Creating Accessible Digital Devices for Your Business

In this digital age, we use technology for entertainment, shopping and conducting business. All companies use technology in some capacity. Digital devices, such as keypads at ATMs, restaurant menus and airport check-ins are popular. These devices often make life convenient. However, just like websites and apps, if accessibility is not built into these devices, visually impaired and other disabled consumers have difficulty using them. According to the CDC, 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.

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?

These digital devices often use touch screens and cannot be accessed by blind people without tactile or audio features. Oftentimes, blind people lose privacy when asking for assistance. It is possible to modify existing devices and create new, fully accessible devices for blind and visually impaired consumers.

The Storm Audio-Mav is already being tested and used in the US. 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 accessibility features for digital interfaces include:

  • IBM
  • SeePoint Technology
  • F-Origin

As a way to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October, we emphasize the critical role disabled customers can play in the economic success of businesses. Consumers with disabilities rely on digital devices to live independent lives, and you can be a leader in your industry when you ensure your devices can be used by everyone.

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