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Checklist for Creating a Website for the 50+

Baby Boomers, seniors and 50+ consumers interact with brands online and use the internet when making purchasing decisions on a daily basis. One of the first and most important interactions with your brand is a visit to your website, and designing your site to increase the satisfaction quotient and reduce the frustration quotient for aging audiences is essential.

In Alice in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat responded to Alice’s question “Which road do I take?” stating “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Use this checklist to create a website plan that will put you on the right road and help you capture your vision, direction and expected results.

The Plan Basics

  1. Describe your company and the concept, product or service your site will provide.
  2. Outline the time frame to start and complete the project, including research and testing. E.g. – trade show, product launch, end of year budget, other.
  3. Identify regulatory or industry compliance needs that are required, and the content approval process.

Your Objectives

  1. What are the top three business objectives for your website in order of importance?
    Ex: improve sales, generate leads, increase customer satisfaction, company rebrand, reduce cart abandons, etc.
  2. How will you know if the site is a success?
    Ex: 5% increase in ecommerce sales, 10% increase in lead form completions, 70% of surveyed users expressing satisfaction. 

Current Site

  1. What aspects of your current site work well and why are they successful?
  2. What aspects of your current site are unsuccessful and why?
  3. How does your current website fit into your overall marketing strategy?
  4. Will you update your current site using a content management system? If so, describe the system and its main features. Are you happy with the system?

Your Audience

  1. How do you think the 50+ currently perceive your company/product/service?
  2. Describe the different types of audiences you expect will visit your website in as much detail as possible.
  3. Why will the 50+ use this kind of site?
  4. Why will the 50+ choose your site over others?
  5. What do you imagine the 50+ would want to do on your site?

Content and Design

  1. Describe how you would like the 50+ to perceive the website and your brand.
    Ex: experiential, interactive, modern, professional, friendly, edgy, fun etc.
  2. How do you envision the user experience and path to conversion on your site?
  3. What navigation requirements do you have?
  4. Consider the websites of competitors and organizations marketing products or services to the 50+. What appears to work? What doesn’t?
  5. Outline any ideas you may have for your site. How would these features support your business goals and the goals of the 50+?
    Ex: develop ways to make your site user friendly to help Baby Boomers and seniors find related items and promote up-selling.
  6. If you need a content management system, describe the features you would like.
    Ex: updatable news, multiple authors, stock control, user moderation, etc.
  7. How will you provide written content for the site? Timeline?
  8. What branding elements must be included? Ex: colors schemes, logo guidelines, taglines, etc.
  9. What items/elements should be avoided?
  10. Do you have photos/illustrations available for use, or is purchased stock photography an option?  Are the images you are considering in a high-resolution format?

Technology

  1. Where do you plan to host the website?
  2. Is there a platform preference?
  3. Will there be any special technologies used on the site (database connection, form processor, etc.)?
  4. Is there, or will there be, a website analytics tool installed used with the website? If not, plan to set up Google Analytics.
  5. How will your site display on mobile? Avoid ranking penalties by ensuring your site is mobile-friendly.
  6. Are you adding animation or new design elements that will increase load times?

In addition to this checklist,  please visit How to Design Your Website for Seniors, Boomers and the 50+ and  Designing Your Website for Customer Convenience for more insights into website messaging and design, and be sure to make your website as user-friendly as possible to the 50+.

Finally, as you develop a website designed to attract 50+ customers, remember that as we age we experience changes in eyesight, motor control and memory (see The Eyes Have It). For example, due to changing eyesight, many seniors experience difficulty when websites contain text that is small or has limited white space. Baby Boomers and seniors overwhelmingly prefer websites they find easy to use. It isn’t surprising to learn that most other user groups feel the same way. This explains why usability studies often find an added benefit of making websites more older customer friendly: it makes them easier for everyone else to use as well!

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