Older People Digital Design Guidelines / Heuristics
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'File > Make a copy...' or 'File > Download as...' if you want to use for your own worke.g., Website URL / App Name and Evaluator and Date
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IDGuidelineResultSeverityFix EffortExampleNotes, Recommendations
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1Visual systems
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Factor for decline in vision and visual systems
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1.1Maximise legibility of essential text:
Use large and plain fonts, mixed case, plain backgrounds, make content easy to scan.
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1.2Simplify: remove unnecessary visual elements:
Present few calls to action, keep graphics relevant, don't distract, minimise clutter.
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1.3Visual language: create an effective graphical language and use it consistently:
— Maintain visual consistency;
— Make controls prominent;
— Indicate strongly, not subtly;
— Change link visual style on :focus and :hover;
— Mark :visited links (or not);
— Label elements, content, redundantly.
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1.4Use colour judiciously:
— Use colour sparingly;
— Mix colours carefully;
— Use distinguishable link colours;
— Opt for higher contrast;
— Combine colour with other indicators.
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1.5Position important content where users will start looking:
— Consistent layout;
— place important information front and centre.
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1.6Group related content semantically and visually.
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1.7Skeptical scrolling:
— Minimise vertical scrolling;
— Avoid horizontal scrolling.
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2Motor Control
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Help older people manipulate, interact and operate systems as coordination declines
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2.1Make target areas sufficiently large:
Desktop/Laptop: Big target, maximise clickable area, clear spaces between targets.
Touch-screen:
Big swipe targets (at bottom (or right), place targets near hands.
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2.2Keep input gestures simple:
— Avoid double click, drag and drop;
— Leave menus open;
— Avoid multi-level menus (care needed).
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2.3
Make it obvious when a target has been selected:
— Make feedback obvious and near instant (instant).
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2.4Minimise the need to use the keyboard:
Gesture input preferred;
Structure user input.
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2.5Avoid time-outs.
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2.6Avoid physical strain, effort:
— Keep user's body position neutral;
— Minimise repetition;
— Optimise (mobile) controls in areas near (dominant) hands and fingers;
— Minimise movement.
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3Hearing and Speech
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Decline in hearing is the second most common age-related malady
Aging affects people's ability to use speech, a process accelerated by stroke and Alzheimer's
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3.1Ensure that output is audible:
Avoid high-frequency sounds;
Ensure that sounds are loud enough;
Make auditory signals long.
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3.2Minimise background noise:
Avoid distracting sounds.
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3.3Allow users to adjust device output:
Make volume adjustable;
Let users replay audio;
Make play speed adjustable;
Let user select lart sounds;
Provide alternate voices.
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3.4Make speech output as normal as possible:
Not too fast;
Avoid robot speech.
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4Cognition
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Aging degrades memory, attention, learning and reasoning
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4.1Use strong words to label page elements:
Use verbs.
Make labels semantically distinctive.
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4.2Use writing style that is concise, plain and direct:
Be brief;
Keep sentences simple;
Get to the point quickly;
Make language active, positive and direct;
Be explicit.
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4.3Don't rush users; allow them plenty of time:
Don't make messages time-out;
Let users take their time;
Make playback speed adjustable.
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4.4Keep layout, navigation and interactive elements consistent across pages and UI:
Consistent layout;
Consistent controls;
Consistent labelling and ordering Consistency across related sites and apps.
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4.5Design to support learning and retention:
Show gestures;
Repetition is good;
Tell users what to bring to task;
Let users reuse previous paths or choices.
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4.6Help users with input:
Show what's valid;
Preformat input fields;
Be tolerant;
Show what's required;
Provide reminders.
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4.7Provide onscreen help:
Provide easy access to help;
Provide context sensitive help;
Provide help desk chat.
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4.8Arrange information consistent with its importance:
Prioritise information;
Use tables when appropriate.
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5Knowledge
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Older people may have different mental models about how things work and what is possible in a system
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5.1Organise content to match user's' knowledge and understanding:
Group, order, and label content in ways that are meaningful to users.
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5.2Use vocabulary familiar to your users/;
Avoid technical jargon;
Spell words out.
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5.3Don't assume that the user has the correct mental model:
Design a clear and simple conceptual model;
match user's mental model of navigation space.
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5.4Help users predict what buttons do and where links go:
Make labels descriptive.
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5.5Minimise the negative impact on users of new versions:
Avoid needless change;
Change gradually;
Guide users from old to new.
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5.6Label interactive elements clearly:
Label with text;
Use easy-to-recognize icons.
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6Search
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Older users may exhibit age related differences when searching for information, including scanning/parsing, query formulation and success
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6.1Help users construct successful search queries:
Put the search box in the upper-right;
Show search terms in large typefaces;
Make the search box long;
Make the search box "smart";
Anticipate likely searches.
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6.2Design search results to be friendly to users:
Mark paid results;
Show search terms;
Mark already visited results.
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7Attitude
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Factor for differences in attitudes and feelings about technology in older users
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7.1Be flexible in how users can enter, save and view data.
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7.2Earn users trust:
Ask only what is necessary
AMark ads clearly
Don't make users log-in
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7.3Don't assume that the user has the correct mental model:
Design a clear and simple conceptual model.
match user's mental model of navigation space.
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7.4Make the design appeal to all audiences, including older adults:
Understand older adults values;
Don't talk down to older adults;
Don't assume users are young / younger adults;
Don't blame users;
Don't be scart;
Don't rush users;
Don't skip steps.
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7.5Minimise the negative impact on users of new versions:
Avoid needless change;
Change gradually;
Guide users from old to new.
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7.6Provide ready access to information that users might need:
Easy way to contact you;
Provide a telephone alternative;
Show summary.
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