In this blog:
- The importance of kiosk accessibility
- Legislation to Increase Accessibility
- How to optimize kiosk accessibility
Self service kiosks are now being adopted by every other industry globally hoping to automate and optimize product & service delivery while significantly reducing operational costs and enhancing consumer experience. However, as more and more businesses are going digital it is important to make these self service channels as accessible as physical channels or perhaps in some cases even more.
Accessibility is considered a right and is starting to become legislated all over the globe. Inaccessible design such as the use of internal staircases and the lack of wheelchair access ramps leads to problems not just for the elderly and disabled, but it can lead to everyday accidents.
Remaining inaccessible means your business runs the risk of not being able to service 1 billion people or 15% of the world’s population. In fact, 1 in 4 people in the US have some kind of disability, that means 61 million people or 26% adults in the US live with a disability.
Legislation to Increase Access
This is why, in 1990, the US Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA) to mitigate discrimination against disabled persons. Since then non-ADA compliance has been the cause of many penalties and class action lawsuits. For violation of the act, businesses can be fined up to $75,000 for their first violation and up to $150,000 for repeated offense.
Similarly, governments of other nations have also passed equal opportunity laws that prevent discrimination on the basis of a disability. Some examples are:
- European Union – The European Accessibility Act
- United Kingdom – The Equality Act
- Middle East – Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its Optional Protocol
- Australia – Disability Discrimination Act
However, there’s one collective problem with all of these laws and acts; they are outdated and don’t account for recent technological advancements and inventions. Now more than ever, we’re seeing kiosks pop up in every other location like banks, telecom service centers, restaurants, shopping malls, and even public transit stations.
In most cases, some sort of kiosk accessibility guideline is followed by the manufacturer and the business deploying the kiosk. However, because of the pandemic a lot of self service kiosk deployments were rushed and corners were cut to get the machines out the door and deployed in their intended locations.
This resulted in increased kiosk inaccessibility and the alienation of certain groups from accessing the services these kiosks have to offer. If banking kiosks become inaccessible, certain people may not be able to access necessary financial services and their own accounts. Besides being a major violation of basic rights, this could lead to a class action lawsuit potentially costing the business millions.
How to Optimize Kiosk Accessibility
To maximize customer access and optimize user experience for all groups of people, businesses should follow these simple practices to ensure optimal accessibility.
Accommodations For The Visually Impaired
There are 1.1 billion people over the globe with near vision impairment and 253 million that are visually impaired. However, most modern kiosks are based around large touch screens with no physical feedback making them completely inaccessible to blind customers. The lack of tactile feedback is a huge barrier to visually impaired and blind customers.
To make kiosks more usable by visually impaired folks:
- Increase the font size and use high contrast colors for text and buttons
- Add a zoom function to allow zooming into any part of the kiosk UI
- Add tactile and audio feedback so that customers have some sort of confirmation they selected the right option
- Add a braille keyboard or keypad for completely blind customers so that they can navigate the UI with the help of audio assistive technology and physical input
Accommodations for Limited Mobility Customers
It is estimated that about 75 million people worldwide need a wheelchair for mobility. This is a large number of people that require wheelchair access to access the most basic things such as public restrooms or ATMs. Follow the guidelines below to maximize kiosk accessibility for customers with reduced mobility:
- Make sure wheelchair customers have a clear path to reach self service kiosks.
- Kiosk screens and touch controls should be within reach of seated customers with the display being in their line of sight and legible.
- If a kiosk is mounted to the wall, it shouldn’t present any obstructions or reach issues for customers in wheelchairs. If reach is not possible, there should be alternative control inputs for wheelchair access.
- Limit physical barriers around self service kiosks to ensure maximum clear ground space for easy maneuvering of wheelchairs and assistive mobility devices.
Assisting Hearing Impairment
Although using self service kiosks is a mostly visual and tactile experience, it doesn’t hurt to include features to aurally aid customers who may prefer or rely on audio cues to navigate a kiosk user interface. Oral prompts narrating every interaction can be a help to everyone and the audio helps double check that you made the right selection.
Additionally, kiosks should be equipped with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack so those with hearing impairments can plug in their own personal hearing device or headphones to comfortably navigate the kiosk UI.
Choosing the Right Kiosk Manufacturer
The best case scenario for achieving maximum compliance is that you find a kiosk manufacturer that has experience working globally and hence knows the different requirements for different regions. In this case the kiosk provider will advise you on how to develop the perfect solution to maximize accessibility.
It would also be ideal if one company makes and develops both the kiosk hardware and software so that accessibility features can be baked in to the kiosk UI and integrated with the hardware as well. It is also imperative that the self service solutions provider offers a great deal of customization so that you can add accessibility features as you require.
Azimut Self Service
One self service solutions provider that fits the bill is Azimut; they manufacture and develop a complete hardware & software self service solution in house for various different industries like telecom, banking and retail. Azimut has experience with sizeable corporate clients all over the globe in regions like North America, Latin America, The Middle East, Europe and Central & East Asia. Since they manufacture in house, kiosks can be configured down to very minute personal requirements of the clients. Contact Azimut today to get started with your accessible kiosk solution.BOOK A FREE DEMO