Accessibility in the New Normal: How Can We Help Senior Populations Cross the Digital Divide in the Time of COVID?


Accessibility, Digital Studies, Digital Divide, Digital Literacies, Education, Design


Accessibility | Digital Humanities


Laurence José


The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on the digital divide as not only a problem of access to technology but also a problem of public health. As the COVID-19 vaccine has become more readily available, it has been crucial that at-risk populations such as the elderly have access to vaccines, however, with most vaccine distribution organized in online medical portals, there has been a layer of difficulty in reaching senior populations. As we consulted with our focus group of seniors in the Holland MI area, it became apparent the lack of confidence many seniors face when engaging with technology. Many cited discomforts navigating everything from apps, to webpages, to the physical hardware that comes with technology. Through our research we have determined that in order to help senior populations close the digital divide during the COVID-19 pandemic we must focus our efforts on education and user-centered design in order to improve digital literacies and allow for greater accessibility.