Melody Kramer

How Betty, Who is 89, Gets Her News

03 Feb 2015 by melodyjoykramer

Today I walked to my friend Betty’s apartment to drop off some spaghetti and meatballs. Betty is 89 and lives just up the street. She doesn’t drive much anymore, though she still volunteers (at the White House, of all places.)

After we drank tea, I watched Betty read articles on her iPad. Her Internet was really slow. She kept accidentally clicking on the ads, or on parts of the story that she didn’t mean to click on. And she was getting a bit frustrated and worried — that by clicking on something, she was going to install malware or not be able to return to her story.

There are 13 million people between the ages of 75 and 84 in the US. There are 5 million between the ages of 85 and 94. (census) That population will grow. At some point, it will be composed of digital natives but that’s a while away. In the interim, are there better ways to design websites for this population? Are there better ways to design the news for them? Of course.

Here’s what I’m picturing:

  1. a site with simple resizable text + photos with links clearly differentiated in some way (maybe links are at the bottom or in a clearly delineated box)
  2. or a site with text and photos and no links
  3. no pop-ups, no overlaid ads, no bait-and-switch links
  4. easy and big scroll buttons
  5. maybe two-steps needed to leave the page
  6. Browser extensions or a dedicated browser serving this UI style

Have you seen something that would be well-designed for Betty? What would you make?   #newsforbetty


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