Accessibility and Digital Devices

Accessibility and Digital Devices

We are well into the digital age. We all encounter technology on a daily basis. From entertainment to shopping to business, all companies use technology in some capacity. Businesses want to ensure their technology can be accessed by everyone.

Digital devices, such as keypads at ATMs, restaurant menus and airport check-ins are popular. These devices often make life convenient. At least convenient if a consumer can access it. However, just like websites and apps, if ui accessibility is not built into these devices, visually impaired and other disabled consumers have difficulty using them; and in most cases, cannot independently use them at all.

61 million Americans have a disability that impacts major life activities. If your kiosks or other devices cannot be accessed by consumers with disabilities, you potentially miss out on millions of customers. The only issue keeping these people from using such devices is the lack of accessibility. If ui accessibility was built into devices, there would be no issue. And it would broaden the market reach.

To ensure accessibility, here are Universal Design standards to keep in mind when creating a digital device:

  • Is the device easy to use if you cannot see well or at all?
  • Is a text-to-speech feature available? And if so, does the device have a headphone jack?
  • Is the device physically accessible for people in wheelchairs, Little People or anyone who cannot stand upright?
  • Is there a feature in place so that deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing people can use it?
  • Does the device meet with WCAG?

These digital devices often use touch screens. With no audio or tactile feature, these devices are useless to blind people without assistance. Oftentimes, blind people lose privacy when having to use assistance. It is possible to modify existing devices and create new devices that are fully accessible to blind and visually impaired consumers.

The Storm Audio-Mav is already being tested and used in the U.S. People with visual impairments, print disabilities and fine motor disabilities have had success with Storm Audio-Mav. It allows the user to navigate the screen with an audio feature. It has an illuminated, tactile display. It can be fitted to existing devices or installed during the creation of new devices.

Companies with existing ui accessibility features for digital interfaces include:

  • IBM
  • SeePoint Technology
  • F-Origin
  • Businesses often rely on the misconception that disabled customers prefer human assistance. The reality is that these consumers want equal access so they can participate just like their peers. Providing accessible digital devices is not special treatment, but merely affording equal access so disabled people can use these devices independently and privately.