Baby boomers surfing the web? Oh yeah, it’s happening. Right now, the first wave of baby boomers is happily settling into retirement, finding more time on their hands than ever before. And now they have time to learn how to shop online. Business savvy online entrepreneurs are ready to tap into this giant market. Online shopping is made for baby boomers. As they get older, they are less likely to traipse into town to make purchases they could complete with the click of a mouse. With time, more and more will be turning to online shopping for convenience and better prices. This means web designers have a whole new market of customers they need to cater to in order to ensure the big bucks come their way.
Web designers will have to throw out their handbook when it comes to designing sites for baby boomers and older populations. The stunningly minimalistic design that got designers noticed and praised in art school simply won’t cut it for this specialized generation.Here is your complete style guide to web design for baby boomer audiences.
Everyone has a personal opinion when it comes to what fonts offer the best readability and eye-catching pizazz on the computer screen, but when it comes to catering to the older generation, keep the font simple, big, and easy to read. A swirly, whirly font might be fun for high school girls, but baby boomers want words that are easy to read. Don’t make them reach for their glasses. Sans-serif is generally considered easier to read, and common fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, and Georgia will be familiar to all baby boomers.
Images are one of the easiest and most effective ways to connect with the baby boomer population (and any age group really) but the tricky part here is knowing what types of pictures these customers want to see. Most web designers these days are a few decades younger than baby boomers – so professionals will have to stretch what their concept of a “great image” is, in order to find something suitable for the older audience.
Baby boomers are moving into a whole new phase of life. There bustling family life is behind them and again they are discovering their individuality. In general, images of young couples with infants, hot college-aged girls, and strong business men are far more popular stock photos than the serene shot of an older man enjoying some time fishing, but it’s pretty obvious which of those pictures is more likely to connect with the baby boomer generation.
When selecting photos, web designers should remember to keep them varied. Show men and women together, alone, with friends, not just with their spouses. Give baby boomers an opportunity to connect with a new image of who they are becoming and what is now important to them in a new phase of life.
Baby boomers will not be impressed if they land on a website homepage which solely features one large black and white photo, no matter how beautiful the photo is, because they want to know exactly where to click next in order to navigate through the website. Simple, simple, simple navigation is key to appeasing baby boomers. Not that these people are not well-versed in the ways of the internet but because they prefer things to be easy and straight forward. All website pages should be clearly displayed across the top or right hand column (home page, about us, FAQs, etc.). Designers can use infographics like shopping carts, arrows, “mouse-click” hands, and more to help customers intuitively know where to go next and how to navigate their way around the website.
Baby boomers aren’t interested in mind games. They aren’t looking to be coerced, entertained, or won-over before they make a purchase. Instead, they simply want to know exactly what product it is they are purchasing, all the significant details of this product, and how the company will help them out if they don’t end up liking what they purchased. That being said, baby boomers are savvy and they will know if a business is trying to pull a fast one on them. Web designers will win if they channel the friendly neighborhood business owner who built his business on trust, customer service, and honesty. This is what baby boomers are looking for. Skip the cliché sales pitch and just lay out the nitty-gritty details in a tight and easy to comprehend way.
Baby boomers respond to personal stories, product reviews from real customers, and other empathetic type marketing. Web designers should make it easy for customers to find real product and service reviews on their website. These reviews will give baby boomers the feeling that they are conferring with a friend before making a purchase.
Facebook share buttons, add-on purchase suggestions in the checkout cart, and other cluttery marketing tools will make baby boomers feel insecure and like they might be swindled. This is a sure way to make these customers hit X and never visit a website again. While these marketing approaches may work with some demographics, it’s best to keep things pure and simple when targeting the baby boomer generation.
It’s the web designers’ job to make sure traditional contact information, such as an address, phone number, and email address or contact form, is always easy to find. Some baby boomers still want to hear a person’s voice before they move ahead with a purchase, and they won’t waste time searching through a site map to find this information. Contact Us should be the easiest page to find on the website.
Last but not least, web designers should take the time to test their designs with people of the appropriate age. It is a waste for web designers to just accept the a-okay from the forty year old boss when in truth the real boss, the customer, is that guy’s dad. The terms “baby boomers” and “opportunity” go hand in hand when it comes to online sales – it’s time for web designers to step up and start producing websites that start buzz in the active retirement communities