Older Adults Accessibility Issue 3: Clickable Areas

Posted by Paul Crichton Head of Accessibility on 27th June 2017..

“Buttons and links are often too small. I get annoyed when I accidentally click the wrong button.”

From around the age of 50, our fine motor control diminishes. We can also develop conditions that have an impact on how well we can use a mouse. Things like arthritis, strokes and Parkinson’s disease can also dramatically impact on fine motor control.

Our ability to perform coordinated actions – such as pinching and multi-finger gestures also gets harder, which has an affect on our use of touchscreen devices.

When our motor control gets a bit worse in parallel with sight problems, then it is no surprise that hand-eye coordination also gets worse. Clicking small things or moving things gets harder.

Does your website have a problem?

Is the clickable area around links and buttons big enough? One simple way to test this is to view your website in Google Chrome and use the TAB key to navigate. You should see how big the clickable area is around your controls.

If you have pages with information or help icons to open instructions, or something similar, don’t forget to check those. They are often too small!


In forms, use explicitly associated text labels to identify them. These are clickable, and so increase the target area for a user to send focus to an input element.

How to make things better

You don’t have to make links or buttons look bigger. By using Custom Style Sheets (CSS), you can increase the margin and padding around an interactive element to make it easier to click.

Make sure that there is space between the clickable areas of links and buttons. It can be very irritating to click a link next to the one you want by accident!

For websites and apps designed for mobile devices, the BBC Mobile Accessibility Guidelines recommend a touch target size of at least 44pt x 44pt.

Back to introduction

Next: Older adult accessibility issue 4: Movement


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