What is required for Kiosk Accessibility? The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits
discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. Building kiosks that are accessible for users with disabilities first relies on adhering to the ADA.
ADA compliance for kiosks
The ADA was originally enacted in 1990. It sets forth requirements for nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in public accommodations and commercial facilities. There are a few sections with direct applicability to the design, manufacturing, and placement of the kiosks. The sections that apply include 308.2 and 308.3 with regard to forward and side reach.
The height of any operable parts must also be within reach (Section 309). Operable parts should not require the use of two hands, or grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. In addition to the requirements for reach, approach requirements also apply (Sections 401-403.)
Kiosks with gates and those with tight placement and spacing must also consider maneuvering clearance and control heights (Section 404).
Section 707 of the ADA applies to Automatic Teller Machines and provides additional guidelines for ATM kiosks, and may provide additional insight for non-ATM kiosks, though are not directly applicable.
Additional Federal kiosk accessibility laws and guidelines
While the ADA covers the physical design requirements of a kiosk, additional requirements exist for kiosks deployed by the Federal government under Section 508. Section 508 covers all information technology, including computer hardware, software, and documentation, mandating compliance for websites, documents, and applications developed with US Federal funding or for US government agencies. Section 508 provides not just kiosk application requirements but also calls out hardware and accessibility software that is necessary to make kiosks accessible on a closed system (402. Closed Functionality).
In accordance with Section 508, WCAG 2.1 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) should be used to determine if the kiosk application is accessible for users who are blind or who have low vision, are deaf or have hearing loss, and more.
Specific industry requirements for accessible kiosks
Additional regulations have been released for specific industries. Through the Department of Transportation, the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) provides specific, detailed requirements for deploying an accessible air carrier kiosk. One such requirement is that one in four kiosks in each area must be accessible. To be considered accessible, the features of these kiosks must include audio jacks, tactilely discernible input controls, and screen reader software (speech output), among other requirements. These guidelines apply legally only to air carriers but provide a good baseline for kiosks deployed in other verticals; broader application has been seen across other transportation groups such as transit/train kiosks.
Next steps for building an accessible kiosk
The Paciello Group offers accessibility consulting to assist with creating an accessible kiosk through JAWS Kiosk – world leading JAWS screen reader technology with kiosk-specific features enabled for a seamless user experience.
If you have an existing kiosk deployment and are concerned about accessibility issues, we have extensive experience in kiosk accessibility retrofitting and remediation, both voluntary and legally required.