5 Physical impairments
5.4 Requirements of physically impaired people for interactive products
Physically impaired people will use general interactive devices in different ways, depending on their needs. For example, wheelchair users can use devices that are usable and reachable from a seated position. People who have limited use or control of their hands may be able to operate buttons or switches on various devices depending on the size of button, the distance between buttons, and the force required for the operation.
Considerations that need to be borne in mind by designers of interactive products in order to improve accessibility for physically impaired people include:
- Not requiring users to type. For example, speech recognition software might provide an alternative input channel.
- Buttons should be large, easy to press, and provide some tactile feedback.
- Portable devices should be easy to hold, robust if dropped, etc.
- Public service devices (e.g. banks’ automated teller machines) should be accessible to wheelchair users and people of restricted growth.
- There should be no time restrictions for completion of task or sub-task.
In addition, the requirements of physically impaired people for access to computers include:
- the ability to use the keyboard to operate all functions (this will enable compatibility with most types of assistive technology).