This March 11th-13th, Vispero will be leading multiple presentations on kiosk accessibility at CSUN’s Annual Accessibility Conference being held in Anaheim, CA. Vispero’s Vice President and subject matter expert Matt Ater, will lead a panel of kiosk accessibility experts on “Lessons Learned from Developing Accessible Kiosks”. The panel will include KMA Accessibility Board co-chair Peter Jarvis, Senior Executive VP at Storm Interface, among others. Kiosk accessibility and usability will be discussed in a presentation called “Kiosk Accessibility: Understanding the Kiosk User Experience”, kiosk industry veteran Laura Boniello Miller and usability expert Rachael Bradley Montgomery will discuss the perspective of the kiosk user and how deployers can best accommodate users with disabilities. Vispero’s Ryan Jones will lead a session, “JAWS Kiosk: What Is It and When Would I Use It” to assist in using the JAWS screen reader in accessible kiosk deployments. Along with the presentations you can visit the Vispero booths in the Marquis Ballroom, #503, #603, and #703 to see accessible kiosks in action, including kiosks from Olea, Pyramid and SeePoint. Vispero will also be hosting an accessible Escape Room, and on-site registration will be available using an accessible kiosk powered by JAWS, located in the Vispero Showcase Suite.
Vispero has added support for the new Storm Assistive Technology device, the new Extended Functionality AudioNav. JAWS will continue to support the Storm AudioNav and other assistive technology devices by Storm as they are added.
Mark your calendars for this year’s Keynote Address at the Conference which will be held March 10, Tuesday evening, at 5:30 pm. A Welcome Reception will follow the Keynote Address.
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Rory Cooper will be the Keynote Speaker for this year’s conference. Dr. Rory A. Cooper holds several prestigious positions including Associate Dean for Inclusion and FISA & Paralyzed Veterans of America Distinguished Professor of Rehabilitation Science and Technology and Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also the Founding Director and the VA Senior Research Career Scientist at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories. He holds an adjunct professorship at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University and is also a Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.
A prolific writer, he has published over 300 peer-reviewed articles and three books, including the award-winning Care of the Combat Amputee. He has over 25 patents awarded or pending. Dr. Cooper’s students have been the recipients of over 50 national and international awards. A Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and other scholarly organizations, he is the recipient of the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Medal.
In May of this year, he was honored in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian Institute Museum of American History with a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office inventor trading card and portrait.
Dr. Cooper’s contributions are impressive and numerous. The Keynote Address should be an enlightening and rewarding talk to kick off the 2020 CSUN Conference.
Come to the 2020 Exhibit Hall and experience first-hand the cutting-edge assistive technology offered in over 100 booths. For 34 years, thousands have attended the CSUN Conference’s free Exhibit Hall to have the opportunity to directly interact with the providers who develop the technology, products and services designed to promote inclusion for people with disabilities.
The Exhibit Hall is located in the Grand Ballroom and Marquis Ballroom on the lobby level of the hotel. Be one of the first to explore the latest innovative technology when doors open on Wednesday, March 11 at 12:00 pm. We also welcome you to attend the Exhibit Hall Opening Reception at 12:30 pm.
17757 US Hwy 19 N Ste 560 Clearwater, FL 33764 United States
Vispero™ is the world’s leading assistive technology provider for the visually impaired. We have a long history of developing and providing innovative solutions for blind and low vision individuals that help them reach their full potential. At Vispero, we inspire hope, determination, and independence through our family of brands: Freedom Scientific, Enhanced Vision, Optelec, and The Paciello Group.
Interactive touchscreens are quickly becoming a key player in the kiosk world. Businesses ranging from fast-casual restaurants to health care facilities and mall makeup stores are finding uses for touchscreen-based kiosks, offering services ranging from food ordering to patient check-in to complexion matching.
The latest of the many reports forecasting the growth of the kiosk industry predicts the market will increase at a 9.7 percent compound annual growth rate, reaching $88.3 billion by 2022 from $46.1 billion in 2015. Drivers of that growth include increased customer’s interest towards self service, development in the retail and entertainment industries and innovations in touchscreen display and glass technology. The retail industry holds the lion’s share of the market, with about 40 percent of the overall revenue.
The growth of touchscreen-based self service hasn’t been without its challenges, though. Foremost among them has been the issue of making that technology available to all users, including those with disabilities. Another has been the expanded form factors such as tablets on the low end and large 85-inch touchscreens on the high side. That’s a shift from the mostly 17-inch and 19-inch screens that dominate the ATM, airline and POS self-checkout precursor worlds.
The compliance conundrum
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that about 19 percent of the country’s population, or about 57 million people, have some form of disability. Those include 8.1 million people who have difficulty seeing, including 2 million who were blind or unable to see. In addition, about 7.6 million people have impaired hearing. Roughly 30.6 million have problems walking or climbing stairs, or use a wheelchair, cane, crutches or walker, and 19.9 million people had challenges lifting and grasping. This includes difficulty lifting an object or grasping a pencil (or pressing buttons on a touchscreen interface).
To ensure those with disabilities can enjoy the same rights as everyone, in 1990 Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The law was designed to afford protections against discrimination similar to those of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications and access to state and local government programs and services.
For a business that incorporates kiosks into its operations, that generally means that a kiosk needs to be useable by all of its customers, no matter what their physical challenges may be. In many cases meeting that standard is easier said than done.
“ADA concerns are pretty much the same concerns that one would have for any type of a consumer self-service interactive solution,” said Ron Bowers, senior vice president of business development at Grafton, Wisconsin-based kiosk vendor Frank Mayer & Associates. “Some individual deployments are only adhering to the accessibility-by-wheelchair aspect.”. “Some individual deployments are only adhering to the accessibility-by-wheelchair aspect.”
Unfortunately, those basic accommodations can result in a business overlooking more than 35 million potential customers.
It’s worth noting that a large percentage of customers in wheelchairs also suffer from physical impairment.
Some of the biggest challenges kiosk deployers face is the degree of interpretation that must be applied to some of the regulations. How many accessible units and what level of accessibility constitutes acceptable access? Another is new regulations and retrofitting existing units can be problematic, said Craig Keefner, manager for Olea Kiosks.
“Complicating retrofits can be the issue of recertifying for UL,” Keefner said. “One change to the overall machine can require the new configuration to be recertified. If Walmart has to change all of its self-checkouts, that’s a big change.”
To help add clarity to exactly what kiosk deployers must do to be ADA compliant, in mid-September the Architectural and Transportation Barriers and Compliance Board released a final rule for electronic and information technologies used by federal agencies as well as guidelines for customer premises equipment and telecommunications equipment, including kiosks. The Access Board is an independent federal agency devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities.
A sample of the guidelines for kiosks outlined in the Access Board rule
In general, devices with a display screen shall be speech-output enabled for full and independent use by individuals with vision impairments.
Speech output shall be provided for all information displayed on-screen.
Where speech output is required, braille instructions for initiating the speech mode of operation shall be provided.
Devices that deliver sound, including required speech output, shall provide volume control and output amplification.
At least one mode of operation shall be operable with one hand and shall not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. The force required to activate operable parts shall be 5 pounds (22.2 N) maximum.
The final rule is listed in the Federal Register. Covered organizations must meet compliance standards by Jan. 18, 2018.
Although much of the language in the final rule will likely keep lawyers busy for years to come, there are some guidelines that are easy to interpret. In general, the rules say that the technology with a display screen shall be speech-output enabled for full and independent use by individuals with vision impairments. Input controls shall be operable by touch and tactilely discernible without activation.
Running the risk
Missing out on revenue from millions of customers with disabilities is just one of the pitfalls of not complying with ADA regulations, or at least making every effort to make sense of the standards.
For violations that occurred after April 28, 2014, the maximum civil penalty for a first violation of ADA regulations is $75,000. For a subsequent violation, the maximum civil penalty is $150,000.
In addition, self-service kiosks are increasingly a target for ADA lawsuits. In March 2017, for example, the American Council of the Blind filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against fast casual restaurant chain Eatsa on behalf of a blind customer. Under Eatsa’s business model, customers order from tablet-based kiosks and pick up their food from a cubicle when it’s ready.
Customer Michael Godino claims he was unable to use a self-order kiosk in an Eatsa to place an order because the kiosks weren’t accessible for blind customers.
“Because the self-service mobile applications, touchscreen tablets, and visually-marked cubbies Eatsa utilizes rely on exclusively visual displays and do not provide any form of audio output or tactile input, Eatsa’s design is entirely inaccessible to blind customers,” according to the lawsuit.
Restaurants aren’t the only businesses open to ADA lawsuits. A proposed class action suit against mall operator Simon Property Group claims a Proactiv skincare products kiosk, located in the Simon-run Miami Mall in Florida, discriminates against blind and visually impaired individuals. The lawsuit argues the Proactiv automated retail kiosk, which uses a touchscreen display, doesn’t offer a way for blind consumers to purchase its products.
“Sighted customers can independently browse, select, and pay for Proactiv brand skincare products at the Miami Mall Proactiv kiosk. However, blind customers are denied the opportunity to participate in this retail service,” the complaint reads. “Moreover, [the defendant] has failed to provide an alternative channel for blind customers to enjoy the retail service provided through the Proactiv kiosk, such as the training of qualified readers to assist visually impaired and blind customers.”
There are about 1,000 Proactiv kiosks in malls in the United States, Canada and Japan.
And just in case a business operator thinks having a staff member on hand to assist disabled customers with using self-service technology, chances are that’s not enough to keep from running afoul of the ADA.
“It depends on the application and if the assistant is as available as the kiosk to provide services,” said Adam Aronson, CEO of San Rafael, Calif.-based Lilitab Tablet Kiosks. Lilitab designs, engineers and markets a range of tablet kiosk products. “If the cashier typically has longer lines than the kiosk, that’s not the same service level,” Aronson said.
While lawsuits against kiosk deployers related to ADA compliance are always a concern, other dangers include the negative publicity from being perceived as a business that is insensitive to the needs of disabled customers. Just a few months ago cable news was filled images of U.S. Capital Police forcibly removing disabled demonstrators from a protest over the Senate’s now-defunct health care bill. Nobody wants their business to be featured in similar reporting.
Of course, things are rarely simple when it comes to government regulations and the ADA is no different. Complicating the landscape is HR 620, the “ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017,” currently making its way through Congress. According to the Center for American Progress the bill, sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), would require anyone seeking to file a lawsuit against a business for ADA violations to first provide written notice to that business, outlining the provisions of the law that apply to the violation. Business owners would then have 60 days to acknowledge the violation and another 120 days to at least make “substantial progress” towards rectifying it.
Opponents of the bill claim it would gut enforcement of the ADA by allowing businesses to stall the correction of violation for months or years, while those in favor say it would prevent the “drive-by lawsuits” that end up forcing business owners to pay settlements to lawyers who make a career out of filing ADA suits. The ADA bars the awarding of monetary damages in successful lawsuits, but does allow the awarding of “a reasonable attorney’s fee.”
Meeting the challenge
In an effort to sort through the confusion over ADA guidelines, kiosk deployers are taking their own steps to accommodate disabled users.
The easiest steps to take are those that offer access to individuals in wheelchairs or who are otherwise vertically challenged. That includes offering at least one kiosk with an adjustable height or a lower point of access.
“Swiveling mounts or adjustable height mounts may assist in accessibility – but they don’t solve the problem just by being available,” said Laura Miller, director of marketing with York, Pa.-based KioWare Kiosk Software.
“The physical placement of the kiosk is just as important as the presence of accessibility features and testing is needed even with the purchase of an accessible kiosk,” she said. “If the path to the kiosk is too narrow to approach head on, for instance, it becomes moot that the kiosk itself is accessible because getting to the kiosk is too challenging or the space too constricted. Vertical and horizontal reach must be considered.”
As mentioned earlier, though, making the kiosk available to those in a wheelchair isn’t enough.
“No longer can you get away with a kiosk just being ‘reachable’,” said Frank Olea, CEO of Cerritos, Calif.-based Olea Kiosks. “Most companies will say their product is ADA compliant, but they fail to mention they’ve only covered a very small spectrum of individuals with disabilities. Sure, someone in a wheelchair can reach the screen, but serving people with disabilities goes far beyond that.”
As demonstrated by the Eatsa scenario, one of the biggest challenges in deploying interactive self-service technology is accommodating visually impaired users. A touchscreen relies heavily on users being able to see the screen, so deployers need to find ways to communicate that information in other ways.
“Without access to speech feedback for on screen contents and a method for determining what item the user is activating, a person who is blind or visually impaired cannot effectively make use of a touchscreen or tablet based kiosk,” said staff at the American Foundation for the Blind.
“For those with low vision, small or ornate fonts are difficult, if not impossible, to read,” AFB officials said. “Low contrast between the foreground and background can also make on-screen and print-labeled items difficult to read.”
In addition, glare on the screen and on any print-labeled areas of the machine can cause readability barriers for people with low vision, the AFB said.
“What I advise people to do is to recreate a version of the kiosk software that can be used by people with visual problems,” said Mike James, CEO of Washington D.C.-based Kiosk Group Inc.
“Information can be presented in large text and contrasting colors for people who are marginally blind, and to have a system for audio feedback for those who are completely blind,” James said. Those prompts can be used in conjunction with Braille keyboards to assist with navigation.
Accommodating users with hand mobility issues is a concern as well. An ‘Automated Passport Solution’ Olea built for deployment in the Dallas Fort Worth Airport incorporates the Nav-Pad, a keypad designed by London-based Storm Interface that provides accessibility to a kiosk’s functions for those with physical or sensory impairments. The APS kiosk shortens the clearance process for international travelers by collecting biographical and passport information from passengers before they are seen by a customs officer.
The Nav-Pad, developed in partnership with the Trace Research & Development Center, was originally designed for use in military and industrial applications where the user might be wearing heavy gloves. One of the pioneers in the space, Storm Interface also offers the Audio-Nav Keypad, an assistive USB device offering menu navigation by means of audio direction.
The work continues
As ADA compliance becomes a bigger and bigger issue for hardware manufacturers, software developers and kiosk deployers, a variety of industry groups are working to develop solutions that can meet the needs of disabled users.
The Kiosk Industry Association, for example, has formed an ADA working group and committee expressly for ADA to try and standardize guidelines for the industry. A big initiative for the association is meeting with the US Access Board directly to help communicate industry information and context to the standards body directly.
Other organizations with ADA initiatives include the Electronic Transactions Association, which has also formed a working group. The ETA represents more than 500 companies worldwide involved in electronic transaction processing products and services, working to influence, monitor and shape the payments industry by providing leadership through education, advocacy and the exchange of information.
“The purpose of the group is to promote compliance and the development and deployment of products and services to help ensure access to the payment system,” said Meghan Cieslak, ETA’s director of communications. “The group is comprised of industry experts, start-ups, as well as ISOs and VARs – all focused on helping disabled Americans access the payment system.”
The Kiosk Industry Association is consulting with the ETA on access initiatives and has also enlisted the assistance of the ATM Industry Association which already has a formal ADA document via EFTA for their members.
It’s also critical for deployers to think about accessibility from the very beginning of a kiosk project. A paper co-authored by Peter Jarvis and Nicky Shaw, both from Storm Interface, along with Robin Spinks from the U.K.’s Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) included the following recommendations:
“Accessibility is most effectively achieved when adopted as a primary system specification,” the group wrote.
“It is most successfully implemented if considered during the concept design process,” they wrote. “Accessibility should be a primary objective during the origination of hardware solutions, application software and content to be delivered.”
In addition, consideration should also be given to the environment in which the system will be installed, they wrote, and that terminals located in public or unsupervised environments will need to survive regular cleaning and sanitization procedures using sprayed liquid disinfectants and other cleaning agents.
Along with providing hardware designed for accessibility, the application or website on the kiosk must be built with more than a cursory nod toward compliance in order to have these other components “work” in a successful and accessible deployment. The kiosk system software can utilize accessibility features and the hardware can provide sound, include keyboards and be height adjustable, but if the application isn’t built with accessibility in mind, or modified to make sure accessibility features are fully integrated, usability and accessibility will suffer for it.
These concerns, and others, are driving the various partnerships on ADA issues.
“It was pretty much a no-brainer for us to go ahead and work together on standardizing,” Keefner said.
“I’ve been really passionate about it and I’ve talked to kiosk manufacturers about binding together to create standards on kiosk design so people who walk up to a kiosk know where to find the audio jack, know where to find the braille keyboard or whatever,” said Kiosk Group’s Mike James. “Those features could be the same for every project.”
Unfortunately, despite the additional clarification on access rules it’s likely that in the short term it’s likely that many compliance issues are likely to be hashed out in court.
“It seems that there are a few people out there who have made it their job to litigate any non-ADA-compliant situations that arise,” Miller said. “This is not exclusive to kiosks, but they have not been completely spared, and while it seems relatively obscure at this point, those individuals looking for violations will likely eventually hit on the existence of kiosks as fodder for their litigious pursuits.”
I wanted to congratulate you both on an excellent and informative article. Thank you for helping to bring the importance of ADA and ACAA mandates to the attention of the Kiosk Industry and to those agencies deploying and operating ICT in public environments. Thanks also for recognizing Storm Interface in the text of the article and for including some of those images showing deployed installations. We are constantly working to improve and add to the range of accessibility and assistive technology products available to kiosk designers. There are some exciting new developments in process which will help to deliver the “multi-modal” methods of system interface that are widely predicted to be the next big step in system accessibility. The priority will be to ensure our partners in the kiosk industry are kept aware of and fully supported in the deployment of Assistive Technology Products (ATP).
Hopefully your article will receive the recognition it deserves and I will have an opportunity to work with you both to maintain awareness of accessibility issues within the kiosk industry.
KMA Kiosk Manufacturer Association Booth at NRF 1725
See Kiosk Association at booth 1725 with top-tier kiosk software and kiosk enclosure companies from around the world. Come and visit 1725!
PRESS RELEASEUPDATED: JAN 8, 2019 07:00 MST
WESTMINSTER, Colo., January 8, 2019 (Newswire.com) – Come and meet the Kiosk Manufacturer Association (KMA) at NRF in booth 1725. Over 350 companies represented including Olea Kiosks, KioWare, Pyramid, Kiosk Information Systems and Intel Corporation. The client list includes McDonald’s, NIKE, FAO Schwartz, IKEA, Kaiser Permanente, AMC Theaters, MoneyGram, the Veterans Administration, Hertz, FedEx, UPS and many more. Learn more about kiosk software, kiosk hardware, devices, services and support from the largest group of companies dedicated to self-service around the world.
In addition KMA supports regulatory efforts for ADA, Accessibility, and EMV. Harmonizing U.S. and European standards in ADA is the major goal in KMA workings and meetings with the U.S. Access Board.
At NRF, KMA is launching a new Industry Advisory Council to assist in developing the standards used and the self-service industry as a whole. Companies interested in self-service are invited to join and become the KMA “working” industry board. There is no cost and a “safe harbor” is maintained. KMA has a wealth of research, past and current, which can help gauge the market as well.
Highlighted in KMA booth
Get a firsthand look at Appetize’s modern, enterprise point of sale software on Olea‘s Austin countertop self-service kiosk at NRF! With the Kiosk Manufacturer Association, Appetize brings cutting-edge self-service technology to the retail industry. Make sure to swing by Booth #1725 to meet the team and get a demo of the product!
F.A.O. Schwarz, an iconic toy store, has kiosk-like stations equipped with iPads with an engaging user experience that allows guests to build their own model car. From choosing the body, paint, wheels, and accessories, to the accompanied auto body shop sound effects, the interactive experience is the first part of a two-stage process. In stage two the guest works with the team in the F.A.O. garage to put together the model car they just designed — the collaboration between Nanonation and F.A.O. Schwarz is experience retail at its best.
On-hand for information will be KioWare and CEO Jim Kruper. New EMV and facial recognition options have been released in the industry’s first affordable software suit (less than $100). Stop by and learn about the latest in kiosk software from an expert.
Sponsors and Member Also At the Show
Pyramid Computer UK Ltd — For 30 years Pyramid has been manufacturing high-performance computer systems at its factories in Germany and Taiwan with sales offices in Germany, UK, and North America. Screen focus is on 24″ and 32″. Pyramid “polytouch®” branded kiosk designs are leading in European Retail, Hospitality, and QSR markets. See booth 4545.
With the passing of the 41st president, it’s worth remembering what may be his signature achievement.
Richard Slawsky is an Educator and freelance writer, specializing in the digital signage and kiosk industries.Louisville, Kentucky Area
The death of former president George H.W. Bush Nov. 30 at age 94 prompted a host of reminiscing in the media. Bush’s passing, many wrote, was the end of an era where politicians acted like ladies and gentlemen, treating friend and foe alike with dignity and respect.
Much of it was revisionism, of course. Bush’s Willie Horton campaign ad in his 1988 battle with Michael Dukakis is still discussed in political science classes because of its racial overtones. Many of the tactics used in his 1992 campaign against Bill Clinton, buoyed by the spread of the Internet, set the stage for the dysfunction currently plaguing both media and government. And one might argue that the effects of Bush’s handling of the invasion of Iraq are still being felt today.
Still, Bush guided the country through perilous waters as the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed. And if there was something alive during Bush’s time that seems to be gone today, it’s the ability to compromise; for opposing sides to come together and accomplish something for the greater good.
On July 26, 1990, Bush signed what’s been called the most sweeping civil rights legislation enacted since the 1960s: The Americans with Disabilities Act. The signing came just weeks after the bill sailed through Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support.
And while the effectiveness of the ADA remains a subject for debate, there’s no doubt about its impact on the kiosk industry, the country at large and most importantly, the lives of people with disabilities.
Long in the making
Although the ADA was codified into law during Bush’s tenure, it has its roots in the three pieces of major civil rights legislation passed in the 1960s: the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968. According to the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covered employers, those receiving federal funds and places of public accommodation such as restaurants and bus stations, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, religion and national origin.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 protects the voting rights of minorities, while the Civil Rights Act of 1968 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin and sex in the sale and rental of housing.
None of that legislation, though, covered people with disabilities. It wasn’t until the next decade when the country saw significant movement on disability rights. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibited discrimination on the basis of disability in federal programs and by recipients of federal financial assistance. In 1975, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act mandated that public schools accepting federal funds provide equal access to education for children with physical and mental disabilities. The act was revised and renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 1990.
Although the 70s-era legislation was a start, it was the ADA that addressed discrimination against people with disabilities in many employment situations and public accommodations in the private sector. The bill’s effect wasn’t confined to the United States. According to Patrisha Wright, co-founder of the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, the ADA served as the inspiration for the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and has prompted several other countries to pass similar legislation.
An unlikely champion
Although Bush championed the ADA’s passage, his support for disability rights legislation was something that few could have predicted. According to Lex Frieden, executive director of the National Council on the Handicapped, Bush had a major encounter with disability issues in the public sphere when then-President Ronald Reagan appointed him to oversee a task force that was working to weaken the Education for All Handicapped Children Act.
“Parents of kids with disabilities heard about that and began to call and write the White House and express their anger and angst to Vice President Bush,” Frieden told the Pacific Standard. “He was taken aback about that. He addressed his staff and told them back off [from gutting the EHCA].”
In addition, many in government were actively in favor of disability rights legislation, including then-Sen. Robert Dole of Kansas, who suffered wounds in World War II that left his right arm permanently disabled and his left arm minimally functional, and former White House Press Secretary James Brady, who was left partially paralyzed after being shot in March 1980 during John Hinckley’s assassination attempt on President Reagan. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, whose brother was deaf, was the chief sponsor of the ADA in the Senate.
“It’s been the work of a true coalition, a strong and inspiring coalition of people who have shared both a dream and a passionate determination to make that dream come true,” Bush said at the signing, according to the. “It’s been a coalition in the finest spirit—a joining of Democrats and Republicans, of the legislative and the executive branches, of federal and state agencies, of public officials and private citizens, of people with disabilities and without.”
Much left to be done
The ADA has remained controversial since its passage, garnering criticism for the barrage of lawsuits it has prompted over the years.
At the same time, much of the technology we use in our daily lives wasn’t even in existence in 1990, so many technology providers are working to accommodate those with disabilities despite vague and often-changing government guidance. In many cases, the kiosk industry is at the forefront of those efforts.
Kiosk manufacturers have long adhered to dimension standards to ensure their devices can be accessed by those in wheelchairs, and have included assistive technologies such as audio headset connections and the ability to adjust text size on displays. Over the past few years, companies such as Storm Interface have developed touchpads, voice recognition capabilities and other tools to make it easier for those with limited hand motion and other disabilities to access kiosks, while companies such as GestureTek have developed video gesture technologies that enable sight-impaired people to interact with touchscreens.
And not long ago, the Kiosk Manufacturers Association created a working group of kiosk manufacturers and other experts to help address usability and compliance issues.
So while every issue with ADA compliance when it comes to kiosks can’t be foreseen, and many are left to the courts to decide, the industry continues to work towards making self-service technology accessible by all.
Nearly 40 years ago, George H.W. Bush laid down a challenge to make the United States a place where people with disabilities wouldn’t be excluded from the conveniences of life we all enjoy. There’s still much to be done, but the kiosk industry is working every day to meet that challenge.
Kiosk Manufacturer Association with ADA, NRF, and Emergency Kiosk updates
PRESS RELEASEUPDATED: OCT 8, 2018 05:00 MDT
EASTLAKE, Colo., October 8, 2018 (Newswire.com) – The Kiosk Manufacturer Association (aka KMA) is pleased to announce the appointments of inaugural Chairpersons for the ADA and Accessibility Committee.
Laura Miller of KioWare (https://kioware.com) and Randy Amundson of Frank Mayer, Inc. (https://frankmayer.com) have been named as Co-Chairperson for the ADA and Accessibility Committee. Both Laura and Randy have extensive experience in both software and hardware aspects of self-service technology and how assistive technology best serves the public.
The Kiosk ADA and Accessibility Committee includes:
As of 2015, according to U.S. Census surveys, over 12% of all persons in the United States have some type of disability and that number is growing.
To help address disabilities and the ADA regulations, the KMA has recently released a proposed framework for Voice Recognition and Speech Command. Working with the U.S. Access Board directly, the KMA is hopeful that a proposed Code-of-Practice can be adopted for this type of assistive technology. Public comment and working group participation is encouraged and only requires expertise and experience.
This is intended for global adoption with much of the input by the UK’s Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
In another related public service, the KMA recently released a white paper describing emergency alert and detection technologies for public terminals for use in education, government, retail, transportation, hospitality and entertainment segments. Smart City and smart transportation are target markets. Mission critical public safety tools are the proposed end solution.
The purpose of the document is to define how Wayfinding Technology, Digital Signage and Kiosks can be networked and used to detect and/or prevent active shooter and mass casualty attacks and expedite the response of Law Enforcement and Emergency Services First Responders to catastrophic events in large public venues. We focus on several of the most respected technology providers in the industry and how they would each play a critical role as foundational partners to bring a combined solution to market.
The KMA has joined as a member of the National Retail Federation in order to help communicate education and issues on self-service kiosk technology. The most public iteration of this technology is in the QSR or Fast Casual segment where companies such as McDonalds and Wendy’s have chosen to adopt in order to serve all of their customers as they wish to be served.
In January 2019 in New York, the KMA will be exhibiting on the main floor of NRF’s Big Show and will be accepting members from providers to deployers. An Advisory Panel of companies deploying self-service which can provide their unique perspective on all of the above issues is the objective. See us in 1725.
Kiosk Hall of Fame – we are now taking nominations for hall of fame candidates. Marsha Mazz of U.S. Access Board, John Glitsos of FirstWave and Dave Heyliger of Rocky Mountain Multimedia are the initial candidates. See https://kioskindustry.org/kiosk-about/kiosk-hall-fame/
For more information on all of these items, visit https://kioskindustry.org the communication site for the KMA. You can also contact Craig Keefner the manager at email@example.com
“Satellite” websites include RetailSystems.org, Selfservice.io and ThinClient.org. We are hosted at Rackspace, the premier hosting solution (especially during Prime Day). Last month we had 35,000 unique visitors, last 30 days Cloudflare humans = 28,500 Join our LinkedIn Group with over 1600 members.
Source: Kiosk Manufacturer Association
Kiosk Manufacturer Association News – ADA Committee Chairpersons for KMA Announced was last modified: October 10th, 2018 by News Editor
NEW to KioWare for Android – Support Added for Storm Assistive Technology Products
“Accessibility should be a strong consideration for any kiosk deployment. With this release, both KioWare for Windows and KioWare for Android support the heavily tested and well-respected Storm ATP suite of keypads, keyboards & other accessibility products.” ~ Laura Miller of KioWare.
KioWare has released a new version of KioWare for Android kiosk software supporting Storm Assistive Technology Products such as the Nav-Pad, Nav-Bar and AudioNav. KioWare kiosk software products lock down your device into kiosk mode, turning your tablet into a secure kiosk or purposed device for self-service, digital signage, or mobile device management deployments.
Kiosk Accessibility Made Easy
Version 3.16 of KioWare Basic & KioWare Full for Android now includes support for Storm’s ATP devices. These ADA compliant devices allow users with impaired vision, reading difficulties or impaired fine motor skills to navigate through menus or directories that would typically be presented on a visual display or touch screen. They are designed to provide a tactile/audio interface for any accessible self-service application. Devices supported include the Nav-Pad, Nav-Bar and AudioNav. KioWare for Android offers out of the box compatibility for those that want to make their Android self-service or purposed device experience accessible. Prior to this integration, devices running the Android OS were quite limited in their ability to provide an accessible self-service solution.
Additional New Features and Improvements
KioWare for Android 3.16 has also added features to improve the ability to provision Android devices. Android devices may now be provisioned via a USB storage device. Provisioning support has also been added for running shell scripts.
Secure File Browser
A secure file browser has been added to allow users to open a file browser and select a file to upload. With new security features, users can be restricted to browse only allowed files and folders on the file system. New functionality includes the ability for users to take new photos and videos or browse this file system for existing files.
Multiple Exit Passcodes & Actions
Different exit passcodes can now be used to call different exit actions. This allows for actions to be taken based on the exit passcode entered. Deployers can vary permissions based on user need.
Reboot Schedule Management
Reboot schedules can now be used on devices that are rooted.
View all updates to KioWare for Android version 3.16 here.
A license is needed for each deployed kiosk running KioWare for Android. Quantity pricing is available. Annual support and maintenance are recommended, and current support is required in order to upgrade. View a full description of features for this and other versions of the KioWare product line. These products are available as a free trial download. Existing clients have the ability to upgrade. KioWare has been providing OS, desktop, and browser lockdown security for the kiosk and self-service industry since 2001 and Android software since 2012.
Android Kiosk Software Supports ADA Assistive Technology was last modified: July 31st, 2018 by News Editor
Congress Votes on H.R. 620 which impacts ADA kiosk
aka ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017
Update: The House passed the bill 2/15/2018 along party lines.
The ADA Education and Reform Act, or H.R.620, is slated to come up for a full vote in the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday or Thursday. But detractors say the bill would gut the part of the landmark ADA law which requires public businesses to make accommodations allowing for ease of entry for people with disabilities.
Something needs to be done about predatory lawyers for sure but this doesn’t do it. It basically drops the bar for companies a couple of notches and eliminates any legal action. Remains to be seen whether companies decide long term it is in their interest to deploy assistive infrastructure now, or later.
ADA lawsuits are already one of the lowest categories of lawsuits filed against businesses. The Center for American Progress has reported that the small uptick in ADA litigation can be attributed to “just 12 individual attorneys and a single disability law firm” which filed more than 100 cases each.
The likely outcome we predict is a vote along party lines in the house passes the bill and then it goes to the Senate where it will likely be blocked.
Another point of view: Seems it only adds a 180 window to the process of filing suit is all. You get 180 to make significant improvements. What determines significant vs. insignificant? So long as there is real money available through these lawsuits you’ll have trolls.
The entrance to the post office in a small town was up a flight of 20 steps. When told he needed to make the post office accessible to wheelchair users, the postmaster was befuddled. “I’ve been here for thirty-five years and in all that time I’ve yet to see a single customer come in here in a wheelchair,” he said, according to Joe Shapiro in his 1994 book, “No Pity.”
Back in 1990, President Bush told the business community they hold in their hands the key to the success of the ADA, for it can “unlock a splendid resource of untapped human potential that, when freed, will enrich us all.” He characterized passage of the ADA as one of his proudest achievements. Let’s not undo that success.
TTom Ridge is founder and chairman of Ridge Global, as well as chair of theNational Organization on Disability, a position he has held since 2006. He was America’s first secretary of Homeland Security and the 43rd Governor of Pennsylvania.
Passing H.R. 620 is good for all stakeholders. Simply having notice of claimed violations with a sufficient level of detail and the opportunity to cure within a limited time period prior to filing a lawsuit will eliminate the abusive tactics that have become commonplace.
Wheelchair-bound protesters dragged out of congressional hearing
Feb. 13, 2018, 7:37 PM WASHINGTON — Demonstrators interrupting a hearing in the House Rules Committee to protest reforms to the Americans with Disabilities Act were arrested and dragged out of the room inside the US Capitol on Tuesday.
Why Congress is Close to Gutting Key Provision of ADA
Pacific Standard 2/14/18 — Unscrupulous lawyers are a problem, so let’s work on sanctioning them. As Dara Baldwin says, “You got bad apples, go after the bad apples!” What shouldn’t happen is a legislative assault, fueled by donations from retail groups, on the fundamental right to equal access for people with disabilities.
The revised Section 508 Standards and Section 255 Guidelines address many changes to technology that have occurred since 2000. Among the most significant changes are the widespread use of mobile technology and the increasing use of mobile devices to perform a variety of ICT functions.
Join us for this session where the presenters will focus on Chapter 4 Hardware. The presenters will discuss Closed Functionality, the new requirements for speech-output for ICT with display screens, privacy, operable parts, ICT with two-way voice communication, closed caption and audio description processing technologies and user controls and others. The presenters will also discuss sources for technical assistance and provide examples of how the hardware provisions may be implemented.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND: The intended audience for this training includes developers, federal procurement officials and everyone involved with implementing Section 508.
Agenda Today’s webinar focuses on the 508 hardware accessibility requirements from Chapter 4, with special attention to how they are applied to telecommunications products:
• How do the Revised 508 Standards (2017) compare with the Original 508 Standards (2000)?
• What has changed? What is new?
• How do the Revised 508 Standards apply to mobile?
• Examples of using the Revised 508 Standards for hardware: − Evaluating the accessibility of desk phone versus a smart phone
The revised Section 508 Standards and Section 255 Guidelines have significantly changed the way software is addressed in the existing Section 508 standards and Section 255 Guidelines (1998-2000). The incorporation by reference of WCAG 2.0 and … More details on session Revised Section 508 Chapter 5 …
The Revised Section 508 Standards and Section 255 Guidelines, incorporate the WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria Level A and AA and apply them to both web and non-web ICT, including electronic content. This session will review the robust technical … More details on session W3C WCAG 2.0 Resources…
ADA Kiosk – revised Section 508 Standards affecting hardware (audio) was last modified: January 18th, 2018 by News Editor
ADA News – EZ Access® trademark Licensed by Assistra Technologies
MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) has executed an exclusive license agreement with Assistra Technologies, LLC, covering a portfolio of patents and trademarks relating to disability access systems for self-service kiosks, touch screen systems, and similar devices. The patents included in the license cover a variety of aspects of such systems and devices, such as novel methods for touch screen access for the vision impaired, tactile interfaces, and keypad designs. The license also includes the well-known “EZ®” and “EZ Access®” trademarks, which have been in use in the market to designate systems and certifications for providing disability access to electronic device interfaces.
The licensed technology was developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Trace Research and Development Center. The researchers recognized that public self-service kiosks in the United States should be accessible for everyone, including individuals with disabilities such as reduced vision or other physical limitations. Assistra’s implementation of this technology, pursuant to its license with WARF, will further the Trace team’s goals by helping to improve the cross disability access of self-service kiosks, including a kiosk’s accessibility to people with vision, hearing, mobility and minor cognitive impairments.
EZ Access® approved hardware and technologies are currently being used by several government and public institutions, including the Department of Homeland Security for border passport kiosks; and also by Amtrak and the U.S. Post Office for self-service kiosks. Assistra plans to expand the use of EZ Access® technology to include several major airlines.
Assistra will help ensure the quality of all EZ Access® implementations by creating a more formal certification program and by providing consulting services that will make EZ Access® technologies easier to integrate into both new and existing self-service kiosks and other public electronic devices such as voting machines.
“In many situations, people with disabilities are finding themselves in the position of needing to educate themselves about a kiosk’s technology every time they approach a new self-service kiosk.” says Bruce Winkler, Assistra Technologies’ Managing Partner. “One of our goals with the suite of EZ Access® technologies is to strive towards consistency and simplicity, and thereby achieve maximum accessibility by those with sensory, mobility or cognitive impairment.”
Winkler added, “Our implementation of the EZ Access® technologies developed by the University of Wisconsin Trace Center provides cross-disability access by combining a tactile keypad along with simple interactive techniques in ways that work together robustly and flexibly to accommodate users. This allows more people to use the product according to their own ability, preference or circumstance. What’s more, Assistra will work with its customers to ensure that their implementations of our EZ Access® technology will be ADA and Section 508 compliant.”
In addition, Assistra plans to enhance the existing EZ Access® product and service offerings by working with kiosk manufacturers to develop all-in-one self service kiosks that already implement the licensed technology, as well as software toolkits that will allow more companies and institutions to easily incorporate the licensed technology into their kiosk designs. According to Mr. Winkler, “markets and institutions that can benefit from the licensed technology include airport and transportation kiosks, accessible voting machines for polling places, ordering kiosks at fast food chains, and wayfinding kiosks in government buildings, federal parks, and hospitals to name a few.”
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) helps steward the cycle of research, discovery, commercialization and investment for the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Founded in 1925 as an independent, nonprofit foundation, WARF manages more than 1,700 patents and an investment portfolio of $2.6 billion as it funds university research, obtains patents for campus discoveries and licenses inventions to industry. For more information, visit www.warf.org.
About Assistra Technologies LLC
Assistra Technologies LLC is a Wisconsin-based company that has been formed to operate as the sole provider of EZ Access® branded products and services, including expert services and design certifications for kiosk manufacturers and their clients to help them meet or exceed ADA guidelines and Section 508 requirements. For more information, visit www.assistratech.com.
About The UW-Trace Research & Development Center
The Trace R&D Center was formed in 1971 at the University of Wisconsin – Madison to address the communication needs of people who are nonspeaking and have severe disabilities. The Center was an early leader and innovator in the field that came to be known as “augmentative communication” and has recently relocated to the University of Maryland. For more information, visit http://trace.umd.edu.
EZ® and EZ Access® are registered trademarks of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).
The final rule as published in the Federal Register, to the section for “closed functionality” (402) which is the core requirements for a kiosk. The section for Operable Parts (407) would also be quite important.
402.1 General. ICT with closed functionality shall be operable without requiring the user to attach or install assistive technology other than personal headsets or other audio couplers, and shall conform to 402.
402.2 Speech-Output Enabled. ICT with a display screen shall be speech-output enabled for full and independent use by individuals with vision impairments.
EXCEPTIONS: 1. Variable message signs conforming to 402.5 shall not be required to be speech-output enabled.
2. Speech output shall not be required where ICT display screens only provide status indicators and those indicators conform to 409.
3. Where speech output cannot be supported due to constraints in available memory or processor capability, ICT shall be permitted to conform to 409 in lieu of 402.2.
4. Audible tones shall be permitted instead of speech output where the content of user input is not displayed as entered for security purposes, including, but not limited to, asterisks representing personal identification numbers.
5. Speech output shall not be required for: The machine location; date and time of transaction; customer account number; and the machine identifier or label.
6. Speech output shall not be required for advertisements and other similar information unless they convey information that can be used for the transaction being conducted.Start Printed Page 5838
402.2.1 Information Displayed On-Screen. Speech output shall be provided for all information displayed on-screen.
402.2.2 Transactional Outputs. Where transactional outputs are provided, the speech output shall audibly provide all information necessary to verify a transaction.
402.2.3 Speech Delivery Type and Coordination. Speech output shall be delivered through a mechanism that is readily available to all users, including, but not limited to, an industry standard connector or a telephone handset. Speech shall be recorded or digitized human, or synthesized. Speech output shall be coordinated with information displayed on the screen.
402.2.4 User Control. Speech output for any single function shall be automatically interrupted when a transaction is selected. Speech output shall be capable of being repeated and paused.
402.2.5 Braille Instructions. Where speech output is required by 402.2, braille instructions for initiating the speech mode of operation shall be provided. Braille shall be contracted and shall conform to 36 CFR part 1191, Appendix D, Section 703.3.1.
EXCEPTION: Devices for personal use shall not be required to conform to 402.2.5.
402.3 Volume. ICT that delivers sound, including speech output required by 402.2, shall provide volume control and output amplification conforming to 402.3.
EXCEPTION: ICT conforming to 412.2 shall not be required to conform to 402.3.
402.3.1 Private Listening. Where ICT provides private listening, it shall provide a mode of operation for controlling the volume. Where ICT delivers output by an audio transducer typically held up to the ear, a means for effective magnetic wireless coupling to hearing technologies shall be provided.
402.3.2 Non-private Listening. Where ICT provides non-private listening, incremental volume control shall be provided with output amplification up to a level of at least 65 dB. A function shall be provided to automatically reset the volume to the default level after every use.
402.4 Characters on Display Screens. At least one mode of characters displayed on the screen shall be in a sans serif font. Where ICT does not provide a screen enlargement feature, characters shall be 3/16 inch (4.8 mm) high minimum based on the uppercase letter “I”. Characters shall contrast with their background with either light characters on a dark background or dark characters on a light background.
402.5 Characters on Variable Message Signs. Characters on variable message signs shall conform to section 703.7 Variable Message Signs of ICC A117.1-2009 (incorporated by reference, see 702.6.1).
407 Operable Parts
407.1 General. Where provided, operable parts used in the normal operation of ICT shall conform to 407.
407.2 Contrast. Where provided, keys and controls shall contrast visually from background surfaces. Characters and symbols shall contrast visually from background surfaces with either light characters or symbols on a dark background or dark characters or symbols on a light background.
407.3 Input Controls. At least one input control conforming to 407.3 shall be provided for each function.
EXCEPTION: Devices for personal use with input controls that are audibly discernable without activation and operable by touch shall not be required to conform to 407.3.
407.3.1 Tactilely Discernible. Input controls shall be operable by touch and tactilely discernible without activation.
407.3.2 Alphabetic Keys. Where provided, individual alphabetic keys shall be arranged in a QWERTY-based keyboard layout and the “F” and “J” keys shall be tactilely distinct from the other keys.
407.3.3 Numeric Keys. Where provided, numeric keys shall be arranged in a 12-key ascending or descending keypad layout. The number five key shall be tactilely distinct from the other keys. Where the ICT provides an alphabetic overlay on numeric keys, the relationships between letters and digits shall conform to ITU-T Recommendation E.161 (incorporated by reference, see 702.7.1).
407.4 Key Repeat. Where a keyboard with key repeat is provided, the delay before the key repeat feature is activated shall be fixed at, or adjustable to, 2 seconds minimum.
407.5 Timed Response. Where a timed response is required, the user shall be alerted visually, as well as by touch or sound, and shall be given the opportunity to indicate that more time is needed.
407.6 Operation. At least one mode of operation shall be operable with one hand and shall not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. The force required to activate operable parts shall be 5 pounds (22.2 N) maximum.
407.7 Tickets, Fare Cards, and Keycards. Where tickets, fare cards, or keycards are provided, they shall have an orientation that is tactilely discernible if orientation is important to further use of the ticket, fare card, or keycard.
407.8 Reach Height and Depth. At least one of each type of operable part of stationary ICT shall be at a height conforming to 407.8.2 or 407.8.3 according to its position established by the vertical reference plane specified in 407.8.1 for a side reach or a forward reach. Operable parts used with speech output required by 402.2 shall not be the only type of operable part complying with 407.8 unless that part is the only operable part of its type.
407.8.1 Vertical Reference Plane. Operable parts shall be positioned for a side reach or a forward reach determined with respect to a vertical reference plane. The vertical reference plane shall be located in conformance to 407.8.2 or 407.8.3.
407.8.1.1 Vertical Plane for Side Reach. Where a side reach is provided, the vertical reference plane shall be 48 inches (1220 mm) long minimum.
407.8.1.2 Vertical Plane for Forward Reach. Where a forward reach is provided, the vertical reference plane shall be 30 inches (760 mm) long minimum.
407.8.2 Side Reach. Operable parts of ICT providing a side reach shall conform to 407.8.2.1 or 407.8.2.2. The vertical reference plane shall be centered on the operable part and placed at the leading edge of the maximum protrusion of the ICT within the length of the vertical reference plane. Where a side reach requires a reach over a portion of the ICT, the height of that portion of the ICT shall be 34 inches (865 mm) maximum.
407.8.2.1 Unobstructed Side Reach. Where the operable part is located 10 inches (255 mm) or less beyond the vertical reference plane, the operable part shall be 48 inches (1220 mm) high maximum and 15 inches (380 mm) high minimum above the floor.
407.8.2.2 Obstructed Side Reach. Where the operable part is located more than 10 inches (255 mm), but not more than 24 inches (610 mm), beyond the vertical reference plane, the height of the operable part shall be 46 inches (1170 mm) high maximum and 15 inches (380 mm) high minimum above the floor. The operable part shall not be located more than 24 inches (610 mm) beyond the vertical reference plane.
407.8.3 Forward Reach. Operable parts of ICT providing a forward reach shall conform to 407.8.3.1 or 407.8.3.2. The vertical reference plane shall be centered, and intersect with, the operable part. Where a forward reach allows a reach over a portion of the ICT, the height of that portion of the ICT shall be 34 inches (865 mm) maximum.
407.8.3.1 Unobstructed Forward Reach. Where the operable part is located at the leading edge of the maximum protrusion within the length of the vertical reference plane of the ICT, the operable part shall be 48 inches (1220 mm) high maximum and 15 inches (380 mm) high minimum above the floor.
407.8.3.2 Obstructed Forward Reach. Where the operable part is located beyond the leading edge of the maximum protrusion within the length of the vertical reference plane, the operable part shall conform to 407.8.3.2. The maximum allowable forward Start Printed Page 5839reach to an operable part shall be 25 inches (635 mm).
407.8.3.2.1 Operable Part Height for ICT with Obstructed Forward Reach. The height of the operable part shall conform to Table 407.8.3.2.1.
Table 407.8.3.2.1—Operable Part Height for ICT With Obstructed Forward Reach
Operable part height
Less than 20 inches (510 mm)
48 inches (1220 mm) maximum.
20 inches (510 mm) to 25 inches (635 mm)
44 inches (1120 mm) maximum.
407.8.3.2.2 Knee and Toe Space under ICT with Obstructed Forward Reach. Knee and toe space under ICT shall be 27 inches (685 mm) high minimum, 25 inches (635 mm) deep maximum, and 30 inches (760 mm) wide minimum and shall be clear of obstructions.
EXCEPTIONS: 1. Toe space shall be permitted to provide a clear height of 9 inches (230 mm) minimum above the floor and a clear depth of 6 inches (150 mm) maximum from the vertical reference plane toward the leading edge of the ICT.
2. At a depth of 6 inches (150 mm) maximum from the vertical reference plane toward the leading edge of the ICT, space between 9 inches (230 mm) and 27 inches (685 mm) minimum above the floor shall be permitted to reduce at a rate of 1 inch (25 mm) in depth for every 6 inches (150 mm) in height.
Sept 13, 2017 — The U.S. Access Board recently updated the 508 requirements for accessible ICT (information and communication technology) in the Federal space. This is their “press release”.
About the Update of the Section 508 Standards and Section 255 Guidelines for Information and Communication Technology
On January 18, 2017, the U.S. Access Board published afinal rule updating accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communications Act. This document provides an overview of the rule and highlights substantive changes to the ICT requirements. The preamble to the final rule discusses the requirements in greater detail.
Updated Section 508 Standards for Federal ICT
The Access Board’s final rule revises and refreshes its standards for information and communication technology in the federal sector covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Board’s Section 508 Standards, which were first issued in 2000, apply to ICT developed, procured, maintained, or used by federal agencies. Examples include computers, telecommunications equipment, multifunction office machines such as copiers that also function as printers, software, websites, information kiosks and transaction machines, and electronic documents.
Updated Section 255 Guidelines for Telecommunications Equipment
The Board’s final rule also updates guidelines for telecommunications equipment covered by Section 255 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. The Section 255 Guidelines, which the Board initially published in 1998, cover telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment, including telephones, cell phones, routers, set-top boxes, and computers with modems, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol products, as well as software integral to the operation of telecommunications function of such equipment.
Goals of the Refresh
The Board updated the 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines jointly to ensure consistency in accessibility across the spectrum of information and communication technologies (ICT) covered. Other goals of this refresh include:
enhancing accessibility to ICT for people with disabilities;
making the requirements easier to understand and follow;
updating the requirements so that they stay abreast of the ever-changing nature of the technologies covered; and
harmonizing the requirements with other standards in the U.S. and abroad.
How the Final Rule was Developed
The Access Board initiated this update by organizing an advisory committee to review the original 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines and to recommend changes. The 41 members of the Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC) comprised a broad cross-section of stakeholders representing industry, disability groups, and government agencies. Its membership also included representatives from the European Commission, Canada, Australia, and Japan. The committee addressed a range of issues, including new or convergent technologies, market forces, and international harmonization and submitted its report to the Board in April 2008. Recognizing the importance of standardization across markets worldwide, the committee coordinated its work with standard-setting bodies in the U.S. and abroad, including the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the European Commission.
The Board released drafts of the rule based on the committee’s report in 2010 and 2011 and followed up with an official notice of proposed rulemaking in February 2015. With each release, the Board held public hearings and solicited public comment. Over the course of this rulemaking, the Board held seven public hearings and received over 630 comments.
The final rule revises both the structure and substance of the ICT requirements to further accessibility, facilitate compliance, and make the document easier to use. Major changes include:
restructuring provisions by functionality instead of product type due to the increasingly multi-functional capabilities of ICT;
incorporating the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 by reference and applying Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements to websites, as well as to non-web electronic documents and software;
specifying the types of non-public facing electronic content that must comply;
requiring that operating systems provide certain accessibility features;
clarifying that software and operating systems must interoperate with assistive technology (such as screen magnification software and refreshable braille displays);
addressing access for people with cognitive, language, and learning disabilities; and
harmonizing the requirements with international standards.
Incorporation of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
The final rule incorporates by reference a number of voluntary consensus standards, including WCAG 2.0. Issued by the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative, WCAG 2.0 is a globally recognized, technology-neutral standard for web content. The final rule applies WCAG 2.0 not only to web-based content, but to all electronic content. The benefits of incorporating the WCAG 2.0 into the Section 508 Standards and the 255 Guidelines and applying it in this manner are significant. WCAG 2.0 addresses new technologies and recognizes that the characteristics of products, such as native browser behavior and plug-ins and applets, have converged over time. A substantial amount of WCAG 2.0 support material is available, and WCAG 2.0-compliant accessibility features are already built into many products. Further, use of WCAG 2.0 promotes international harmonization as it is referenced by, or the basis for, standards issued by the European Commission, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Germany, and France.
Harmonization with European Commission ICT Standards
Harmonization with international standards and guidelines promotes greater accessibility worldwide, enhances uniformity, and heightens market incentives for integrating accessibility into information and communication technology. Throughout the rulemaking process, the Board coordinated its refresh with the European Commission’s development of counterpart ICT accessibility standards. In 2014, the European Commission adopted the “Accessibility requirements for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe” (EN 301 549) which is available for use by European government officials as technical specifications or award criteria in public procurements of ICT products and services. The Board has worked to ensure broad harmonization between its ICT requirements and the European Commission’s standards (as revised in 2015).
Structure of the Rule
The final rule provides parallel chapters that separately address general application and scoping of the Section 508 Standards and the Section 255 Guidelines (Chapters 1 and 2). These sections apply to both 508-covered and 255-covered ICT functional performance criteria (Chapter 3), technical requirements for hardware and software (Chapters 4 and 5), criteria for support documentation and services (Chapter 6), and referenced standards (Chapter 7).
Coverage of Electronic Content (508 Standards)
Like the original 508 Standards, the updated 508 Standards apply to a federal agency’s full range of public-facing content, including websites, documents and media, blog posts, and social media sites. The final rule also specifically lists the types of non-public-facing content that must comply. This includes electronic content used by a federal agency for official business to communicate: emergency notifications, initial or final decisions adjudicating administrative claims or proceedings, internal or external program or policy announcements, notices of benefits, program eligibility, employment opportunities or personnel actions, formal acknowledgements or receipts, questionnaires or surveys, templates or forms, educational or training materials, and web-based intranets.
“Safe Harbor” for Legacy ICT
Existing ICT, including content, that meets the original 508 Standards does not have to be upgraded to meet the refreshed standards unless it is altered. This “safe harbor” clause (E202.2) applies to any component or portion of ICT that complies with the existing 508 Standards and is not altered. Any component or portion of existing, compliant ICT that is altered after the compliance date (January 18, 2018) must conform to the updated 508 Standards.
Functional Performance Criteria (Chapter 3)
The functional performance criteria are outcome-based provisions that address accessibility relevant to disabilities impacting vision, hearing, color perception, speech, cognition, manual dexterity, reach, and strength. These criteria apply only where a technical requirement is silent regarding one or more functions or when evaluation of an alterntative design or technology is needed under equivalent facilitation. If a technical provision covers a particular function of hardware or software, meeting the relevant functional performance criterion is not required.
The functional performance criteria require that technologies with:
visual modes also be usable with limited vision and without vision or color perception;
audible modes also be usable with limited hearing and without hearing;
speech-based modes for input, control, or operation also be usable without speech;
manual operation modes also be usable with limited reach and strength and without fine motor control or simultaneous manual operations; and
have features making its use simpler and easier for people with limited cognitive, language, and learning abilities.
Technical Requirements for Hardware and Software (Chapters 4 and 5)
Requirements in Chapter 4 apply to hardware that transmits information or has a user interface. Examples include computers, information kiosks, and multi-function copy machines. These provisions address closed functionality, biometrics, privacy, operable parts, data connections, display screens, status indicators, color coding, audible signals, two-way voice communication, closed captioning, and audio description.
Software requirements in Chapter 5 apply to computerized code that directs the use and operation of ICT and instructs ICT to perform a given task or function, including applications and mobile apps, operating systems, and processes that transform or operate on information and data. These provisions cover the interoperability with assistive technology, applications, and authoring tools.
Support Documentation and Services (Chapter 6)
Access to support documentation and services for the use of ICT is also addressed. Product documentation must cover how to use the access and compatibility features required for hardware and software. Electronic documentation must comply with the requirements for electronic content. Alternate formats must be made available upon request for documentation provided in a non-electronic format. Support services, including help desks, call centers, training services, and automated technical support must accommodate the communication needs of customers with disabilities and include information on access and compatibility features.
Referenced Standards (Chapter 7)
In addition to WCAG 2.0, the final rule also references other voluntary consensus standards to address:
ergonomics for the design of accessible software (ANSI/HFES 200.2, Human Factors Engineering of Software User Interfaces – Part 2: Accessibility)
interference to hearing aids by wireless telephones (ANSI/IEEE C63.19-2011, American National Standard for Methods of Measurement of Compatibility between Wireless Communications Devices and Hearing Aids)
handset generated audio band magnetic noise of wire line telephones (TIA-1083-B, Telecommunications—Communications Products—Handset Magnetic Measurement Procedures and Performance Requirements)
speech quality in digital transmissions (ITU-T Recommendation G.722.2, Series G. Transmission Systems and Media, Digital Systems and Networks or IETF RFC 6716, Definition of the Opus Codec)
audio description by digital television tuners (A/53 Digital Television Standard, Part 5: AC-3 Audio System Characteristics)
accessible PDF files (ANSI/AIIM/ISO 14289-1-2016, Document Management Applications — Electronic Document File Format Enhancement for Accessibility — Part 1: Use of ISO 32000-1 (PDF/UA-1))
keypad arrangement (1 ITU-T Recommendation E.161, Series E. Overall Network Operation, Telephone Service, Service Operation and Human Factors)
Effective Date and Next Steps
Federal agencies and contractors covered by Section 508 are not required to comply with the updated 508 Standards immediately. The Rehabilitation Act gives the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council) and federal agencies up to six months to incorporate the updated 508 Standards into their respective acquisition regulations and procurement policies and directives. It will be up to the FAR Council to establish the date by which new and existing procurements for 508-covered ICT must meet the updated 508 Standards. For all other non-procured ICT, federal agencies and contractors must comply with the updated 508 Standards beginning on January 18, 2018 (i.e., one year after publication of the final rule in the Federal Register). During the interim period before the updated 508 Standards take effect, the original 508 Standards continue to serve as the accessibility standard for all 508-covered ICT.
With respect to the updated Section 255 Guidelines, compliance is not required until the guidelines are adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is the federal agency tasked with implementation and enforcement of Section 255. The FCC’s existing regulations under Section 255 specify accessibility requirements that largely track the Board’s original Section 255 Guidelines. When the FCC initiates a rulemaking to revise its existing regulations, it has the discretion to adopt the Board’s 255 Guidelines in whole or in part. Any FCC rulemaking, when completed, will specify the effective date for its updated accessibility requirements under Section 255.
For further information on this rulemaking, visit the Board’s website at www.access-board.gov, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Bruce Bailey at (202) 272-0024 (v), (202) 272-0070 (TTY) or Timothy Creagan at (202) 272-0016 (v), (202) 272-0074 (TTY).
Walmart has agreed to settle a disability-rights suit by installing equipment in its stores in California that will enable people in wheelchairs to read the screens at checkout display terminals and make credit card purchases on their own. The proposed settlement in federal court in San Francisco is intended to make the point-of-sale machines at Walmart’s more than 200 stores in the state accessible to the more than 300,000 Californians who use wheelchairs or motorized scooters.