Internet Usage of Baby Boomers
The American baby boomer was born between 1946 and 1964. The typical internet use of those 50 and up is 90% but typically decreases by half that are over 65. Smart phone use has a similar impact at 34% of baby boomers operate on these mobile devices but fall to 11% after the age of 65.
From 2004 to 2009, internet usage by seniors had increased more than 55%. From April 2009 to May 2010, social networking use seniors 65 and up grew 100%.
More than half of adults over the age of 65 are online with 70% of them accessing the internet daily. This is cut in half after the age of 75 with only 34% of adults accessing the internet and 21% even having broadband capabilities in their home. The average senior citizen that actively accesses the internet spends approximately 58 hours a month or two hours a day on the internet.
What They Access
Of those that access the internet regularly, more than half of seniors spend their time reading or sending emails. A fifth of them access banking with a third reading the news. Only 13% traffic social networking sites with 3% on twitter and 5% roaming the classifieds.
The majority that access email, more than half exchange messages on a typical day. In the US, 10.6% or 16 million Facebook users are 55+. This amount is higher than the combined population of the three most populous US cities. In 2010, over a quarter of seniors accessed a social networking site and 34% of them use sites such as Facebook and Twitter. 18% of this group accesses their social media every day.
Age and Usability
As seniors age each year, so does the amount of time it takes to complete tasks. Seniors are 74% slower in navigating these sites than 25-60 year olds. This is due to their cognitive resources eroding, loss of visual acuity, and decreased dexterity and reaction times.
As they age to 60, even more so after 70, the cognitive, perceptual, and motor skill decline in individuals. These individuals require more time for the same mental operations with less memory capacity, and longer time process the same perceptual input.
Make Designs Senior Friendly
In order to make your site senior friendly, follow these five easy tips to increase your task success among seniors.
1. Font Size: Make your font size 12 points or greater as a default.
2. Link Colors: Use standard colors such as purple and blue to distinguish between visited and unvisited sites.
3. Interface: Avoid interface elements that move.
4. Forms and Search: Search queries and forms should not punish special characters.
5. Error Messages: Error messages should be simple and contain instructions for an easy fix.