Web Accessibility for Older Users

Andrew Arch

W3C as letters on 3 plastic buttons from a keyboard

ICCHP, Linz AT, July 2008

Presentation Overview

WAI-AGE Project

Web Accessibility Initiative - Ageing Education and Harmonization

EC funded project with objectives to:

Ageing population

The European population is aging:

Not just Europe:

Established field

W3C has been promoting Web accessibility since 1997:

Works well for people with disabilities
     … but what about the elderly?


Elderly not online!?

More older persons than younger soon:

Expected to work longer, retire later

'Silver surfers' are an increasingly important economic market segment

Community participation is moving online

Life-long learning now requires Web access

Web provides a mechanism for communication and socialisation

Ageing and disability

Common ageing processes often result in:

Many older people experience multiple sensory losses and functional impairments

These changes are often incremental and many older people's self image does not necessarily reflect that they may have a disability

Literature analysed

Different types of studies …

Literature … cont

Many studies found cognitive issues the overwhelming barrier:

Identified provisions

Provisions include:

Do many of these sound familiar?

Provisions … cont

Many studies also contain recommendations on:

Some of these factors may be relevant to WCAG’s advisory techniques or other educational materials


Next steps

Thank you and Questions

Project Web site:

Contact us:


6th Framework Programme 2002 - 2006