Essential Insights into Accessibility Testing for Hardware

5 min read

What is accessibility hardware?

Within the context of accessibility testing, hardware includes any part of a product that can be physically touched, moved around in a room, held, or picked up. Hardware information and communication technology (ICT), or accessibility hardware, usually refers to any physical parts that comprise the device. (Here the term “device” includes a computer, printer, virtual reality headset, display, etc.)


Essential Insights into Accessibility Testing for Hardware

In the scope of accessibility testing, accessibility hardware may be as simple as a monitor with no physical controls or as complicated as a multifunction printer with an integrated screen and keyboard, multiple paper trays, or accessories that are added to hardware.


Key factors to consider in accessibility hardware testing

As a tester for accessibility hardware, you’re responsible for taking careful notes of the hardware’s accessibility testing as well as writing detailed remarks and explanations of your findings. Here are some important insights to help you deliver effective hardware accessibility testing:


  • Working from the perspective of the hardware’s end user

It is therefore insightful that you look at your accessibility testing work from the perspective of the hardware’s end user. That involves keeping in mind that individual user experiences vary.


  • Disability is diverse and individual

In accessibility hardware testing, you need to know that disability is diverse and individual. It may be temporary, acquitted, or lifelong. Therefore, two individuals with the same type of disability have different needs and preferences. This is an insight that every hardware accessibility testing professional should always keep in mind.


  • It is not a must that you have a comprehensive understanding of the hardware

Quality accessibility testing does not necessitate a comprehensive understanding of the hardware ICT targeted for accessibility testing, and nor does it require a complete understanding of the hardware’s total functionality. It rather requires one to have a consultative attitude so that if specific questions arise during the testing process, a technical person in the area can be consulted. This consultation may involve going over and over the user manual supplied with the hardware being tested.



  • Interaction of people with disabilities in the accessibility testing

A quality hardware accessibility test will paint a picture of how people with disabilities interacted with the targeted hardware during the test. That will include an account of any insights that convey useful information about the accessibility defects, workarounds, or limitations that people with disabilities will find useful when reading the test results.


  • Common everyday experiences with the hardware

Hardware ICT accessibility testing should be cognizant of the common and everyday experiences that real people in real situations usually have with the hardware. That entails asking questions like whether the hardware can be positioned and configured such that someone with a mobility limitation has a frictionless user experience when using it. It may also require establishing whether the tactile indicators on the hardware buttons enable an individual with low vision to effortlessly turn on the product.


  • Clarity in all testing protocols

The end goals for undertaking the hardware accessibility test should be to remediate the defects found and to document the incremental progress of making the hardware fully accessible through the audit and across the product lifecycles. To achieve that, clarity in all the testing protocols should be prioritized. This may require having a hardware accessibility audit template to serve as a guide for the evaluation process. 


A hardware accessibility audit template will help in accurately recording what is tested, including the hardware’s official name, code name, version, date tested, technical leads providing key information, any firmware associated with the product, available documentation, supporting software, etc.


  • Reproducibility of the test results 

Clear hardware ICT testing is crucial in ensuring the availability of communication to facilitate reproducible testing. When undertaking the testing, ensure you articulate the limitations and consistent rules that dictated what you included in the hardware accessibility test. This involves determining the parts of the hardware being tested and carefully recording in the test protocol the information so that the results correspond with the success criteria.


Need help with hardware accessibility testing?


Do you have hardware ICT that you want tested for accessibility or require a hardware accessibility audit template to guide you in testing the accessibility of your hardware? ADACP can assist you on achieving your accessibility testing goals. Reach out to them at (626) 486-2201 to schedule a free consultation.

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