Silver Surfing: Helping older people get online with Internet Button

Around two thirds (65%) of Europeans aged 65-74 have never used the Internet (Life Online, 2011). The reasons are diverse. In some cases they are related to equipment and access costs. There are also concerns about safety online, harmful content and also lack of relevance of the content to the consumer. Disability and limited digital skills are also seen as obstacles to getting online.

With the idea of developing an innovative an easy way to help novice users to discover and use the Internet safely, ‘We are what we do‘, an UK based not-for-profit behaviour change company created an online service that is meant to be a gateway between the first time user and the Internet. This service is called ‘Internet Buttons‘.

‘Internet buttons’ is a customizable home page enabled with pre-made buttons that allows the creation of shortcuts to any online webiste. These shortcuts are presented as colourful buttons. They come with clear labels, are situated in the middle of the page and are big enough to be easily clicked. They are unmissable and therefore so easy to use!

‘Internet buttons’ are designed to target older people in particular, to help them benefit from the full potential of Internet. For example: shopping and paying bills online and, perhaps most importantly,  communicating with their friends and family that are online.

So how could you get an older person, who is a first time user of the Internet to use these buttons?
Follow the guide:

  1. Create a page
  2. Put your photo and contact number with a reassuring message
  3. Create the buttons. Popular examples are: Set up as a home page, Create buttons for Search, Email (work is web email), Weather, Wikipedia, News, Skype: Call me, Local newspaper, National news paper, TV guide, Local supermarket for the shopping, other examples in the Gallery.

The Internet Buttons also come with ‘My Handy Notebook’. This is a physical notebook to store notes and passwords used with Internet buttons, so that these are always to hand.

Don’t forget to visit and like their page on Facebook! You will find lots of interesting information about how Internet buttons can be used for helping novices to get online.

Further reading:
Life Online (2011) Report

Milligan, C. and Passey, D. (2011). Ageing and the use of the Internet: current engagement and future trends. Nominet Trust

Author: Margarita Pérez García

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