I know there are some basic things like emphasizing accessibility and using high contrast in my designs, but what other things should I keep in mind?
Some things I can think of based on experience:
They don't know what the hamburger menu is, without putting the word 'Menu' next to it
They don't know what most basic modern UI icons mean
They will click on everything and keep clicking even if it doesn't work (for example, if you have an image of a product with a button on top and you only make the button clickable, they'll keep clicking on the image). Most of them will also click on headings to make things 'happen', also don't forget to add title tags and proper descriptions.
They always manage to break things by using an outdated browser or a ruined IE with MonkeySearch/ChinaVideoXL/RussiaSuperSearch Toolbars
The fold is pretty much alive for them, they don't scroll as much and as freely as younger people do.
They're not good at figuring out the important content and things you add to make the page more interesting (for example related products or an image showing a product or service in an abstract way. Say you're doing something with finance and there's a bunch of office buildings used as an illustration, why are buildings there? Is that your building? Is this for corporations only? I once got the question what the 'Chimp' had to do with 'Mail')
They're not aware when something goes 'wrong'. In other words, when they hit a dead end they will keep staring at a blank screen or try the same link of over and over again to get a result
They find filling in most online forms very complicated, especially when the validation is strict. (for example, correct formatting of zip-codes or password rules)
They are more likely to wait for things before they continue. For example, If you have a looping video in the header they will watch that first before they move on to the rest of the content (if they don't notice the looping right away, they'll watch it a few times because it doesn't stop). They will also read much more copy, including the convoluted SEO nonsense you added.
The concept of apps/devices working together is alien to them. A website is a website and an e-mail is an e-mail. Mixing and matching different mediums and actions that control or require website/app functions etc. at the same time will leave them confused.
Finally, they seem to think that the PC is 'smart'. Why am I seeing Africa in the country selection, doesn't this machine know I live in the US?
How do you know my dad?
DEFINITELY don't try to sell them avocado toast.
Damn, I need to rethink my entire product strategy.
Get it in front of some people that fit your target audience and ask them. As early and as often as possible.
Thats a great point. My grandparents are across the globe. Whats the best way to approach senior care centers about this?
they hate navigating internet
"drag and drop is sexy, can we include it somehow?" asked a baby boomer. So you should probably put some thought into how you can include it too lol
First gather some data about the potential user base.
I'm going to assume you may be doing a lot of IE9+ support
tip: i'd use bootstrap and jquery if you can. avoid flexbox.
System text size is probably set to 3x the default size for poor eyesight. Make sure your navigation, buttons, and other UI elements account for ridiculous text sizes.
I'm not entirely sure why you'd consider it a different experience for baby boomers... can you elaborate on your thought process a bit more? Seems to me you should just go for the best UX regardless of who is shopping when it comes to ecom.
I'm not OP but I'd assume he just means there is a little less flexibility to try new things out because his target audience aren't as tech savy as younger generations.
Obviously the goal is to make things usable for everyone but perhaps narrowing your focus on the specific demographic will help uncover design standards you should conform to.
Along with Thomas' point, as 20-somethings, we assumer that tech is as intuitive to everyone as it is to us. That's not the case. Even things like hamburger menu icons don't have a "meaning" to people outside of our age range and culture.
Thanks. I agree. I think just going for the best standard UX practices will get you pretty far. If the UX is good, it will work for everyone.
The best UX isn't something that is universal across all audiences. The best UX has to consider the specific audience it's trying to serve, understand their needs and constraints, and design for those. In other words, we can't get to a best UX in a given situation without considering the who.
Good point! I think I was oversimplifying.
I have to wonder though what is really meant by designing for "baby boomers." Does that just mean seniors? People age 53 to 71? Or people who aren't good at browsing the Internet? Bad eyesight? Could be a combination but it's hard to generalize, which is why I think it makes more sense to pull back.
Age is the strongest factor going from that label, for sure, so the accessibility stuff is at the top of the list. You could also look at some broad sentiments about online shopping (trust issues, etc) and see if you need to emphasize transaction security, how returns work, etc. One thing that having a solid demographic does is help you interview audience representatives, as others have pointed out. Knowing their online shopping attitudes and experiences, as well as what they want to know about this specific product, will uncover many clues, some specific to the age group.
Dang, this comment is a goldmine, Todd!