Design Guidelines for Users of All Ages
Click to download (90 KB PDF)

AgeLight has published this white paper to help insure user interfaces and web sites are designed for maximum usability for active adults, seniors and other users who are new to the Internet.  These guidelines are based on focus group and primary end-user research and feedback we have completed over the past 4-years.  

The importance of  human factors is growing with the increase of longevity, respective natural physiological aspects of aging, and the integration of the Internet into our society, workplace and daily lives. 

There is no greater example of the importance of usability design, engineering and testing then our nation experienced with the 2000 US Presidential election and the famous "butterfly" ballot used in Florida.  Ironically, essentially no testing or usability studies were completed in an election where nearly $1 billion was spent among the candidates to get elected!

While not being the end-all solution, this paper is intended to raise awareness of design parameters and usability considerations for the increasingly varied demographics, life-stages and lifestyles of computer and internet users. 

The first step to designing for different age segments and demographics is to understand generational perspectives and the dynamics specifically for seniors and the baby boomer generations.  Ask yourself how will they use your product or web site, what device(s) they use, how will they be connected, and in what environment will they be using it (work, home and / or travel). 

We encourage you to consider these needs not only for adults, but also for our “Future Selves” and the fast approaching needs of the aging “baby boomers”. We must not forget that for many the Internet is a new experience.  We must not champion innovative design elements over clarity.  Individuals who are new to technology haven’t had the benefit of witnessing the evolution of site design and interactive media.  They are more likely to be frustrated than impressed.

Click to download a copy of the paper, (PDF 90 KB).  See related papers and presentations.

Special thanks to Microsoft Corporation, US Administration on Aging & the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging for their input. Send us your feedback to

Revised: May 27, 2005