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Jeff Johnson <[log in to unmask]>
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Jeff Johnson <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 28 Nov 2012 10:21:25 -0800
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CHI-Web Colleagues,

My colleague Kate Finn and I, who a year ago co-founded Wiser Usability, Inc ( to focus on Web accessibility and usability for seniors, would like the CHI-Web community's input on three questions.  I will collect the replies and post a summary, so please reply off-list.

1. Do you know of websites that specifically target older adults?  We mean besides the obvious ones:,, etc.  We've found that a segment of the travel industry targets seniors (e.g.,,,, but would like to know if there are other industry segments that do the same.

2. Web use by seniors raises issues falling squarely in the domain of "Web usability" and issues falling squarely in the domain of "Web accessibility", but also include many issues that are in a gray area between the two (no pun intended).  We are familiar with the Web usability and Web accessibility literatures, but would like to know what published literature exists in that gray area, or at least what ideas have been put forth about it.  We are familiar with the W3C's WAI-AGE project (

3. In a recent study we conducted of seniors (age 60+) using websites, we often saw a problem that we had not seen so frequently in Website usability tests with younger participants:  a lack of understanding of the scope of settings or of displayed information.  For example, after searching a travel website for trips to Eastern Europe, an older user might assume all subsequent info and links on the screen to be about trips to Eastern Europe, even permanent navigation links that are on every page of the site.  After the user sets a price facet-menu on the Advanced Search page to their desired price, they might, instead of clicking on the Advance Search page's GO button, click on the site's main-navbar entry for Eastern Europe and expect it to show trips in their indicated price-range.   Or after searching for flights and finding some, the user displays and reads an explanation of prices, but afterwards instead of closing the pricing info, the user clicks Find Flight and ends up starting over, with all prior search results lost.  Amount of Web experience is no doubt a factor in these problems, but they also seem related to focus of attention.  We wonder if others have seen similar issues or published writings about them, especially pertaining to older Web users.

BTW: I am 60, so my interest in this topic is not purely academic.

Jeff Johnson, Ph.D.
Wiser Usability, Inc.
UI Wizards, Inc.

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