Every aspect of the global pandemic and the consequences were something unprecedented in the modern world. Our lifestyles and mindsets have been altered in the core, and even our virtual reality habits have changed. Companies all over the world have suffered losses, but there was a hidden message in the situation. Living in the digital era allows us to connect even when we are isolated, but not only in terms of entertainment and work. E-commerce is on the rise, and there are various implications that this trend of online shopping, as well as other digital services, is here to permanently stay.
These unfortunate times did have an impact on everyone, but they have also created a gap between different age groups. The restriction of movement meant spending more online time in general, but due to the larger possibility of complications from COVID-19, seniors all over the world were under quarantine for weeks or even months. Finding relevant information and relying on technology for basic needs such as delivery of groceries or hygiene products was equally important for everyone. Numerous businesses have just introduced website shopping or delivery options because of the situation.
But it is crucial to consider the fact there is a distinct line of division between digital natives and digital immigrants, and various levels of acceptance and understanding of technology among the latter group. The importance of easy navigation and clear instructions for the use of websites has never been more obvious. Companies have been trying to follow the latest trends for a while now when it comes to web design, but we’ve now learned that functionality comes first. Groups including seniors, people with various disabilities, and impairments need to be fully engaged as well.
What can be an obstacle?
Website designers are behaving in accordance with modern times, often disregarding the fact not everyone has the same level of knowledge as themselves. The latest trends are making the designs more interactive, dynamic, and therefore full of barriers in terms of easy accessibility. We are not suggesting to go back to basic designs and formats, but rather to include some options for different demographic groups. Seniors make up a considerable group in Australia, in terms of the percentage being over 15 according to data from 2017. If you add people with impairments from the younger population, it is clear you need to optimize your website.
Some of the heavy impact barriers would include perception of color and text on the website, for people with vision impairment. Color blindness should also be considered while choosing the palette, and low vision problems such as floaters, cataracts, and many others when choosing fonts. When it comes to multimedia content including audio, we need to think about a portion of population and website visitors to acknowledge people with hearing disabilities. Providing captions on video and audio files is a must! If you are worried that it can be annoying for some, there is always an option to turn them off. Most of these issues and upgrades would fall into the category of technical optimization, and if you are close in the area, find a Sydney SEO company to consult with experts.
Every other highly interactive feature, including call-to-actions, should have an option to pause it. Some people will need more time to read the content, and dynamic structures will be most distracting. Make your website easy to navigate with keyboard only, as a lot of people are struggling with the use of a mouse due to various muscular problems or high levels of tremor. For them, even that one needed click in order to purchase something can be extremely painful. Professional guidelines will reduce the time spent on the upgrades, and ease the process, making sure you didn’t forget to include anything important.
What are the benefits?
Having all the abovementioned in mind, improving your company’s website will have several consequences. First of all, you will definitely see the increase in traffic, as you are basically enabling a pleasant and user-friendly experience for wider audiences. Providing options will humanize your brand, therefore increasing customer loyalty levels. This can be seen as an amazing opportunity to grow and expand your operation and combined with a good marketing strategy the results will be seen in your revenue. We understand it may seem unusual, but consult with senior members of your family first, and record the feedback.
If an option, you could organize focus group meetings, including people with various impairments to conduct a survey about the accessibility of your website. It is important to understand that social distancing has left some mental health issues and there is a notion of fear everywhere. For this reason, a large portion of the world population will continue with the online sphere for many aspects of life that they previously haven’t. Adapting your approach in accordance with your potential clients’ needs and expectations is the core of any successful business.
Above all, make your website sections easy to navigate through without much scrolling. There should be a sections or menu box on every page. Having to scroll a lot or go back several times the get the menu again can be really frustrating. Provide enough space between text and anything else on the page, and it is highly recommended to have a font size option. Don’t get too creative in terms of fonts, but rather settle on easily readable ones such as Helvetica or Arial. People are used to seeing those. Furthermore, in terms of text, avoid using too many acronyms and symbols, as it may look confusing.
Whenever you have a link to another landing page, make sure it is distinctively different from the rest of the text. Bold and underline is the best way to mark links. Create consistency throughout the whole website, so everyone understands what to expect and how to respond to interactive parts. Provide a pause button for any dynamic part such as types of animated content. Try not to have any confusing or redundant segments in general.
The main point of the development of technology was to connect the whole world and make our lives easier. By complicating the approach and avoiding to think of certain demographic groups, we are creating segregation and missing the point. Even if your target group audience doesn’t include seniors for example, there will still be people with disabilities we must include if we want to live in a modern and democratic society of the 21st century. You should follow these guidelines and adapt your website’s accessibility as soon as possible, and if an option, have an expert involved in the process.