If They Can't See It Or Read It, They Won't Buy It

Much research about the science of emotion has materialized in the last few decades, resulting in a shift in thinking about decision theories. The studies reveal that emotions constitute powerful, pervasive, and predictable drivers of decision making. Across different fields, significant regularities appear in the mechanisms through which emotions influence judgments and choices. This conclusion represents the learnings from the past 35 years of research on emotion and decision making. It is likely you agree; if you do not agree, perhaps you should consider learning more. 

Consider neuroscientist Antonio Damasio’s groundbreaking discovery. He studied people with damage on the part of the brain where emotions are generated. He found that they seemed normal, except that they were not able to feel emotions. However, they all had something peculiar in common: they could not make decisions. They could describe what they should be doing in logical terms, yet they found it tough to make even simple decisions, such as what to eat. With no rational way to decide, these test subjects were unable to arrive at a decision.



However, as important as understanding the power of emotions is, an even more basic need is to consider that Baby Boomers and others may not be receiving your messages because they can’t see or read them. According to AIGA, the professional association for design, considerably younger people prepare much of the information intended for older eyes. Typically, younger people base their creative decisions upon how the world looks to them through their younger eyes. 

In a prior article, we offered some suggestions to improve online marketing message visual effectiveness. The following provides the logic behind online communications readability problems for Baby Boomers.

Online Vision Challenges

Low vision population (US adults):

  • 21 million (9% of adults) with non-correctable vision loss
  • 15% of them are blind
  • 11 million (5% of adults) with color blindness
  • 94% are men

Low vision by age:

  • Age 0 - 44: 5.5% have low vision
  • Age 45 - 64: 12% have low vision
  • Age 65 - 74: 12.2% have low vision
  • 75+: 15.2% have low vision

Significant vision impairments in the U.S.:


  • 1 million people in 2010
  • 7 million people in 2030


  • 7 million people in 2010
  • 2 million people in 2030


  • 7 million people in 2010
  • 11 million people in 2030


  • 24 million people in 2010
  • 38 million people in 2030

The low-vision population is significant and growing.

Causes of Low Vision:

  • Aging
  • Eye diseases
  • Hereditary conditions
  • Injuries
  • Other medical conditions (e.g., diabetes)
  • Temporary conditions (e.g., eye fatigue)

Impact on Vision:

  • Blurry vision
  • Blocked visual field
  • Color blindness
  • Brightness sensitivity
  • Contrast loss

Other Website Challenges:

  • 35% eye fatigue
  • 33% other factors
  • 25% vision loss
  • 7% dexterity
  • Page layout: 56% cognition- and vision-related
  • Page navigation: 39% vision-, perception-, and skill-related
  • Reading the text: 34% cognition- and vision-related
  • Finding the mouse: 10% vision-related
  • Perceiving Colors: 6% vision-related

As Baby Boomers reach the fall and winter of life, many are not aware of the warning signs of age-related eye health problems that could cause vision loss. Problems may develop painlessly, and people may not notice the changes to their vision until the condition is quite advanced. If you want them to buy your service or product, they typically have to be able to see and read about it first. Help them out.

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