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  1. #1
    ********* Articles ArticleBot's Avatar
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    Article Discussion

    This is an article discussion thread for discussing the SitePoint article, "Improve Usability for Older Users"

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru mattymcg's Avatar
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    I thought this was fascinating and a real eye-opener. Nice one Tim!

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard rozner's Avatar
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    Interesting article, I guess we can't say goodbye to 800 x 600 just yet.

  4. #4
    Fry
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    and even though all users agreed that being able to re-size the text on the screen would be a good idea, only one of them knew how to do so through the browser.
    Ahhh so those of us who would rather use px for maximum layout control really have not much to worry (provided we dont go too small) about since users dont seem to know how to resize anyway.

  5. #5
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    Very interesting article - the part about "older participants [failing] to scroll" surprised me the most, though on reflection, I suppose it shouldn't have. It's not a very intuitive thing to do if you're used to turning pages in a book or newspaper. Maybe the IHT has it right on that one, with their paged articles.

    Thanks for providing some good food for thought, Tim.
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  6. #6
    John
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    I am not in the target elderly group, but I am rapidly approaching it. I'm very comfortable with computers. I use Firefox, and the "Stylish" extension. With Stylish, I routinely adjust CSS rules that downsize all the text on a page. Sites that use rules like BODY { font-size: 80%; } or BODY { font-size: 10px; } must be designed by young people whose eyesight is still perfect. Fry, are you listening? Some elders may not know how to configure their browsers, but why ignore the preference of those who do?

  7. #7
    Grr. Arrgh. Mr. B's Avatar
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    I was surprised by the scrolling info as well. This just points to the advantages of simplifying your website.

  8. #8
    Cha, Cha, Cha!!! Gamermk's Avatar
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    This article had a lot of useful things to say and many parts were surprisingly informative. (The scrolling one especially!!) These kinds of short, informative pieces are what I prefer to see. Great work.

  9. #9
    Fry
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    I am not in the target elderly group, but I am rapidly approaching it. I'm very comfortable with computers. I use Firefox, and the "Stylish" extension. With Stylish, I routinely adjust CSS rules that downsize all the text on a page. Sites that use rules like BODY { font-size: 80%; } or BODY { font-size: 10px; } must be designed by young people whose eyesight is still perfect. Fry, are you listening? Some elders may not know how to configure their browsers, but why ignore the preference of those who do?
    Honestly John did I say i use 10px, generally for text i would use 12px, anyway how do you read newspaper print, its quite small, you must wear reading glasses or something, so do the same thing when it comes to browsing the web.

    We Designers can't please everyone!!! Clients want fixed width layouts so for maximum control of the layout we need maximum control over font size. Now if a clients wants a liquid layout then we make our fonts relative. The client is the one paying the bill!

  10. #10
    CSS & JS/DOM Adept bronze trophy
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    True, but as web designers/developers we should inform our clients that there are often benefits for not giving them exactly what they are asking for. Ask them if they like making blind decisions.
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  11. #11
    SitePoint Addict SRTech's Avatar
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    Very interesting article. Should have been featured!

  12. #12
    Jack
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    True, but as web designers/developers we should inform our clients that there are often benefits for not giving them exactly what they are asking for. Ask them if they like making blind decisions.
    1) Some clients want what they want no matter what you say.

    2) Accessibility is not always first priority, it all depends on the target audience, if you're website targets teenagers you cater the design to teenagers not older people, if your website targets the older generation, if you target a range of users than you need a fare comprise for your design.

  13. #13
    John
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    None of the old people I know even use the Internet, let alone cell phones!!!! This article is just pointless.

  14. #14
    CSS & JS/DOM Adept bronze trophy
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    Pointless? If anything here is pointless, it's your reply. I know several 70+ year old people who use the Internet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack
    1) Some clients want what they want no matter what you say.
    Yeah, some people don't care or won't admit that they're wrong. It's your choice to work for people like that. I know it can be tough to turn down jobs for reasons like that though.
    Last edited by Kravvitz; Mar 27, 2006 at 22:47. Reason: typo correction
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  15. #15
    SitePoint Guru LinhGB's Avatar
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    Old people with bad eyesight learnt to use magnifying glasses to read newspapers with small text size (and they all have small text size). Now they need to learn how to increase the text size in a browser. The article is presenting a research result to show us how old people use the WWW. It is not suggesting that we design the WWW to suit their habits. It should be a combination of teaching them how to use it properly and designing it to eliminate or at least lessen the difficulties they have because of their aging bodies, which they can't undo.

    Yeah, some people don't care or won't admit that they're wrong. It's your choice to work people like that. I know it can be tough to turn down jobs for reasons like that though.
    What is that supposed to mean? The client has the ultimate say. You can recommend things, but it's not your place to make the final decision. If you want to do that, make websites for yourself. I don't see old people complain that adult or game websites are not friendly or usable for them. It depends on the market and the target demographic, and your client has the authority on that.
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  16. #16
    Mladen Mihajlovic
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    I think this study is great, but should definitely be done with more people. 16 is just not enough to get a good, wide idea of what is important and what is not.

    Some very interesting points here though.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Enthusiast Cronweb's Avatar
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    To the moron who said this article was pointless...

    Any developer worth his salt will appreciate the information in this article, he may not act upon it immediatley but he will be able to make informed decisions based upon the research gained here.

    It takes time and MONEY to perform research like this, and we are VERY lucky to have access to it for free.

    My advice to you, mr moron - go play with frontpage some more.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    Quote Originally Posted by John
    None of the old people I know even use the Internet, let alone cell phones!!!! This article is just pointless.
    So because you don't know any Silver Surfers, no one else has to consider them either, eh?

    My 89-year-old grandfather surfs the Net. I doubt that he's the only 70+ in the world to do that...
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  19. #19
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    The net has the ability of being all things to all people, therefore it seems reiculouse to alianate so many people.

    It should be noted however that the net is not the only place ignoring the older population... there are several TV chanels specily designed for the under 16's but none that I know of for the over 60's. but I digress!

    Good article.

  20. #20
    SitePoint Guru LinhGB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenBoy2000
    It should be noted however that the net is not the only place ignoring the older population... there are several TV chanels specily designed for the under 16's but none that I know of for the over 60's. but I digress!
    In Australia we have channel 2, ABC, which is specifically designed for people between 60 and 100+ (mostly full of boring country cop shows from the UK ).
    "I disapprove of what I say,
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  21. #21
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    Your article was timely for me in that I was at SXSW a couple weeks ago and one of the panels I attended was "Respecting Your Elder-Bloggers." Though it was based on blogging, a lot of "do this for me" comments were shared by the elders in the room. I myself am not an elder and thus want to ensure that I'm not ignoring an ever growing population.

    One reccuring thought I've had is, "That's how it is today. As our younger, more technically saavy generations age, how do we expect that to alter how we design and develop websites and other technology?"

    Of course, simple design should be a tenet any designer or developer to follow. And there are obvious declines in eyesite and mobility that will remain. But as we all age, perhaps we will in fact be able to push the envelope with older users - though it may be a long while off. Ultimately, I suppose too, it comes down to really knowing your audience.

    Thanks for making me think!

  22. #22
    SitePoint Guru Ize's Avatar
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    Great article! This proves once again the importance of some good old usability testing.

    The fact about older people preferring an 800*600 resolution surprised me the most, although it's quite obvious when you give it some thought. It's a bit worrying though, seeing as most other people nowadays switch to 1024*768 or higher. I was kinda hoping to be only designing big-screen in a couple of years ;)

    Luckily css provides many solutions to this problem.

    To quote elusivone:
    "Thanks for making me think!"

  23. #23
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Thanks man for writing this down. I'm in the middle of redesigning my literature site. And older people do read ! I'll definitely keep in mind what youw rote down.

    M

  24. #24
    NOKIA
    SitePoint Community Guest
    Thanks man for writing this down. I'm in the middle of redesigning my literature site. And older people do read ! I'll definitely keep in mind what you wrote down.

  25. #25
    Old timer
    SitePoint Community Guest
    Today is my 59th birthday, and I am happy to report that I did not suffer a sudden inability to understand complex issues or use a computer interface (even bad ones).
    Having worked in the computer industry for 25 years, I am not frightented by technology. I actually develop interfaces myself (gasp!)

    At some point, we are going to have to stop thinking that "older" people are flabbergasted by what is pretty common technology these days. Personal computers have been around for a long time now, and even the web has been in common use for over a decade.

    Does computer literacy necessarily have to do with age? I know many retired people who use their computers daily for all the same stuff you do. Lots of them have their own websites and blogs.

    Yes, the older user audience will grow in size, but where do they come from? News flash. They used to be younger users, who apparently have no trouble using websites.

    Of course usability is always an issue, but some of the worst sites I've seen are developed by young people who think that its more important to be bleeding edge than to be useablle and accessible. For them, it probably is. Its not that I can't use their mystery meat sites, I just don't want to.





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