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How digital inclusion can help in giving independence to the elderly

Written by Cheryl Swan on

There are almost 700 million people worldwide who are now over the age of 60. Though many are confident in using digital technology, there may be others that need a helping hand in accessing the vital information and services that the internet can offer. 

How digital accessibility is linked with wellbeing

an older man sat with his hands behind his head, wearing headphones, and enjoying watching something on his laptop

Digital inclusion helps people to:

  • Make social connections
  • Access online services, such as contacting a GP surgery
  • Keep up-to-date with news or local events 
  • Stream their favourite source of entertainment.

Imagine if these facilities and communication means were taken away from you. Digital inclusion can be the difference between someone maintaining their independence or not. In turn, digital inclusion is key in helping to improve a person’s mental health and wellbeing. 

How you can assist older people with accessibility features and online knowledge

Down the line we may all need slight alterations on websites or to devices that can help us to access online platforms. 

a young lady sat with an elderly male, at a dining room table showing him how to use his mobile phone and laptop

Have you ever seen your grandparent, an elderly friend, family member, or colleague, struggling to read the text on a website? If you see them squinting at a screen or removing their glasses to be able to read the web content, then the way the website is functioning is either not accommodating their needs or they may not know what assistance is available for them online.

This could be requiring:

an orange hexagon with the accessibility symbol inside
  • Enlarged font or icons.
  • Clear colour contrasts or the use of ‘dark mode’.
  • Keyboard navigation. 
  • Access to video subtitles.
  • Enhanced audio settings.
  • The use of voice interaction.
  • Read allow facilities.

Digital inclusion is also about providing confidence as well as gaining access to a website. If you know someone who is elderly, check in with them and see if they:

a speech bubble and question mark icon

Useful accessibility features to make your devices easier to use

We’ve found some handy tips that may be of assistance for mobile devices or tablets, and ways to enhance your online browsing experience:

Accessible website design for the elderly

Designing products that are easier for older people to use is similar to designing for people with disabilities.

Guidance on how to make your websites, web applications, and web tools, work better for older users is covered in Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative has put together two handy guides that may be of assistance:

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If you need help with implementing accessible design or web development, our team of experts have vast knowledge in this field. Get in touch with our team, and we’ll guide you through your accessibility journey. 

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