At Accessibility Scotland 2018, Phil Day of NCR deep dives the accessibility challenges and opportunities building self-service technology at NCR, one of the world’s largest providers of self-service technology.
Accessibility Scotland history Accessibility Scotland came about as a way to fill an obvious gap – there wasn’t an annual get-together in Scotland that was focused on digital accessibility.
So Kevin, Wojtek, Peter, and Dave started the first conference in 2016, held at Summerhall in Edinburgh’s south side. Things went so well that we decided to do a second conference in 2017, in a new venue near Haymarket Station. Our third conference was in November 2018 in Edinburgh’s EICC (Edinburgh International Conference Centre), where we increased the delegate capacity by 150%. Every year we sold out, and we received enough encouragement that we’re here again planning to do it again in 2019!
I get pinged a lot by people asking for accessibility resources. Some accessibility resources are easy to find because they contain the words “assistive technology” or “WCAG”. But some of the most important accessibility resources don’t contain the magic buzz phrases. They just contain amazing content that leave you with a dopamine brain rush at the end of the video thinking “aha, I finally get it !”
Whether you’ve been in accessibility for a decade, or just getting started, the videos I have listed below, I think, are are always good reminders of why you are there. There are way more than 10 good accessibility/disability videos out there, these are my favorites, feel free to add yours in the comments section.
The late (but very great) Stella Young’s “I am not your inspiration, thank you very much” TED talk.
Stella was unapologetic, in your face, and everything that I wish I could have been when I was too shy (yes even while in law school) to say “this is who I am, effing deal with it” She had the audacity to say out loud what most people with major, visible disabilities only whispered to their friends and family — that it should not be the job of someone with a disability to make a non-disabled person feel better about themselves.
And I want the following quote in my obituary:
No amount of smiling at a flight of stairs has ever made it turn into a ramp. Never.
Smiling at a television screen isn’t going to make closed captions appear for people who are deaf.
No amount of standing in the middle of a bookshop and radiating a positive attitude is going to turn all those books into braille. It’s just not going to happen.
This. This is why I fight. Thank you Stella for giving me the phrase “inspiration porn” to use in my fight.
2. The Apple/Sady video
I include this video in every . single . “introduction to accessibility” or unconscious bias class I ever teach. And I stop in the middle — where the person is programming their hearing aids to connect with their iPhone — and talk about my daughter, and how without Bluetooth and digital hearing aid technology, she wouldn’t be able to communicate by phone with anyone, understand classes in enormous lecture halls, or speak Chinese with her family or patients.
Good article on Title III and how attended kiosks and unattended kiosks can be affected differently. The article starts however with referring to “spate of suits” but doesn’t identify those suits. At one point vending machines dispensing drinks is referenced. Those are meant for unattended use however customers can always request assistance. Does that fulfill DOJ requirements?
Sometimes having an employee assist the customer can serve as opportunity for the employee to take advantage of the disabled (typically blind) customer.
Reasonable accommodation effort would seem to be called for in these situations. Having a POS terminal that allows for a headphone would make it possible for a blind person to materially verify the desired assistance was the actual assistance rendered.
A recent spate of suits against several major retailers has raised questions about whether self-service checkouts and other kiosks must comply with the requirements of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Generally, Title III requires that places of public accommodation be equally accessible to all individuals, regardless of physical limitations. In these suits Plaintiffs, who are blind, allege that the retailers’ self-service checkouts or kiosks are inaccessible to blind and visually impaired individuals and, therefore, violate the ADA. Businesses, in turn, have countered that the provision of staffed registers and kiosks through which blind customers can complete purchases with the aid of store personnel satisfies their obligations under the ADA. As an ever-increasing number of businesses turn to self-service kiosks for all manner of customer interactions, the degree to which these kiosks must be accessible to disabled users presents an important issue.
1 28 C.F.R. § 36.303(c)(1).
2 28 C.F.R. § 36.303(b)(2).
3 See sections 707 and 811 of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design set forth at 28 C.F.R. Part 36, Subpart D (2011) and 36 C.F.R. Part 1191, Appendices B and D (2009).
4 See West v. Moe’s Franchisor, LLC, No. 15-CV-2846, 2015 WL 8484567, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 9, 2015); West et al v. Five Guys Enterprises., LLC, No. 1:15-CV-02845, 2016 WL 482981 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 5, 2016).
Special thanks to Matt Feldman for his contributions.
From airports and train stations to government offices, restaurants, grocery stores and retailers, the use of kiosk machines is widespread as a convenience for customers and an alternative to human service by the kiosk provider. Long gone are the days where an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) was the only form of kiosk a person might need to use. It is now commonplace to find common service functions are now performed through kiosk solutions. As the use of kiosks grows, so does the need to ensure they are accessible and usable for all people, including those with disabilities.
The application of accessibility standards to kiosk machines
While there is no universal set of standards that provide specific guidance around making kiosks accessible, there are standards that may be useful. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 standards provide direction in making web content accessible. These standards will be most applicable when the kiosk interface is presented in an HTML or web-based format. For example, a bank kiosk may allow customers to access account information from their online banking portal or a hotel might provide a kiosk to allow a customer to manage their stay or account information.
In addition, the U.S. government Section 508 standards may also be used to guide interface development. Specifically, these standards may apply to government related kiosk machines. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) contains standards for physical design considerations that may be useful in determining the physical requirements of a kiosk machine.
In addition to the broadly applied standards such as WCAG 2.0 and the ADA, specific industries may adopt or create specific standards unique to their environment. For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation created the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) which provides requirements around the accessibility of airline industry technologies. The ACAA identifies specific standards on how and when their kiosks should be made accessible. Other industries may wish to use standards such as the ACAA as a starting place when developing their own regulations or standards.
Most Kiosks are considered stand alone or closed system, meaning users won’t have the flexibility to use personal assistive technology to access or interact with content or elements. This requires vendors to consider the needs of individual with varying abilities.
Unlike WCAG and Section 508, which provide precise guidelines and technical specifications related to accessibility, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) has taken a different approach with performance based objectives, more like the functional requirements in Section 508.
These objectives ensure a wide variety of user needs are built into these closed systems.
Generally – Manufacturers and service providers shall ensure that equipment and services covered by this part are accessible, usable, and compatible as those terms are defined in paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section.
Accessible – The term accessible shall mean that:
Input, control, and mechanical functions shall be locatable, identifiable, and operable in accordance with each of the following, assessed independently:
Operable without vision. Provide at least one mode that does not require user vision.
Operable with low vision and limited or no hearing. Provide at least one mode that permits operation by users with visual acuity between 20/70 and 20/200, without relying on audio output.
Operable with little or no color perception. Provide at least one mode that does not require user color perception.
Operable without hearing. Provide at least one mode that does not require user auditory perception.
Operable with limited manual dexterity. Provide at least one mode that does not require user fine motor control or simultaneous actions.
Operable with limited reach and strength. Provide at least one mode that is operable with user limited reach and strength.
Operable with a Prosthetic Device. Controls shall be operable without requiring body contact or close body proximity.
Operable without time dependent controls. Provide at least one mode that does not require a response time or allows response time to be by passed or adjusted by the user over a wide range.
Operable without speech. Provide at least one mode that does not require user speech.
Operable with limited cognitive skills. Provide at least one mode that minimizes the cognitive, memory, language, and learning skills required of the user.
Kiosk Considerations when making kiosks accessible
The following considerations are broadly useful when incorporating accessibility into a kiosk.
Kiosk Physical design
Are all controls on the kiosk tactilely distinguishable? For example, is it possible to identify the audio headphone jack by touch or by a tactile symbol?
Do controls have braille or large print labels? While putting braille labels on all keys on a standard QWERTY keyboard may not be necessary, it may be important to label special function keys or controls that are not standard on a traditional keyboard.
Is the height and spacing of the screen and controls appropriate for different types of users? An individual in a wheel chair may be viewing the screen from a lower angle than someone who is standing up.
Is there sufficient physical clearance around the machine for users with assistive mobility devices? A person in a wheelchair, scooter, or other mobility device may need more room to maneuver when approaching or leaving the machine.
Kiosk Interface design
What types of controls are needed to use the interface? For example, is a physical keyboard needed along with a touch screen in order for someone to enter text? Should a mouse, track ball, or touch pad device be present if a pointer is needed to use the interface? A person with a motor skills challenge may find it difficult to move their hand around a touch screen but may have no trouble using a track ball or touch pad pointer.
Can the visual presentation of the interface be customized? For example, can someone with a visual impairment zoom in or out to change the size of the onscreen font? Can someone who is color blind determine the functionality of controls by a method other than color alone?
Does the interface provide speech output? For someone who is blind or low vision, speech output (text-to-speech) may be the only way they can interact with the device. Does the text-to-speech function activate when headphones are inserted into the jack? If not, is there a clearly communicated way such as a braille sign for the user to know how to activate the text-to-speech function?
Does the interface reset to a standard configuration after each person uses it? The interface should always return to a default state after each user completes their tasks.
Accessible Kiosk Conclusion
In addition to the considerations listed above, it is important to ensure that the kiosk design is tested by people with various types of disabilities. This may include testing at various stages during the design and development process but at a minimum, user testing should be done once the design is complete. In addition, it will also be important to ensure that staff who may assist people using the kiosk understand what accessibility features are present and how to help someone use them. An accessibility feature is only as good as a person’s ability to use it and their knowledge that it exists in the first place. Staff may also wish to periodically test the accessibility features to verify they are always working as expected.
An accessible and well-designed kiosk machine can provide an efficient and independent experience for all users. As with all things related to accessibility, it is important to consider an accessible design from the very beginning. It is generally much more costly and inefficient to add accessibility after a product has been developed or is already in use.
U.S. Access Board to Conduct Webinars on Website Accessibility (September 5 and 24)
Access to websites is essential in today’s digital environment for obtaining information, downloading data, sharing media, obtaining goods and services, and making other transactions. Many websites, however, remain off-limits to people with disabilities, particularly those with sensory impairments, because they are not structured and coded properly for accessibility. The U.S. Access Board, which maintains accessibility standards for information and communication technology in the federal sector under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, is conducting free webinars in September on how to evaluate websites for accessibility.
An introductory webinar on September 5 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) will cover online barriers to accessibility and explain how to check that web content is accessible to all visitors using the Board’s Section 508 Standards. Presenters will review key components of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines issued by the World Wide Web Consortium, which are incorporated by reference in the Section 508 standards. They will also discuss common problems and easy solutions and share practical tips for improving website accessibility. Attendees can pose questions in advance or during the live webinar. This session is intended for both a general audience as well as website designers and content managers who are experienced, but new to accessibility.
For more information or to register for this session, visit www.accessibilityonline.org. This webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board. Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site.
Advanced Session – Webinars on Website Accessibility
A more advanced session will take place September 24 from 1:00 – 2:30 (ET) as part of the Board’s Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series. This session is intended for federal employees involved in procuring web services and products who may not have a technical background but who are responsible for compliance with Section 508. It will follow the “user story” of a non-technical federal employee who has been recently assigned 508 oversight responsibilities for a web services contract. Presenters will review requirements for web content in the 508 Standards and address technical requirements for procurement contracts, how to verify that procured services and deliverables are fully compliant, and available resources and tools for evaluating website accessibility and fixing access issues.
Visit www.accessibilityonline.org/cioc-508 for further details or to register. The Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series is made available by the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council in partnership with the Board.
They open the world. They eliminate discrimination. They ensure people are defined by potential. They change lives.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is an idea that became reality, which is why it’s important each year to pause to recognize the importance of this landmark law and what it means to so many of our fellow New Jerseyans and people across our nation.
uly 26 will mark the 29th anniversary of the ADA. That’s 29 years of changing lives and perceptions, of equal access and of making clear that we as a society will always stand for the rights of our family members, friends, neighbors, and countless people we’ve never met to live fulfilling lives, no matter their personal situation.
The ADA allows individuals with disabilities to participate in the world around them, and has likely changed lives in ways many could not have imagined when it became law in 1990, but while we pause each July to remember the benefits of the ADA and its importance, we also must honor its ideals each and every day of the year.
Understanding people with disabilities starts with empathy
We must move to address the social stigma surrounding this community.
The ADA provides clear and comprehensive national standards to eliminate discrimination against individuals with disabilities. As a result, individuals with disabilities, as is their right, can live in their home and have equal access to education, jobs, recreation, shopping and entertainment. It has helped shape our nation, but the work is not done. We must remain steadfast to the principles, aiming for greater inclusivity, equality and fairness.
I have the honor of being the director of New Jersey Department of Human Services’ Division of Disability Services, which works to streamline access to services and information to promote and enhance independent living for individuals with all disabilities.
Our goal is to promote maximum independence and full participation of people with disabilities within all aspects of community life.
Through our toll free hotline, 1-888-285-3036, the division responds to requests for assistance. Certified Information and referral specialists are available to confidentially discuss issues, provide information, assist with problem solving and refer individuals to appropriate agencies or services.
We also publish New Jersey Resources, a comprehensive guide to services available throughout the state. I urge everyone to download a copy.
We also administer some great programs such as the Traumatic Brain Injury Fund, and the Personal Assistance Services Program, both of which offer vital assistance to help individuals with disabilities live as independently as possible within our communities. Additionally, we can help people to access NJ ABLE, which allows individuals with disabilities to save for expenses without losing eligibility for their Medicaid and other benefits. And we work with our partners at Human Services, including the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Division of Developmental Disabilities, which serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The ADA rightfully opened the world to individuals with disabilities. We must ensure that equal access remains a priority, while doing whatever we can to assist individuals with disabilities to live full and independent lives. We are here to help. Give us a call or visit us at nj.gov/humanservices/dds/services/ to learn more. Together, we can continue ensuring people are defined by their potential. We can change lives.
Peri Nearon is the director of the New Jersey Division of Disability Services with the Department of Human Services.
The Department of Justice today announced payments by Greyhound Lines, Inc. totaling $2,966,000 to over 2,100 individuals who experienced disability discrimination while traveling or attempting to travel on Greyhound. The payments were part of a broader settlement from 2016 resolving the Department’s complaint that Greyhound, the nation’s largest provider of intercity bus transportation, engaged in a nationwide pattern or practice of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide full and equal transportation services to passengers with disabilities. The $2,966,000 amount is in addition to $300,000 paid by Greyhound in 2016 to specific individuals identified by the Department, bringing the total distributed to individuals to over $3,250,000. To read the press release regarding this event, click here. For more information about the ADA, call the Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or access the ADA website at www.ada.gov.
It is also a reminder of why it’s important to keep the pressure on government and private entities to make public places accessible to all.
“The sort of run-of-the mill storefronts, restaurants, retail store, those really should be accessible now and a lot are but too many still are not,” said Kenneth Shiotani, senior staff attorney for the National Disability Right Network, which is based in Washington, D.C.
He said outdoor spaces, such as beaches and trails, pose more challenges than man-made structures when it comes to accessibility and for that reason, new guidelines were set for them in 2013. But Meridian Hill Park, which boasts of having the largest cascading fountain in the country, seems much more structured than other outdoor spaces, he said.
“I think the wedding party had reasonable expectations that 30 years later [after the ADA was passed] a federal park would be accessible,” Shiotani said. “It’s a public park, it’s paid for by public dollars, it should ultimately be accessible for everybody.”
In March 2019 IKEA was praised for partnering with nonprofits to develop accessories that make its products more accessible for people with impairments. It’s a novel step forward but I can’t shake the feeling we need to reframe the conversation on accessibility in technology entirely. Accessibility should be a topic at the forefront of design. Here’s why:
Roughly one in five people in the US have registered with a disability, with a similar figure for the UK. But when creating new products or services, investing resources to make technology accessible for impaired users can seem like taking the scenic route to market. An expensive deviation from a lean go to market strategy.
It’s easy to toss accessibility considerations in the ‘nice to have’ bucket. ‘Accessibility as an afterthought’ is a frustration I’ve heard on repeat for the last decade. But to do this is to abandon a unique opportunity to unlock true innovation and realize a much bolder ambition.
The traits separating tasks that AI excels at, and those that remain distinctly human, are consistently cited as creativity, empathy, imagination, and vision. Indeed the Gospel of Jobs clearly states: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” So before we hand over the reins to AI, why don’t we focus on perfecting the human side of technology solutions.
If you’ve even dabbled in brainstorming techniques — or the hyper-trendy ‘design thinking’ — you’ll be familiar with the art of reframing a problem to see new solutions. What better way to do this than looking at new tech through the lens of our senses, with varying degrees of physical or sensory ability?
Thinking about impairments of sight, hearing, or touch from the outset forces designers, creators, and technologists to ‘look at’ problems from very different perspectives, and that brings opportunity for untold and exciting innovation.
2017 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households
The FDIC is committed to expanding Americans’ access to safe, secure, and affordable banking services. The FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households is one contribution to this end.
To assess the inclusiveness of the banking system, and in partial response to a statutory mandate, the FDIC has conducted the survey biennially since 2009.1 The most recent survey was administered in June 2017 in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, collecting responses from more than 35,000 households. The survey provides estimates of the proportion of U.S. households that do not have an account at an insured institution, and the proportion that have an account but obtained (nonbank) alternative financial services in the past 12 months. The survey also provides insights that may inform efforts to better meet the needs of these consumers within the banking system.
Estimates from the 2017 survey indicate that 6.5 percent of households in the United States were unbanked in 2017. This proportion represents approximately 8.4 million households. Some other estimates put that number as high as 50 million. An additional 18.7 percent of U.S. households (24.2 million) were underbanked, meaning that the household had a checking or savings account but also obtained financial products and services outside of the banking system.
The 2017 survey examines a number of additional topics, including the methods that banked households used to access accounts, bank branch visits, use of prepaid cards, use of alternative financial services, saving for unexpected expenses or emergencies, use of credit, and the methods that households used to conduct financial transactions in a typical month.
See economicinclusion.gov for survey findings, the ability to generate custom tables and charts using 2017 and earlier years of survey data, and data downloads and documentation.
The 2017 survey report, executive summary, and other related materials are linked below. (All items are PDF files. See PDF Help for assistance.)