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One in four older 50s had issues accessing services online during lockdown

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One in four (27%) adults aged over 50 encountered issues when accessing websites during lockdown, highlighting how multiple sectors are failing to address the needs of older users, according to new research.

The research, conducted by Texthelp, a leader in accessibility technology, in collaboration with YouGov, found that of those that experienced accessibility issues, almost a third (31%) of UK respondents had trouble knowing what to do or what to click on.

Nearly half of all users also found that the links in the sites were not working (46%) and 63% of users who experienced issues found the visual layout and design of sites overly complicated.

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Reading text on websites was also a challenge, with 20% of respondents indicating they would prefer larger text. Nearly a quarter (22%) wanted the content on websites, such as words and instructions, to be easier to understand. 

With an ageing population and a growing number of ‘silver surfers’ online, accessibility issues like these will continue to grow unless addressed by organisations, Texthelp said.

With over half of respondents (56%) planning to continue using online services as frequently as when they did during lockdown, the company said websites need to make sure that different accessibility requirements are met. 

Martin McKay, CEO & Founder at Texthelp said: “The pandemic has fast-tracked the transition to digital. Many products and services previously available on the high-street, at a GP surgery or in a shop are now only available online. 

“Older generations have been forced to migrate online, where they might have been resistant before. However, our research shows that many private and public organisations are failing to accommodate the needs of older generations. Many websites are built without accessibility in mind and this means certain groups are being locked out of vital services. A quarter of over 50s experienced issues when accessing services or products online – this isn’t a number that we can just ignore. This data should serve as a wake-up call to both public and private sector organisations alike.”

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Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke

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