Exploring Core the Principles of Accessibility Hardware

4 min read

What is accessibility hardware?

Hardware is another form of information and communication technology (ICT) that also needs to be tested for accessibility. Accessibility hardware should particularly undergo a thorough hardware accessibility audit because of its role in enhancing access to digital information and services for people with disabilities.


Exploring Core the Principles of Accessibility Hardware


Accessibility hardware refers to the physical and visible components of a system or a wide array of equipment for the benefit of people with disabilities such as visual, hearing, learning, motor, and other disabilities who want to use them to access digital information or services.


Some of the common types of accessibility hardware include hardware assistive devices like specialized keyboards and mice, as well as mouth sticks, heads wands, button switches, and sip and puff switches for people who cannot use their hands to operate a computer.


Accessibility hardware testing

Accessibility hardware testing refers to using the appropriate hardware VPAT, or voluntary product accessibility template, to test the conformity of the hardware to the applicable accessibility requirements. Hardware VPAT testing seeks to ensure that people with mobility or dexterity disabilities can access the hardware.


Hardware accessibility testing requires in-depth evaluation of accessibility hardware to ensure it is accessible to all, including people with disabilities. Hardware accessibility certification should be prioritized by organizations and businesses so as to ensure accessibility isn’t just a one-time task. 


Core principles of accessibility hardware

The testing requires ongoing efforts, with one significant aspect being the creation of effective hardware accessibility cases for using a hardware VPAT to influence the design and development of accessible hardware that ensures inclusivity, helps fulfil the societal responsibility of eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities, and delivers better hardware ICT user experiences. 


For accessible hardware to deliver better user experiences for all users and eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities, it needs to be firmly founded on the following core principles for accessibility hardware:


  • Flexibility of use

Accessibility hardware requires that it be designed in ways that accommodate a wide range of individual user preferences and disabilities. When undertaking the hardware VPAT testing for such ICT, attention should be accorded to how flexible their use is.


  • Equitable use

Good accessibility hardware should be designed in a way that makes it useful to users with diverse abilities. The design of the hardware should be inclusive to enable it to be used by everyone, including users with disabilities.


  • Simple and intuitive

Great accessibility hardware is generally simple and intuitive. This means that their design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or concentration level.


  • Perceptible information

The design of accessible hardware should make the hardware able to communicate necessary information effectively to any person who uses the hardware, regardless of their disability status or the prevailing ambient conditions.


  • Low physical effort

The design of accessible hardware should ensure that the hardware can be used effectively, comfortably, and with minimum levels of fatigue. A good example is hardware with doors that open automatically or that are smart.


  • Size and space for approach and use

Accessibility hardware should be designed in ways that provide appropriate size and space for them to be approached, reached, manipulated, and used, regardless of the user’s body size, posture, or mobility.


  • Tolerance for error

Accessible hardware should also be designed in a way that minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unattended actions.


Need help with hardware VPAT testing?

To ensure that the above-mentioned core principles of accessibility hardware are integrated into your hardware for enhanced conformity with the accessibility requirements for different markets, you need the assistance of hardware VPAT testing experts like ADACP.  You can contact them at (626) 486-2201 to schedule a free consultation.

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