Boomers, Seniors & the Internet

By Barbara Risto, INSPIRED Senior Living Publisher


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When developing a marketing plan, seniors and boomers are two target demographics marketers should not ignore. While print is still one of the most effective ways to reach these two groups with your marketing message, the internet is being increasingly used for researching products and services offered by businesses, as well as the latest information on health, finance and numerous other topics of interest.  

With the emergence of smartphones and tablets, seniors are using these devices to stay in touch with their family and friends via email, Facebook and other social forums. Some seniors are quite tech-savvy.

If you are wondering the extent to which boomers and seniors use the Internet, here's some 2012 US statistics, followed by some senior-friendly web design tips.

BOOMER & SENIOR INTERNET USAGE STATISTICS

  • 90% of people 50-65 use the Internet
  • 50% of people 65+ use the Internet
  • From 2004-2009, senior internet usage increased by 55%
  • Within 13 months (April 2009 - May 2010) social networking among seniors grew 100% (from 13% to 26%)
  • More than half of seniors are online. Of those, 70% say they go online every day.
  • The average time a senior spends online in a month is 58 hours, an average of almost 2 hours per day.
  • 89% send/read email. 55% send/read email every day.
  • 34% view the news
  • 19% do banking
  • 13% are social networking
  • 5% read online classifieds
  • 3% use Twitter


BUILDING A WEBSITE THAT IS SENIOR FRIENDLY

Seniors are 74% slower at navigating websites than 25-60 year olds. This is due to an erosion of cognitive resources, loss of visual acuity, degraded reaction times and reduced dexterity. The great thing is that if you make your website senior friendly, it will be easier to use for everyone. Trying to be sophisticated, creative or cute, may put additional barriers in the way of the user. Frustrated, they may leave your site before they find the information you are wanting to convey. Remember the old adage - Less can be more.

  • Use 12-point or greater
  • Avoid moving interface elements
  • Break information into short sections.
  • Keep paragraphs and sentences short. Paragraphs should express one main idea. Sentences should be simple and straightforward.
  • Give instructions clearly and number each step.
  • Minimize the use of jargon and technical terms.
  • Use single mouse clicks.
  • Allow additional space around clickable targets.
  • Make it easy for users to enlarge text.
  • Use high-contrast color combinations, such as black type against a white background.
  • Minimize scrolling.
  • Limit the number of points you make. Stick to one to five messages in each section. 
  • Put the key message first.
  • Write in the active voice.

If you would like more information on how to combine a print campaign with online marketing, give us a call. We will be happy to discuss how you can market your product or service in Senior Living magazine and explain all the marketing options available on our website.  Call 1-877-479-4705 or email sales@seniorlivingmag.com

 

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