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If You Can Read This, You’re Too Young

I don’t know if this is just a coincidence or the way things are headed, but I just read that “People Aged 55 and Up Drive U.S. Web Growth“. This is very interesting to note since I just read in another publication about how baby boomers, come 2025, are going to rule the shopping experience.

The other publication I am reading is a fantastic book called “Why We Buy – The Science of Shopping“, by Paco Underhill. Paco, who has spent literally hundreds of hours watching and video taping our buying habits and rituals, says instead of spending millions on marketing to get people into the store, concentrate on the consumers already in the store. It’s a fascinating look on how we shop as a society. Mike Swartz says, “Check it out.”

In an important chapter, “If You Can Read This You’re Too Young” (relating to this blog post), Paco talks about the very small print on product labels and how companies are losing money because senior citizens are unable to read the small print – so they don’t buy, or worse, leave the store.

Type Design on Web Sites

It is very similar in the web world. If most people, age 55 are driving web growth, us web developers have to recognize this important statistic now. Recognize what? That when your 55, your eye sight is not what it used to be.

With age (usually starting after age 40), three main events take place with your vision:

  1. You can’t focus on small type – Your lens gets rigid and the muscles weaken.
  2. The cornea yellows, which changes how you perceive color.
  3. Less light reaches your retina so images appear darker.

Knowing these three facts is critical to your web audience.

  1. Make sure your site can be viewed by all – Provide the ability to increase the type size on your website. Don’t restrict your visitors to just one type size.
  2. Present a heightened contrast – Black text on a white background for instance.
  3. Don’t get too fancy with color. Some of your visitors may blend colors together, forming one big unrecognizable image.

Baby boomers will be (if not already) an integral part in the online world. Don’t leave them out or any other visitors for that matter.

‘til next time.

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