You might remember that in Step 7 of my 10 Steps to Better Protect Elderly Loved Ones Online I explained some of the dangers posed by using Internet Explorer 6. If that post left you wondering which Internet Browser would be the ‘best’ for your elderly loved ones then today is your lucky day because you’re finally going to find out.
The answer is that the best Internet Browser for Seniors is the Opera Browser. That may surprise many of you who have never heard of Opera before.
What makes Opera so great for Seniors?
- Opera can be easily used without a Mouse: This is important because it is friendly for users with physical limitations like severe arthritis, it lessens repetitive strain, and it provides easier navigation for the visually impaired. Other Internet Browsers ‘can’ be used without a Mouse but not with the ease or to the same degree as Opera.
- Opera can easily re-size webpages via Page Zooming: This feature allows everything on a webpage, including movies, to be easily and dynamically resized (20% to 1,000%) in order to assist users with impaired vision.
- Opera can be controlled without a Keyboard or Mouse: The Voice Control feature, developed in cooperation with IBM, allows the Opera Browser to be controlled entirely by Voice Commands. This grants users with limited or no ability to use tactile controls access to the Internet.
- Opera can read the Internet aloud: This is important because it allows users with vision impairment easier access to the Internet.
- Opera comes with built-in Security Features: Out of the box Opera features strong secure website encryption and protection from common phishing and malware techniques.
- Opera is highly customizable: This is important because it means that Opera can be configured to meet the needs of the user. For example, a user with vision impairment could configure Opera to use larger buttons and text.
On top of those features Opera is one of the fastest and most compatible Internet Browsers on the market. In fact, the Opera Browser was named the Best Major Desktop Browser by About.com’s 2010 Reader’s Choice Awards. Given all of that, you might wonder why, as of July 2010, only a little more than 2% of Internet users use Opera? I don’t have an answer to that question.
The Opera Browser is free for personal use and is available on virtually every major system including Windows, Macintosh, and Linux as well as the Nintendo Wii and many mobile phones. Give it a try, you should be surprised.