A lesson in designing for the not-so-computer-literate

"She printed the website, scanned it and then emailed it back!"


Some years back I was emailing a potential new client about a website re-design. As usual, one of the first things I need to do when discussing a redesign of anything is to see what it currently looks like. I asked to see the existing website, expecting a link to be sent back.

What I actually received was pretty unexpected. Well, actually very unexpected. And hilarious.

Instead of sending me a link, the client had done the following:

  1. She printed a copy of the website
  2. The entire website!
  3. She then scanned in all of those printed pages
  4. Then popped them in an email to send back

It’s pretty funny, but also is a good reminder that not everyone is as proficient at using technology as we assume that they are.

Obviously we know that computer literacy varies greatly, and we design with that in mind to make a website or app as user-friendly and intuitive as possible. But when designing for older visitors as we often need to, it’s good to remind ourselves that some of the UI conventions that we all take as being intuitive and obvious are, for some, not.

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