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WAI-AGE Literature Review and Analysis:
Observations and Conclusions
[Editor's DRAFT - 21 August 2008]

Status: This document is an early draft. Please send comments to public-comments-wai-age@w3.org (a publicly archived list).

Page Contents


The WAI-AGE Literature Review is intended to provide a needs compilation and comparison for older users with regard to Web accessibility. This has occurred via reviewing and comparing differences and similarities between the technical and outreach needs of people with accessibility needs due to ageing, and the technical and outreach needs of people with disabilities. The literature review has collected and commented on a wide range of literature that addressed the requirements of older Web users. The literature considered included:

A review of these reports has compiled a wide range of requirements for older Web users and a comparative analysis of these against WAI guidelines has been undertaken.


The volume of literature relating to the use of the Web by older users was significant - over 150 scientific and professional articles were collected for the literature review. While most of the broad recommendations covering the needs of older users on the Web came from the US, a majority of the scientific literature seemed to originate from Europe. From all the articles reviewed, some general observations can be made about the requirements of older Web users:

Gap analysis

The comparative analysis of the requirements recommended from the literature for creating Web sites that would be more suitable for older users showed the comprehensiveness of the WCAG 2.0 Guidelines and its supporting techniques. The UAAG and ATAG guidelines also provided support for the needs of older Web users. Some gaps were found between the collected requirements of older web users and the coverage of the WAI Guidelines:


Many authors made recommendations about what is required to improve Web sites for older users although not all functional and sensory limitations associated with ageing have been considered. The recommendations have been identified and analysed in a comparative analysis against the WAI Guidelines discussed in the previous section. However, taking a bigger picture view across all the literature, some additional broader steps that will help promote accessibility for older users have also been identified:

Additional investigation is also considered to be needed in some areas such as:

We live in a rapidly changing world:

Improved accessibility of public and private Web sites is one means of addressing many of the requirements being identified as necessary for our changing community. The literature review, needs identification, gap analysis of WAI guidelines, and our proposed steps to move accessibility forward, will all help address the initial premise of this project that older Web users and people with disabilities have very similar requirements, but that this is not recognised by either the elderly community and their representatives nor by the Web development community.


  1. WCAG 1.0 checkpoints – mapping to ageing recommendations
  2. Additional requirements suggested by ageing recommendations
  3. Requirements identified from focussed studies
  4. Cross referencing within ageing recommendations
  5. Comparative requirements analysis for older Web users