Are You Too Old for WordPress?

No, you’re not too old for WordPress. We recently set up a WordPress site for a 78 year old man, and he’s not too old for WordPress, so it’s a good bet that you aren’t too old, either.

There were some things we noticed in working with this client, and we think they might be useful to you if you are preparing a website for an older person, or if you are yourself an older person thinking of creating a website for your business, or of moving your current website to WordPress and getting a little more hands-on with it.

First, avoid assumptions. We say, “It’s just like Facebook” a lot when we help clients get to know their new WordPress websites. “You’ll see a text box,” we’ll say, “and you type into it just the way you would at Facebook” or “You upload pictures by browsing for the file on your computer, just the way you do at Facebook.”

This was not a useful explanation for our neophyte WordPress user. He tried typing into the blog while looking at the outside of the website (the part you’re looking at as you read this) because that is, it’s true, how you use Facebook. We should not have assumed that he would think of logging into the admin area first.

Second, make it readable. Older people are no less sharp than younger ones, but there is definitely a difference between older and younger eyes. A high level of contrast is helpful for older readers, and the icons on the WordPress admin screen may be too small to be useful. Since some people are who are less familiar with computers don’t use hover or mouseover, we needed to point out that the icons have a wee label that appears when you hold the mouse over them. Since the icons also change color when you do this, it can help to make them more distinguishable, too.

Third, be prepared to discuss the technology. Older people of our acquaintance don’t turn on light switches and ask how they work — any more than younger people do, and the younger people don’t know either. When we’re accustomed to some piece of technology, we often don’t care how it works. Something that’s new to us, however, can be fascinating enough that we want explanations. We write the post, add a category, and it goes to the right page automatically? How does it do that? If you aren’t ready for those questions, you will feel silly.

As you can see, there is nothing here that the older person needs to do or change. If you are an older person needing better communication about your new WordPress website, feel free to share these notes with your web pros.


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