In the world of web design it seems like it’s often the brightest, flashiest and most visually complex sites that win attention.
While there is no doubt that these creative websites certainly deserve their time in the spotlight, they are not meant for everyone. Which brings up the question – what do you do when your target audience isn’t the tech savvy, computer literate 20–something?
The great thing about the Internet is that it is a powerful resource for anyone, young or old. And if your business caters to a much older or much younger generation, there’s no reason why your website shouldn’t do that, too!
Senior citizens are slowly becoming more comfortable using the Internet. Older Baby Boomers may have resisted new technology toward the end of their careers but studies show they are now finding time to learn in retirement. Between 2004 and 2010, active Internet users age 65 and older increased by more than six million. Seniors are eager to learn and stay active, which is why the Internet is so appealing.
Today’s children and young adults (Millennials) have grown up with new technology and 50 years down the road will be a much more competent generation of senior Internet users. Right now though, it’s crucial for companies targeting seniors to make sure their sites are accessible to all.
Here are a few simple ways to translate web design for an older generation:
Giving users the option to change their font size is also a common practice these days. Most browsers allow for the capability, but giving users the option right on the page is more likely to keep them on the page longer.
Most importantly, not everything needs to be written in 72 point bold font, but keeping pages clean and maintaining a basic and logical sense of navigation is a must. Don’t forget to mention to your favorite web designers at IntelliSites if you have a specific age target in mind for your next project!Filed under: Experiencing the Web, Usability, Web Design
For the non-computer geeky, the first thing that comes to mind when you hear that word might be what goes down on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras festivities. Or perhaps you think of that superhero guy. Or maybe you picture one of those crazy, fun flash mobs.
But for us web designers, we have to admit that Adobe Flash Player usually pops into our heads first.
Even if Flash Player isn’t really on your radar, chances are pretty good that it’s a major part of your internet experience. Many of the videos you view on your fave webpages only show up on your computer screen thanks to what Flash does behind the scenes.
But Apple has challenged the world to see what the internet would be like without Flash. Apple’s popular iPhone and iPad devices do not support Flash, so videos that require its help to be viewed just flat out don’t work on these devices.
Instead, the most recent version of Safari, the browser that these devices use, has HTML5 capabilities. Since one of the features of HTML5 is video streaming, websites with videos that were designed with HTML5 in mind will display nicely on these devices.
But what about all those websites out there that still require Flash?
A Little DeFlashifying
Adobe doesn’t want all those websites that rely on their program to flounder on Apple devices, so they’ve come up with a solution. This article from Mashable explains that Wallaby is a Flash-to-HTML conversion tool that will help designers change Flash files into HTML5. By using Wallaby, web designers don’t have to go through a big ordeal to make their sites show up on iPads and the like.
Very cool…but what does that mean for Flash down the road? If the solution to Apple’s rejection of Flash is to convert Flash files to HTML5…then does that mean Flash is on its way out?
It’s tough to tell. After all, even though Apple devices aren’t playing nice with Flash, other smartphones and tablets are. In fact, according to this article from electronista.com, Adobe predicts that over half of smartphones will use Flash by 2012. And Adobe Flash Player still does its thing quite well on regular computers. So maybe Flash will still be useful down the road, even as the world wide web embraces HTML5.
For now, next time you use your computer to enjoy a three-minute procrastination break courtesy of a flash mob dancing its way across YouTube, thank FlashPlayer.Filed under: Experiencing the Web, Web Design
I caught an article the other day that reported that the smartphone market is likely to grow by about 50% in 2011.
That means that at any given time A) about 50% more people will probably have their eyes transfixed on a mini screen instead of interacting with the actual people they’re hanging out with and B) about 50% more people will have access to your website 24:7.
Have you spring-cleaned your website for all the new visitors? No? Well, now’s the time for it. Visit your website from a smartphone and…
Hmm. Looks like this spring cleanout could lead to a lot of one-on-one time with your web designer.
Good thing you picked a pretty cool one.
And if you haven’t picked a favorite yet, then contact the IntelliSites Albany Web Design team.Filed under: Experiencing the Web, Maintaining Your Site, Web Design
The world wide web is for everyone.
But think about how challenging the internet experience might be for people with disabilities.
People who see, hear, understand, focus, or read differently than others can have a tough time navigating through a website that was not designed with all people in mind. But the Web Accessibility Initiative website gives examples of specific disabilities and some easy ways you can enhance your site to level the playing field for people with these challenges.
For instance, the WAI site points out that many websites present obstacles for individuals with colorblindness. The site suggests labeling color pictures with words, particularly on e-commerce sites that may be selling the same item in, for example, red, blue, green, and gray. It also mentions that text designed to indicate something special is often a different color on a site (e.g. clearance items in red text), but using underlining or bold text would be more helpful for a person with colorblindness.
The key is to provide options that will allow different users to access your site in the way that works best for them. If you have videos on your site, for instance, you may want to think about making it easy for a user with a visual impairment to view them at a larger size. You may also consider providing a closed captioning option for the hearing impaired. And it might be a good idea to make the videos easy to turn off in the event that they distract a user with ADHD who is trying to read nearby text. You’ll find that providing these types of options on your site can also benefit clients who do not have disabilities, allowing them to make choices about how to use elements of your site and making it easier for them to use.
A lot of factors go into the design of a website, but if reaching the largest possible audience is one of your priorities, make sure to tell your web designer that you’re interested in making your site accessible to people with disabilities. After all, a store with a ramp is more likely to get the business of a person who uses a wheelchair, and a website with accommodations for individuals with disabilities can make it clear to your customers that everybody’s welcome at your site.Filed under: Usability, Web Design
Website design is an art not to be overlooked. The design encourages visitors to explore the website and can assist in making it “user friendly.” The design can also help increase the conversion rates of calls to action (CTAs). Your CTA is more than just the words that comprise it. Its success is also based on how easily it is found in your website design.
When creating your website design, be mindful of the content that will be on the page. Consider how a person will read the content, and place the CTA in a place the eye naturally travels to. Typically, this is the right hand margin of your webpage. Design a special section for the CTA to increase click-through rates.
Separate your CTA from the rest of the copy by using different font styles and colors. Create a clickable link that is bolder than the rest of the font. Of course, make it fit with the general aesthetic of your site, but don’t make it difficult for your reader to find.
Don’t wait until the end of the page to highlight your CTA. Place it throughout the copy, and make sure your reader doesn’t have to scroll down endlessly in order to identify it.
As a final tip, use an image-based link instead of a text-based link. It will increase the “clickable” area the link has and will help the CTA stand out from the rest of the design and content.
Design and content are simultaneous processes that should coordinate to help boost CTA visibility. By knowing what language and how much space is provided on your website, your CTA will have the best chance for being found and followed.Filed under: Web Design