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August 25 , 2009

Internet giving Canadians a headache
Older users want accessuble sites, study

The latest Delvinia INSIGHTS report on the digital behaviours and attitudes of Canadian consumers, Experience Design Considerations, showed Canada's NGen and Boomers cite headaches and vision loss respectively as leading issues that impair their computer use. In addition, the website design features that Canadians consider important indicate the need for designers to take the physicality of all users into account – whether they suffer from a disability or not.

"Often designers and developers focus on the user experience from a purely digital, technical or best practice standpoint and don't consider the physical aspects of users as well," said Adam Froman, President and CEO of the Delvinia Group of Companies. "Designers need to consider all aspects of users – from their needs and wants to their possible challenges and limitations."

While legislation such as Ontario's Accessibility Act will mandate accessible websites in the near future, Delvinia's report shows that many elements such as font size, descriptive links and properly tagged photos are important to Canadians now.

Experience Design Considerations revealed a number of insights worth noting for designers of all digital experiences. Highlights about Canadians' views towards site experiences include:

  • Of website features designed to create easier user experiences, Canadians of all ages consider auto-fill forms (56%) and descriptive links (52%) to be the most important.
  • The importance of downloadable transcripts, videos and songs differ with age, with 50% more NGeners vs. 65+ declaring this feature very important.
  • In terms of additional website preferences, Canadians want a direct homepage link (75%), they want bigger easily accessible links (41%), and designers should ensure their sites have properly tagged images (39%),
  • Consider neutral use of gender as this was significantly important to females of all ages – particularly 18-30 year olds, another important consumer segment.

"Once again in Experience Design Considerations, we see that the genders and the generations can differ on some aspects of digital experiences and yet be on the exact same page regarding others – but you'll never be able to assume which aspects until you ask," added Froman. "That's why our insight-driven approach, combined with direct access to our panel of Canadians gives us an edge over our competitors in today's challenging economy."

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