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Digital Inclusion for Older People

Industry Insights

By Office for Seniors - Te Tari Kaumātua

8 May 2023

older pacific people

What does digital inclusion look like for older people? 

Does it look like sending a selfie in the family group chat? video calling grandchildren? sharing thoughts on the community page? reconnecting with old friends online? transferring money between accounts or is it being able to pay the power bill online? Digital inclusion is the ability for older people to do all these things and more, it is the opportunity for all to participate fully in society making for use of the benefits that  digital technologies offer. As individuals, businesses and members of the community, we can each contribute positively to digital inclusion. 

Digital inclusion is vital as more and more services that are required for our daily lives are exclusively available online. Applications such as online banking apps, public transport apps, receiving correspondence via email, paying for essential bills online, using telehealth services - all of which are intended to make life easier can prove to be a barrier for those who are not digitally included.

What difficulties can older people face when using technology?

Older people are less likely to own a digital device or have an internet connection. Some may have the means to be online but lack the skills to engage in online activities safely with trust and confidence.

What do businesses need to consider when designing their websites?  

The average web developer is aged between 25 to 34 years; young adults who have developed an instinctive familiarity with digital technologies. By contrast, many older people have had to learn to use new technology at a later stage of their life. In addition to the barriers around the lack of access, motivation, digital skills and trust, older people can experience age related difficulties such as worsening eyesight, memory loss and motor control making it challenging to navigate a complex website. 

What can businesses do to help older people become digitally inclusive?

There are many ways we can improve digital goods and services to increase access and usability. This is imperative for our rapidly ageing population. By 2034, 22% of the population will be aged 65 and over. Here are recommendations to help your business website be digitally inclusive:

  • increase the font size with an option to enlarge the text size 
  • include speech function to hear texts read aloud 
  • present clear and concise information in small sections of text with the use of headings and subheadings for navigation
  • avoid using technological terms
  • provide an online help service via email or phone
  • make links single click 

Join The Office for Seniors, the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, Pasefika Proud and Moana Connect on Techweek TV at 11:40am on Thursday the 18th of May as we dive into the key challenges faced by our older Pacific community in accessing the digital world. 

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