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Website Best Practices for 50+ Homebuyers – Part 1: Design

Website Best Practices for 50+ Homebuyers – Part 1: Design

Over the years, Immersion Active has built a reputation throughout the property development industry for our ability to reach the 50+ homebuyer. This reputation isn’t an accident. We’ve spent years optimizing our website design and content to attract this specific audience. During this time, we’ve learned a thing or two about what makes this audience unique from other demographics. We’ve also learned a few tricks and best practices that make it easier for our audience to consume and digest our content, leading to higher than average conversion rates and happy customers.

This blog will discuss some of the website design best practices we’ve cultivated and will provide some easy ways for you to implement these ideas into your websites. Of course, for the most up-to-date and expert information, contact the sales team at Immersion Active. After all, we didn’t become the go-to digital marketing agency for the mature markets without delivering the results our clients demand. And keep an eye out for Part 2 of this series, which will focus on content best practices for websites targeting the 50 and older consumer.

Mistake #1: Ignoring Mobile

Consumers over the age of 50 may not be quite as tech savvy as their younger counterparts, but don’t get in the mindset of believing they aren’t spending significant amounts of time on their phones. According to Pew Research, 74% of adults between the ages 50 to 64 own a smart phone and even among those over age 65, the percentage is close to 50%. In fact, the overall percentage of those using cell phones as their primary technology device has grown to 63% from 57% just a year ago.

With this in mind, incorporating elements of responsive design – a method of constructing websites that change their layouts to best fit the available screen space on the user’s device – is essential. A responsive design makes use of flexible layouts. A series of stacked blocks of text and photos that look great on a smartphone can reconfigure itself into a horizontal orientation to fill the wider screen space of a desktop monitor.

One side note to keep in mind: Even while smart phone use is growing, conversions remain significantly lower on mobile than for laptops or desktops. This tells us that while users like to browse on their smart phones, they rely on their larger devices to fill out forms and make significant purchases. So while you can’t forget mobile devices, ensuring your larger screen design looks great and works perfectly is key to closing the deal.

Mistake #2: Slow Loading Times

You can no doubt relate to this one. You go to a website, click the load button and…wait. It might only be a few seconds, but it feels like an eternity. Eventually if the page doesn’t load fast enough, you’ll probably leave. In fact, at just 4 seconds to load, 24% of users will abandon a site. This rate only gets higher the longer your page takes to load.

How do you fix and/or control load issues? One way is to figure out the right balance between the types of content you want to display on your website and how quickly each of these types of content loads. You may have to make compromises between the content you want to display and how long that content takes to load. For example, does incorporating video slow your load speed down? And if so, is the value of that video worth the possibility that you may lose a quarter of your potential customers before they even see what you have to offer? Of course, an even more reliable way to control your load issues is to hire someone with this expertise.

Mistake #3: Bad Navigation

When a new user looks at your website or landing page, can they tell from the navigation what your website is selling? Here are two examples for you to consider:

What does this company sell?

How about this one:

Chances are you got the first website’s wares right away: swimwear and other pool equipment. But the second? Would you be surprised to discover this website is all about how to incorporate a business?

During a redesign this website’s navigation was updated. Now the navigation is loaded with content rich words to reassure visitors they’ve found a site that can help them form a company right from the first glance. The new navigation terms also do a better job communicating the information a user would discover behind a click, reducing the ‘pogo effect’ of a user clicking into a section without helpful info and then bouncing back to the homepage to try again.

Think of your navigation pane as more than just a list of generic items for your user to click on. Instead, consider the navigation area of your website prime real estate (excuse the pun!) and use the space to continue to sell your customer on how great your product or service is.

Mistake #4: Images as Decoration

The old but true adage for you to consider is that people remember:

  • 10% of what they read
  • 30% of what they hear
  • 80% of what they see or do

Keeping this in mind should reinforce how important the images you choose to put on your website are. Images aren’t just there to take up space. They are essential to showcasing the homes and lifestyle you are looking to sell. Experienced designers know exactly how to use photos to their best advantage, including how to pick the best photos for each client, proper cropping techniques, filters, and the difference your customers will instinctively see between these two very similar photos:

Example A:

And example B:

Both of these photos show a man of the appropriate age for your customer base playing golf, so what the difference? The answer is that both the photo composition and lighting of example B combine to create a feeling of vitality that will better attract the active adults your community is looking for. So don’t get caught with photos that don’t show off your product to the fullest extent. Hiring a highly trained designer will ensure that your website is filled with the images that will keep your customers looking at your website.

Mistake #5: Bad User Interface Design

Bad user interface refers to the tiny details that prevent the user from completing the transaction you want them to complete. This could include filling out a form, buying a product, downloading your floor plans, or even clicking through from a landing page to a website. There are many factors that go into creating good interface design but the basics, which are especially relevant for the 50+ market, include:

  • Aligning content for easer reading
  • Grouping like items together
  • Watching type face and font size
  • Increasing contrast

And finally the big one: Don’t ask for too much information. Web user are justifiably wary of providing too much information. Instead of bombarding them with a form that requests everything from their name to their email address to their phone number, it is often more productive to initially ask for less personal information and then request more as the prospect moves further down the funnel.

We hope you’ve enjoyed these 5 design tips for websites targeting the 50+ market. If you would like additional information about how to increase traffic, target the right audience, and move your customers down the funnel, please contact the sales team at Immersion Active. And keep an eye out for part 2 of this series as we discuss content best practices and how having the best content can significantly improve how your product is perceived in the marketplace and how easy it is for prospect to differentiate you from your competition.

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