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This discussion seems to assume that it is difficult or expensive to make a kiosk accessible. It is not. It may take a change in corporate processes, or in our culture. But neither the technologies or design requirements are new and novel. Amtrak, for example, has had accessible kiosks for many years as have many local train services. Airline kiosks are even easier, because they don’t have to be “hardened” for outside use.
You don’t have to use assistive technology to benefit from an accessible kiosk.
- Many of us have older eyes and value larger type. At least on my airline, they do this pretty well already.
- Audio can be very helpful for people who don’t read English well (but who can understand it when spoken).
- Easy-to-press buttons are useful when you are carrying bags.
If most of the $750 per unit cost is design and development, how can the airlines claim that costs do not go down with additional use.
And if they save $3.70 per passenger using a kiosk, it doesn’t take many passengers with disabilities to make up for the cost.
The real question is why we are not willing to put all of our impressive technology to work creating a world in which everyone is included. I love using the kiosks? Why would we assume that an independent person with disabilities wouldn’t, too.
Another standard worth looking at is the Election Assistance Commission’s Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG).
I applaud the inclusion of a standard set of symbols for common functions. Unlike a personal computer, we use many different airlines. It will help if they all have the same tactile symbols.
I think this says that completely new sites that come online 6 months after the regulations become effective. That is often a year or more after they are approved. That seems long enough.
Notice that it also allows a smaller airline, which might only redesign its site every 4-5 years to wait to comply until it does.
That means that full compliance might be 5-7 years out. At the speed of technology, that’s a REALLY LONG TIME>
Making a web site accessible is old technology. WCAG 2.0 was completed in ~2006 or 2007. The Section 508 refresh advisory committee finished at about the same time. That’s already 5 years ago. There’s no excuse for more delay.
Chapter 3 of the VVSG is only interesting because it specifically addresses kiosk-type systems, with no personal assistive technology. It draws on 508 and WCAG along with AADAG.
You can find it here: http://www.eac.gov/testing_and_certification/voluntary_voting_system_guidelines.aspx
Performance standards are entirely appropriate. Design standards set minimum characteristics, but only actual usability standards can make sure that the sites actually work. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been working on performance standards for voting systems, so this could follow in their path.
The challenge is creating an appropriate test that is neither too diffult or expensive. But since this is for web sites, it’s entirely possible to do.
Another way to set a performance standard is through actual performance. Not expert review, but a real usability test. The passing metrics could take into account variations in expertise of users, setting the bar at a reasonable place.
The DOT needs to work not only with the disability commuunity, but… more »
A feedback mechanism would be ideal. It would be better to have a way for consumers to report problems so they are fixed than for everything to turn into a lawsuit. « less
Based on conversations with kiosk vendors, DOT estimates that the additional $750 it costs to make a Kiosk accessible is a fixed cost that will not change over time. You can read more about their estimates in Section 5.5 of the Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA). As discussed in section 2 of this post, DOT believes that there are benefits to travelers with disabilities that can’t easily be given a dollar value. Are there other benefits to travelers with disabilities that DOT is missing?
This is an interesting suggestion, whitneyq, thanks. Could you provide a little bit more information on the guidelines, and perhaps a link to them, so that others can see what you mean? Also, what might make these better than the guidelines DOT is suggesting here?
Hello whitneyq. Since it would help to have a standard set of symbols, do you think that DOT should specify how the alphabetic keys are arranged so that the layout there is standard too?
Thanks whitneyq. Judging from your comments so far, it seems like you might have some expertise about the accessibility issues DOT is trying to tackle. Do you have a background or training in the area that would be helpful for DOT to know as it considers your comments?
Thanks for the link, whitneyq. Can you explain a little bit about what you think of the VVSG standard compared to DOT’s proposal? Or do you just see this as a source of standards DOT hasn’t addressed?