ICAA’s Guidelines for effective communication with older adults




When preparing materials directed to older adults, clarity is a high priority. Along the aging process, vision changes affect near vision, contrast between light and dark, and perception of color.

  • Use a basic typeface or font, such as Times Roman, at 12 points or larger. Avoid ornate and complex typefaces.

  • Avoid italics and all caps.

  • Use bold for emphasis, and minimize underlining.

  • Use plenty of space (leading) between lines of type to increase readability.

  • High contrast (dark text on a light background) works best. Do not reverse out type.

  • Rely on more saturated, intense colors.

  • Use plain backgrounds and clean, simple images.

  • Choose a single image rather than building collages of images.

  • People and objects in the image should be clear and easily identifiable.

  • Set text margins to flush left and ragged right.

  • On website, make text scalable so users can increase the size easily.

  • Keep websites free of clutter.

  • Follow best practices for clear, easy to find and follow navigation. Dropdown menus can be challenging; build navigation without them.

  • Minimize scrolling by placing most important text or imagery at the top of the page.

  • Avoid scrolling images and text, which are hard to follow and annoying.

Next: Language and imagery evolve with society


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