W3CWeb Accessibility initiative

WAI: Strategies, guidelines, resources to make the Web accessible to people with disabilities

Status: Editors' Draft. This page is an in-progress draft revision. Updated $Date: 2010/08/10 18:41:37 $
The published version is at www.w3.org/WAI/older-users.

Web Accessibility and Older People:
Meeting the Needs of Ageing Web Users

This page was developed as part of the WAI-AGE Project, introduced below.

Page Contents


Older Web users are an increasing market segment and an important target group for many businesses, governments, and other organizations.

Web developers, managers, and owners who want to make their websites, web applications, and web tools usable by older people can use existing international accessibility guidelines from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). For example:

Overlapping Needs

Many older people have age-related impairments that can affect how they use the Web, such as declining:

These issues overlap with the accessibility needs of people with disabilities. Thus, websites and tools that are accessible to people with disabilities are more usable to older users as well.

Improving usability

Older people are less likely to use assistive technologies and adaptive strategies than people who acquired disabilities earlier in life. Some older people don't think of their age-related impairments as disabilities and thus don't seek accessibility solutions. Many have less experience with computers and are new to the Web. Thus, more advanced accessibility solutions that work for experienced users might not work well for some older users.

Improving accessibility for people with disabilities generally improves usability for all users, which usually helps older users even more. This is addressed in [Draft document on usability-acccessibility coming in 2010].

Introductions and Research

Resources for Users and Advocates

Resources for Developers and Managers

Additional Resources

The resources listed in the previous sections address various aspects web accessibility related to web users who are older and the overlap with web users who have disabilities. Additional resources available through the WAI website navigation also touch on this issue, including:

WAI-AGE Project

Web Accessibility Initiative: Ageing Education and Harmonisation (WAI-AGE) is a European Commission IST Specific Support Action with the goal of increasing accessibility of the Web for older people as well as for people with disabilities in European Union Member States. It focuses on:

To learn more about the WAI-AGE project, see the WAI-AGE Project page, which includes:


adaptive strategies
Adaptive strategies are techniques that people with disabilities use to improve interaction with the web, such as increasing the font size in a common browser. Adaptive strategies include techniques with mainstream browsers or with assistive technologies.
assistive technology
Assistive technologies are software or equipment that people with disabilities use to improve interaction with the web, such as screen readers that read aloud web pages for people who cannot read text, screen magnifiers for people with some types of low vision, and voice recognition software and selection switches for people who cannot use a keyboard or mouse.