The US Census Bureau estimates that around 19 percent of Americans have some form of disability. This includes people with visual impairment, those with difficulty walking, those who use a wheelchair, cane, or a walker, and those who might have trouble lifting or grasping objects.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on disability, and that includes discrimination via technology. If your businesses services are conducted with self-ordering kiosks, it is imperative to make sure that you follow kiosk accessibility guidelines.
Are you doing all you can to make your self-ordering kiosk accessible?
Some may claim that their self-ordering kiosks are an ADA compliant kiosk yet overlook a demographic for whom their technology is still not entirely accessible. Make sure that you do not make this mistake.
Following ADA compliance is more than wheelchair access. It’s not enough to just have one ADA kiosk with height-adjustability. It’s also not enough to just have a cashier or assistant around to help, either. If the assistant is not constantly available, they will not provide the same level of service as a fully ADA compliant kiosk. This is why an ADA kiosk is crucial to making your business fully accessible to customers of all ability levels.
When you examine the full spectrum of ability, there are so many considerations to keep in mind when designing or choosing features for an ADA kiosk.
Which kiosk accessibility guidelines should you follow?
There is no universal set of ADA kiosk requirements for kiosk accessibility, but we can apply accessibility standards from other guidelines. For example, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) performance objectives state that kiosk functions must operate for those with a wide variety of needs, like those without vision, with little or no color perception, with limited manual dexterity, with a prosthetic device, and more. Another example straight from the ADA are the measurements that are accessible to those who use wheelchairs. The highest touch point of the kiosk should be no more than 48 inches and the minimum height must be 15 inches. The ADA requirements can also be translated to the measurements of obstructions in front of kiosks, behind kiosks, and more.
How do you ensure that you don’t overlook a crucial kiosk accessibility feature? You are probably familiar with speech output capabilities and high-contrast, large font usage for people with visual impairments, but here are some other features you may not have considered to ensure kiosk accessibility:
It is a good idea to have an available mouse or trackpad for those who cannot constantly move their hands on a touchscreen. At the moment, this feature is more of an addition rather than a built-in design choice of most kiosks. Therefore, it might make sense to have a designated ADA kiosk with these features.
For the visually impaired, audio feedback is a common solution. However, the addition of a braille keyboard can help assist in navigation of the kiosk. This often-overlooked feature can be an add-on to create an ADA kiosk.
Text-to-Speech is an important feature that many companies are utilizing in their kiosks. A headphone jack option allows a customer to place his/her headphones into the device to instantly activate the speech mode and allow them to control volume settings. Upon removal of the headphones, the kiosk returns to the original settings. Kiosks are fully adjustable, and the settings function is always there to help you control or change whatever you deem necessary.
This feature makes kiosks wheelchair-accessible. However, the addition of a braille keyboard can help assist in navigation of the kiosk. This often-overlooked feature can be an add-on to create an ADA kiosk.
This is just a small sample of often-overlooked kiosk accessibility features, of which there are many. Technological supplements, such as a contactless ordering app, can also aid in making kiosks more accessible.
Considering a full spectrum of disabilities is essential from the very beginning of the kiosk design process, as it can be problematic to have to add kiosk accessibility features later. It’s also critical to ensure any kiosk integration or partners of your business are capable of creating kiosk accessibility. Make sure you do more than the bare minimum to meet ADA standards–this will help you avoid a lawsuit later on and save you money in the future. Reframe kiosk accessibility in your mind: rather than add-ons, think of ADA compliant kiosk features as essential elements of your business’s technology.
If you are going to invest in installing self-ordering kiosks, you need many of them to be ADA compliant kiosks so they fit the needs of as many customers as possible. All of your customers, regardless of ability, should be able to enjoy your kiosks and easily navigate your business.