attention to if it is obvious you can scroll downward or not
  • If Article is broken up between several pages, provide a link to a single page with the whole article for easy printing
  • Try and design for 760px minimum width

Text Considerations

  • Sans-serif fonts are generally easier to read on a screen
    • Print serif fonts are, but light reflects off of paper where screen illuminates light
  • Text Sizing
    • Ensure font can be enlarged with out breaking the design
    • Headers should be larger than regular text (to indicate more importance)
    • Fonts should be decent size, not everyone knows how to resize text

Other Considerations

  • Limit the use of Flash
  • Print Style Sheets
  • Graphical buttons should be text with graphical backgrounds (for sizing without pixelation)
  • Include an access guide, or site help
  • No flickering
  • Audio–plan for text-only version and links
  • Video–plan for real-time captioning