How Accessibility Helps Us All

Accessibility is essential for a huge number of users but did you know that it benefits everyone?

Introduction

The concept of accessibility is not simply about catering for an all too often ignored section of society. It is about catering for all people. People’s needs, whether they have a disability or not, change based on a number of factors. Someone’s ability to use technology can be affected by where they are, temporary health issues they are currently experiencing and what equipment they are using. For example they may be somewhere particularly noisy, they may have broken an arm or be accessing a service on their phone or via a poor internet connection.

Our goal should be to make sure nobody is excluded.

In this article we’ll take a quick look at some innovations that were driven by accessibility concerns and have resulted in better products, tools and services for everyone. As kiosk software developers, kiosk manufacturers and kiosk owners we can look at these innovations, their applications and benefits and incorporate them into our projects and products.

Apple

Screen Readers for Touch Screens

Apple received recognition from the National Federation for the Blind in the US for this work. They also noted that Apple’s ability to make touchscreen devices accessible to blind users demonstrated touch screens did not need to be a barrier to the blind and visually impaired.

Innovations like this one by Apple have contributed enormously to the development of voice activated gadgets that many of us have in our homes and offices today. Regardless of ability millions of us use these gadgets every day.

Google

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Contrast Minimums

Voice Control

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Web Accessibility

As kiosk software developers, kiosk manufacturers and kiosk owners we may be running web based applications on our kiosks. As such it is worth knowing about web accessibility. Examples of web accessibility include the following points.

Images

When a developer adds alt text to their code the information is then accessible to blind and visually impaired people. If the application on your kiosk is available remotely, it also becomes available to other users who have images turned off in their browser settings. The normal reasons for this are that the user lives in an area with expensive or low bandwidth. Technologies such as search engines can also then get the information from the image.

Keyboard Input

Another benefit is that, with this in place, users who are unable to use a keyboard can then use assistive technologies such as speech input which carry out the tasks the keyboard would normally be used for.

Audio Transcripts

Alongside this the information then also becomes available to search engines and users who are unable to hear the sound for other reasons such as being in a noisy environment. This is useful even if your kiosk application is not available remotely, if the kiosk is installed in a location that can be noisy.

The accessibility considerations above, and others, provides benefits to all users. Benefits will be experienced by the following users:

  • People using devices with small screens like phones and watches
  • People using smart TVs and devices with different input types
  • People in bright / glaring sunlight
  • People in noisy environments
  • People with changing abilities caused by ageing
  • People with short-term disabilities such as a broken arm or even misplaced glasses
  • People in areas where connectivity is slow, limited or expensive such as those in many rural areas

Conclusion

In this article we’ve looked at a couple of household names and web accessibility as a whole. There are of course many other studies we can look at and we would encourage you to do so when considering a kiosk project. Getting accessibility right from the start is the easiest and most cost-effective way to do it. Done right it will benefit you as well as your kiosk users.

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At Welcm we design, develop and support touch screen applications and systems.

If you have a project you would like to discuss please send an enquiry from our contact page, email us at enquiries@welcm.uk or call us on 01252 950 650.

We also make Visitor Management Easy at https://welcm.ly

Originally published at welcm.uk.

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Welcm

We design, develop and support websites, apps and custom software. Find out more at https://welcm.uk. We also make Visitor Management Easy — https://welcm.ly