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Re: Old Age and Accessibility

From: Stephani Roberts Lincoln <stephani@MIT.EDU>
Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 09:13:38 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

At 07:42 AM 9/30/2003 +0100, David Woolley wrote:

> > - they were more likely to click non-link items (i.e. bullets, headings,
> > icons, etc. but sometimes didn't click even when they saw the "hand"
> > indicating that something was a link)
>I would say this was a consequence of the way that links are hidden.  I
>don't think they would have any problem if links always looked the same,
>but pages often hide links in several different ways on the same page,
>so people who are not experienced web page users resort to hunt the link
>tactics.  I suspect this could even happen if you used the standard link
>presentation and only that, because they will have been taught by other
>pages that almost anything can be a link, but not learned the level of
>detail needed to reverse engineer the design to actually predict which
>really are links.

You're right, this is exactly what the presenter said about links. And your 
comment below about caution and lack of experience with Windows, and 
computers in general, is important to note. Both these factors increase the 
need for consistency with older user groups. Otherwise it seems like a web 
site is a lot like navigating a minefield for them, they hunt for what they 
want and when they find a word (or something) that looks like it may take 
them to their goal, they think about it carefully (lacking confidence in 
the outcome) and decide to take the risk of clicking. I actually saw video 
footage from these studies and the amount hesitation was remarkable. Again, 
the stakes were high as they were supposed to be managing online 
investments. I'm curious to know if they were as hesitant surfing other 
more casual types of websites.

> > - older users were slower to click and more cautious about clicking
> > - older users spend more time reading text and instructions
>These are both symptoms of a fear of doing things wrong.
>(Note that you seem to have started from the assumption that such people
>know how to use Windows.  Some may at the lower end of your age range,
>but most won't at the high end.)
Received on Tuesday, 30 September 2003 09:16:17 UTC

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