9 Senior Living Website Design Best Practices

Aug 1, 2020 | Web Design

I love working on senior living website designs. I have a long history in the eldercare and assisted living community. I’ve worked with businesses big and small, from Five Star Senior Living to, most recently, Senior Living Solutions (new website coming soon!).

Building a senior living community or eldercare website requires great attention to user experience best practices. Older generations did not grow up with websites and smartphones, and while everyone has become more accustomed to our technology-driven world, that doesn’t guarantee those 60+ are tech-savvy.

RELATED: “Site Launch: Senior Living Solutions Brings a Vision to Life”

If you’re considering building a senior living website or redesigning your senior care website, make sure the person or digital marketing agency you employ keeps these nine best practices central to your design. Or hire me!

1. Use Large Font Sizes

Seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how frequently the proper font size is forgotten or executed incorrectly. Older users tend to have poorer eyesight—many require reading glasses. Staring at a computer screen is tough enough without having to squint to read the text on a website.

How big is big enough? Health.gov recommends at least 16-pixel (px) or 12-point (pt) font sizes. But even to my 32-year-old eyes, 16 px is hard to read. That’s why I recommend nothing smaller than 18 px. (Hint: This blog uses 18 px.)

If you want to be really generous, you’ll nudge the font size up to 22 px. It may look comically big to you, but 22 px is to the eyes what a nice glass of scotch is to the palate.

2. Keep the Most Important Content Above the Fold

The “fold” is a newspaper term, referring to the bifurcated crease on the front page caused by the literal folding of the paper in half. Anything above the fold, or crease, was considered the most important news of the day.

When it comes to a website, we’ve borrowed the newspaper term to refer to all the content you see in your browser when a page first loads. Like the newspaper, this space must be reserved for your website’s most important content, as Nielsen has found that 57% of viewing-time on a site is spent above the fold.

3. Use Large, Full-width Images

Visual content stimulates the senses. No matter how old you are, looking is always preferred over reading.

Keep your website visually rich by employing large, full-width images. Use beautiful photography above the fold, just below your navigation.

Brookdale's website uses full-width images following senior living web design best practices.
Brookdale’s website uses full-width images with happy residents.

Also, make sure your photos are positive in nature. Use photos of smiling faces and show people being active. No one wants to see a sad photo of an old man sitting alone in a wheelchair.

Have photography of your floor plans of your senior living facilities? Great! Make sure you have high-resolution versions to make them user friendly.

4. Limit Navigation to Five or Fewer Menu Items

It can be tempting to put every page in your menu. I get the urge: After all, every page is important; otherwise, you wouldn’t have created it!

But think about it from your user’s perspective. They have a specific goal in mind: to contact you, to learn about your services, or to read about your company’s mission.

When they turn to your menu to find this information, they don’t know your website as well as you. They won’t easily spot the “About” page if it’s in a crowded group of options.

Limit your menu to the absolute essential. For everything else, look for ways to group pages as “child” pages of your main menu items.

5. Make the Home Button Obvious to Find

It’s commonplace to use your website’s logo as the de facto home button. It’s certainly a convenience: If you can consolidate the home button as your logo, you can free up space in your menu.

Unfortunately, that’s not always obvious to older generations. Keep in mind, 60+ users don’t spend every waking minute browsing websites, so they can’t be expected to know all the shortcuts younger generations know intuitively.

The simplest solution is to include “Home” as a menu item. If you use this tactic, be sure to place “Home” at the beginning of your navigation.

An alternative, which can be useful if you’re reaching that five-button menu limit, is to place a Home icon next to your logo.

6. Employ Videos

Video is king, and every generation bows in deference. Nearly 41% of people over 61 years spend 1-2 hours a week consuming digital video, with 22.7% watching 2-4 hours (eMarketer). The love of video does not discriminate when it comes to age.

40.8% of seniors over 61 watch 1-2 hours of video a week: senior living web design best practices.

Nor should your website. Make sure you’re implementing video that talks about your brand, your services, and what makes you different.

And don’t forget to include closed captions, as many older adults may have hearing impairments.

7. Share Testimonials From Happy Customers

Speaking of great video, make sure you include testimonials on your website. Testimonial videos are powerful sales tool.

Testimonials offer the chance to provide validation from an outside party about your business. People trust people much faster than they do companies.

Share stories that demonstrate your compassion, your expertise, your professionalism, and of course your success.

8. Display Your Contact Phone Number Prominently

You can build all the communication technologies you want, but older users will always want to pick up the phone and call a company when it’s important. So when it comes to making a choice about senior living or eldercare solutions, you can bet a phone call is the preferred channel. A phone number should be number one on your list of strong calls to action.

To fulfill your users’ needs, place your phone number on every page, prominently at the top. I recommend including a secondary navigation setup like this:

Place your phone number into your secondary navigation bar for senior living web design best practices.

9. Make Sure Your Site Loads Quickly

The average website takes seven seconds to load, according to Google. This doesn’t seem like a bad thing until you learn that 53% of users will leave a site if it takes more than three seconds to load.

Compound this with the fact that lightning-fast broadband Internet isn’t a given for older generations. According to Pew, 59% of people 65+ had broadband Internet in 2019. But that’s far behind the 79% of those under 65.

RELATED: “Why Your Business Needs SEO”

With 40% of your potential visitors using lower connection speeds, you must ensure your website loads as quickly as possible.

How do you do this? Here are a few ways:

  • Keep image file sizes low.
  • Keep the number of images on a single page to a minimum (5 or fewer).
  • Consolidate Javascript and CSS files.
  • Employ lazy-load on images below the fold.

Ready to Get Your Senior Living Website Design? Start with Little Rocket Sites.

I’d love to work with your senior living or elder care business and build your next website. My monthly website pricing starts as low as $45. I’ll even build your first website for FREE when you sign up.

Contact me today to get started.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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