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Chapter 5. The Web User, Part 2: Older Adults > Web Design Features to Avoid

Web Design Features to Avoid

There are more than 21 million Web sites on the World Wide Web (Netcraft, 2000). Unfortunately, many of these sites were not developed with the user in mind, regardless of whether the user is young or old. Web usability problems for existing sites are so prevalent that the design errors are pointed to as illustrations of what not to do when designing a Web site (Flanders and Willis, 1998).

A similar approach to learning from design errors is taken by Mead, et al., (2002) with a focus on older users. They reviewed sites that provide health information, presumably targeted to adults of all ages. Figure 5.2 represents an amalgamation of the design issues they found that would make such sites difficult for an older adult user. Their mock site was designed to illustrate interface elements commonly found on Web sites that should be accessible to older adults but that may pose problems for older users. Many existing Web sites have characteristics that would make them virtually unusable by average older adults and many younger adults as well.


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