Social and cultural environments

You should also understand where and when people come to your web content.

• Are they likely to be alone or with someone else?

• Are they likely to be in an office cubicle or at home or at the public library?

• Are they going to be doing research on a site like yours for a long time each day?

• Are they likely to be interrupted as they work with your information?

• Are they answering questions for someone else, so they might have someone on the phone waiting for the answer while they try to get that answer from your web content?

All of these characteristics might be important for you to consider as you decide what to say and how to say it.

For more on older adults and the web, see articles at www.aarp .org/olderwiserwired.

But age isn't all there is to demographics. In fact, recent studies of older adults have shown how diverse the audience of 50+ or even 65+ is. Even within the older adult audience, you have to think about differences in computer and web expertise (aptitude), in feelings about the web (attitude), and in ability (vision and other problems).

Demographics

Age may matter for your site. If you are writing content for a particular age group - for example, for young children or for teens - that will likely affect your writing style as well as the design of your site.

Vision and other problems are not limited to older adults. In the United States, all federal government web sites and any site paid for with federal government money must be accessible to all. Many other countries also require attention to making web sites work for everyone.

For a list of accessibility requirements in different countries, see www.w3.org/WAI/Policy/.

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