Easy to read news.. #NewsForBetty #Accessibility

MT Miles Thompson Public Seen by 152


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:

  • 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)

  • or a site with text and photos and no links

  • no pop-ups, no overlaid ads, no bait-and-switch links

  • easy and big scroll buttons

  • maybe two-steps needed to leave the page

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



Wondered if anyone else has thoughts on this?


Rosalea Barker Sat 14 Mar 2015 5:45AM

This is a bigger problem than just one site. To some extent, it can be solved by apps, but developers always have to update them and make different versions to suit different operating systems. What's needed is an Internet protocol that I like to call Web Lite.

Webpage creators would then only need to embed a small instruction in the page's metadata that would tell the page to format in a particular way, ignoring all the clutter, and Bob's your uncle.


Rosalea Barker Sat 14 Mar 2015 5:53AM

Maybe Web Lite could even be delivered Over The Air the way Teletext was to analog TV sets.

That would leave broadband bandwidth to the data hogs. Kinda like the difference between a country lane and a freeway. :)


pilotfever Fri 20 Mar 2015 10:35AM

Google cardboard plus and eye tracking natural user interface and "think to click". Give my company RealWorld - "Reality Virtualised for the Real You" Limited $20 million and I'll build it alongside a lot of other cool stuff that uses this technology. FOVE ripped of a few of the ideas wholesale. That can be built for 500k. Information on my favourites at my twitter (@abbottmaverick).