Design for Inclusion: Creating a New Marketplace -- Online Version

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Publication date: October 28, 2004

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Note: The views contained in this report do not necessarily represent those of the Administration, as this and all NCD documents are not subject to the A-19 Executive Branch review process.

Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not constitute or imply its endorsement by the National Council on Disability.

October 28, 2004

The President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of the National Council on Disability (NCD), I am submitting a report entitled, Design for Inclusion: Creating a New Marketplace. This report aims to educate designers and manufacturers about the way electronic and information technology (E&IT) intersects with the needs of individuals with disabilities, and how designing with access in mind can significantly increase the size of targeted markets for E&IT.

Designing with access in mind can be accomplished through universal design. Universal design is a process to ensure that electronic and information technology is inclusive, accessible, and usable by everyone, including people with disabilities. Incorporating universal design processes when developing E&IT is one solution to accommodating people with disabilities that also improves the usability of the products for the rest of the population. NCD's research attempts to understand the market for universally designed mainstream consumer products and services, document successful universal design development processes, understand consumer needs, understand universal design facilitators and barriers, and identify and address current issues in universal design.

This research falls at a time when understanding and incorporating universal design into the development process are most crucial. We are in the window of opportunity for implementing Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended). Section 508 requires the Federal Government to purchase accessibly designed E&IT. If progress is not made quickly in improving the skills of government and industry employees on accessibility issues, the window will soon shut with little having been accomplished.

Progress must be made now, and the purpose of this report is to present the information and recommendations that will guide this progress.

Sincerely,

Lex Frieden
Chairperson

(The same letter of transmittal was sent to the President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate and the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.)

1331 F Street, NW ¢ Suite 850 ¢ Washington, DC 20004
202-272-2004 Voice ¢ 202-272-2074 TTY ¢ 202-272-2022 Fax ¢ www.ncd.gov

National Council on Disability Members and Staff

Members
Lex Frieden, Chairperson, Texas
Patricia Pound, First Vice Chairperson, Texas
Glenn Anderson, Ph.D., Second Vice Chairperson, Arkansas
Milton Aponte, J.D., Florida
Robert R. Davila, Ph.D., New York
Barbara Gillcrist, New Mexico
Graham Hill, Virginia
Joel I. Kahn, Ph.D., Ohio
Young Woo Kang, Ph.D., Indiana
Kathleen Martinez, California
Carol Novak, Florida
Anne M. Rader, New York
Marco Rodriguez, California
David Wenzel, Pennsylvania
Linda Wetters, Ohio

Staff
Ethel D. Briggs, Executive Director
Jeffrey T. Rosen, General Counsel and Director of Policy
Mark S. Quigley, Director of Communications
Allan W. Holland, Chief Financial Officer
Julie Carroll, Attorney Advisor
Joan M. Durocher, Attorney Advisor
Martin Gould, Ed.D., Senior Research Specialist
Geraldine Drake Hawkins, Ph.D., Program Analyst
Pamela O'Leary, Interpreter
Brenda Bratton, Executive Assistant
Stacey S. Brown, Staff Assistant
Carla Nelson, Office Automation Clerk

Dedication

This National Council on Disability report is dedicated to Ronald Mace, "a nationally and internationally recognized architect, product designer, and educator whose design philosophy challenged convention and provided a design foundation for a more usable world. He coined the term 'universal design' to describe the concept of designing all products and the built environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life." (The Center for Universal Design)

Acknowledgments

The National Council on Disability (NCD) wishes to express its appreciation to W. Bradley Fain of Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), who was the principal investigator for this project. Researchers in GTRI's Electronic Systems Laboratory performed the work documented in this report. NCD acknowledges the contributions of Steve Jacobs of the Ideal Group, who performed the market definition and research of this report. NCD also acknowledges the participation of the industry partners that supported the industry study portion of this research. The industry partners provided invaluable insight into the impact of Section 508 on business and the barriers and facilitators relating to the adoption of universal design principles. NCD also acknowledges the donation of equipment and services utilized during the user study portion of the research. The following companies provided products and services, at no cost to the project, for user testing: HP, Nokia, and SENCORE Electronic Test Equipment.
NCD would also like to acknowledge the efforts of Gerry Field, WGBH Boston, for providing a closed captioning test stream used in user testing.

 

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
Introduction 
Section A: The Definition of Universal
Section B: Description of the Research Process

Identification of Product Lines
Market Analysis
Definition of the Market Environment
Customer Analysis
Analysis of Market Trends
International Market
User Study
Product Analysis
Industry Study

    Section C: Selection of the Product Lines for the Study
    Section D: Definition of the Market Environment-Literacy
    Section E: Customer Analysis

    Visual Impairments
    Hearing Impairments
    Mobility Impairments
    Cognitive Disabilities
    Individuals 65+ Years of Age
    Consumers Living in Low-Bandwidth Information Infrastructures
    People Who Never Learned To Read
    Users of English as a Second Language (ESL)
    Consumers Living in High-Density Populations
    High-Language-Density Populations
    Consumers in Situations That Reduce Sensory or Visual Capabilities

      Section F: Analysis of the International Market

      China (China, 2003)

        Section G: User Study

        Introduction
        Analysis of Focus Group Data

        Section H: Product Analysis: Breakdown by Disability Groups

         

        Product Line Assessment Methodology 
        Product Line Assessments

          Section I: Industry Study

          Section J: Discussion 
          Section K: Conclusions 
          List of Acronyms and Abbreviations 
          Bibliography 
          Appendix

           

          List of Tables

          Table 1: Candidate Product Lines
          Table 2: Candidate Product Line Evaluation Results

           

          Executive Summary

          Designing with access in mind can significantly increase the size of targeted markets for electronic and information technology (E&IT). Good business practice dictates that designers and engineers avoid unintentionally excluding large populations of consumers from accessing and using the E&IT they develop and manufacture. People with disabilities are at the highest risk of exclusion. Other consumer groups are also at risk. They are—

          • Individuals 65+ years old
          • Consumers living in low-bandwidth information infrastructures
          • People who never learned to read
          • Users of English as a Second Language (ESL)
          • Tourists and people living in multilingual societies
          • Consumers living in high-density populations

          Designing with access in mind can be accomplished through universal design (UD). Universal design is a process to ensure that E&IT is inclusive, accessible, and usable by everyone, including people with disabilities. Accessible design is a step forward when developing E&IT products, but it tends to lead to technologies that will be used separately, or in addition to, the main E&IT product, which diminishes the effectiveness of designing for all. Incorporating UD processes when developing E&IT is one solution to accommodating people with disabilities that also improves the usability of the products for the rest of the population.

          The National Council on Disability (NCD) undertook this research to understand the market for universally designed mainstream consumer products and services, document successful UD development processes, understand consumer needs, understand UD facilitators and barriers, and identify and address current issues in universal design. This research comes at a time when understanding and incorporating UD into the development process are most crucial. We are in the window of opportunity for implementing section 508. If progress is not made quickly in improving the skills of government and industry employees on accessibility issues, the window will soon shut with little having been accomplished. If industry does not see that federal agencies are serious about implementing section 508 in a consistent manner, companies will shift the monetary and human resources needed for improving accessibility to product development opportunities that offer a higher return on investment. Progress must be made now, and the purpose of this report is to present the information and recommendations that will guide this progress.

          Through this research, NCD aims to educate designers and manufacturers about how electronic and information technology intersects with the needs of individuals with disabilities. In addition to providing knowledge about disabilities, we see the importance here and now of educating individuals on universal design. Currently, many business people have never heard of UD, and many of those who have do not understand that it is more than just a design for disability. This research aims to provide businesses with the knowledge of UD methods they need to clearly see how their complex products can be made accessible in a cost-effective way.

          As part of this research, six product lines were analyzed from the telecommunications, software, consumer electronics, and digital services industries for both accessibility and usability. We estimated how useful these products are to people with disabilities and whether the products conformed to section 508 standards and section 255 guidelines. We were able to present recommendations for improving such products. At a time when the incorporation of universal design is crucial, NCD hopes that the information provided in this report will motivate and drive the development of more universally, accessibly designed E&IT.

          Important Findings and Recommendations
          User Study. The purpose of the user study was to document and understand user experiences with the six product lines under study. The experiences and thoughts of the consumer with a disability provided important insight into the future design of accessible products and can potentially influence the universal design process. The key findings of the user study are as follows:

          • Users with disabilities are often asked to pay high prices for phones with feature sets that are not useful to them.
          • Rapid changes in technology often cause decreases in accessibility.
          • Users are reluctant to adopt technologies that have proven frustrating in the past.
          • Users have difficulty finding devices that match their functional capabilities because of the lack of familiarity sales associates have with accessibility features.
          • Users are reluctant to invest in technologies that have an unproven accessibility record.
          • Accessibility solutions must consider the needs of the individual with disabilities.

          Substantial increases in accessibility will be required before increased sales to members of the disability community are realized.

          Product Analysis. A detailed product line analysis was conducted for each of the product lines selected for study. The purpose of this research was to document accessibility issues that prevent people with disabilities from fully accessing the selected products and to document accessibility features that either are currently offered or could be offered by manufacturers. The end result of this product analysis was the assignment of an accessibility grade to each product line for each disability group. These grades may be useful to designers and manufacturers to identify the target populations that should be consulted during the design process so that more accessible design features are incorporated into new products.

          Industry Study. The purpose of the industry study was to document UD practices within industries represented by the six product lines selected for study. Five categories of facilitators and barriers to accessible design were examined: design, organizational, informational, financial, and legal. A discussion of these barriers and facilitators as experienced by the six companies is included in this section.

          In addition, 11 business concerns were identified as having an influence on UD practices within an organization. Each business concern had a different level of influence, depending on the strength of the other factors. The factors influencing the adoption of UD practices included the business case, strategy and policy, demand and legislation, marketing and sales, research, design, testing, resource allocation and funding, organization and staff, training, and the customer and consideration of people with disabilities.

          All the companies that participated in the industry study have made strategic decisions to address the accessibility of their products and services. A few of the companies had long-standing accessibility programs that were reinvigorated by the technical requirements of section 508. Other companies initiated their accessibility activities while planning for their response to section 508. In both cases, section 508 clearly has had an impact on the way accessibility and UD are being addressed by industry. The industry study found that the most common approaches to addressing accessibility issues are—

          • Increasing awareness of employees
          • Integrating accessibility requirements into the design process
          • Performing accessibility verification testing
          • Establishing an accessibility program office

          Discussion. Through this research, we have come to better understand the market for universally designed mainstream consumer products and services, documented successful universal design development processes, achieved a better understanding of consumer needs, analyzed UD facilitators and barriers, and identified and addressed current issues in universal design. This research program has found that—

          • A market for universally designed products and services exists.
          • UD principles can be easily incorporated into current design practices.
          • Products designed to be accessible sometimes do not meet the needs of users.
          • Legislation is currently both a facilitator and a barrier to UD.
          • Many barriers to UD remain and must be addressed before significant progress can be made.

          Several important recommendations can be made from this research for designers, developers, federal agencies, and companies striving to incorporate universal design into their development process:

          Strategies for Government and Industry to Promote Universal Design

          Recommendation #1. Use standards (government or industry) to prohibit nonessential features that pose accessibility problems unless an alternative interface that solves the problem is provided.

          Recommendation #2. Use standards (government or industry) to eliminate interoperability problems that create accessibility problems.

          Recommendation #3. Use market forces to regulate features that pose intermediate levels of accessibility problems. Require labeling and other information to be provided, and allow recourse through tort (warranty) as well as through general demand, as reflected in consumer purchases.

          Recommendation #4. Develop training materials and educational articles documenting the market potential for UD products and services.

            Strengthening the Impact of Section 508
            Section 508 was developed to govern the purchase of accessible electronic and information technology purchased by the Federal government. Despite having been in place for nearly three years, section 508 has yet to reach its potential. One of the greatest shortfalls of Section 508 is the lack of understanding of and attention to the functional performance requirements.

            Recommendation #5. Institute procedures designed to ensure that due diligence is given to section 508 procurement requirements. Perform an internal analysis of the impact of section 508 on the procurement of actual products. Publish the results of the analysis as a way of convincing industry that the Federal Government is committed to section 508.

            Recommendation #6. Consider requesting supporting evidence for claims made on voluntary product accessibility templates (VPATs) from all vendors responding to bid proposals.

            Recommendation #7. Develop a quick accessibility checklist for specific product lines likely to be procured by the Federal Government. The quick accessibility checklist would assist procurement officials in market research by providing them with a list of items that they can inspect themselves when procuring products. The checklist would be tailored to specific product lines and would not require detailed expertise to evaluate.

            Recommendation #8. Develop guidance for reporting conformance with functional performance criteria guidelines.

            Recommendation #9. Support the coordination of state and local government adoption of section 508 technical requirements. Provide state and local governments with documents and training programs designed to ensure unification of technical requirements.

            Recommendation #10. Study and document the nontechnical aspects of accessibility, including social, psychological, and organizational accessibility. Promote UD solutions that consider all aspects of accessibility.

              Promoting the Inclusion of Universal Design in Industry Practices
              Companies are not aware of the design process modifications needed to incorporate universal design principles. The Federal Government should support the refinement of specific design process interventions that can easily be incorporated.

              Recommendation #11. Develop, test, and disseminate methodologies for integrating UD into existing design practices.

              Recommendation #12. Support the development of university-level training materials that could be incorporated into the curriculums of existing design-oriented degree programs. The training materials should include awareness-expanding videos and other teaching resources that illustrate the potential impact of key design process interventions on the lives of people with disabilities and other beneficiaries of UD.

              Recommendation #13. Develop, test, and disseminate design reference users to illustrate the range of functional capabilities and limitations typical among people with disabilities. Design reference users (popular in specifying the target population in Department of Defense acquisitions) is a set of descriptions of prototypical users who, taken together, express the range of functional capabilities and limitations of the population that must be accommodated by the design project. The use of design reference users would greatly simplify the need for designers to research and integrate information pertaining to the functional limitations and capabilities of people with disabilities.

              Recommendation #14. Develop a standard methodology for testing accessibility and comparing the accessibility of similar products.

              Recommendation #15. Coordinate with industry to promote the integration of accessibility concepts, principles, and guidelines into the development tools used by designers to develop products.

                Creating a New Marketplace
                Consumers with disabilities find many E&IT products to be inaccessible. A sizeable un-tapped market for universal design products and services exists. However, few companies appreciate the size of the market or know how to tap its potential.

                Recommendation #16. Develop an information clearinghouse where users can obtain information about accessibility issues and the features designed to address the issues for specific product lines. Educate consumers on how to shop for UD products and services. List vendor resources where consumers can obtain more information about UD products.

                Recommendation #17. Develop marketing strategies and approaches that will facilitate a connection with people with disabilities.

                Recommendation #18. Train people with disabilities to become subject-matter experts for the purpose of participating in design focus groups and accessibility evaluations.

                Recommendation #19. Create job-related outcomes for bulk purchasers for the successful procurement of products and services with UD features.

                  Conclusions
                  People with disabilities want to use the same products that everyone else uses. They do not want to be limited to specialized products that are more costly. Implementation of UD is the best way to satisfy this desire of people with disabilities, while also providing more cost-effective products for all users. While it is impossible to satisfy the needs of all users, products and services that come closer to accommodating a variety of physical and cognitive differences will benefit both users and companies.

                  Introduction

                  The explosive development of information technology is rapidly changing the way we work, shop, communicate, and play. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, our grandparents saw America change from an agrarian society to an industrial one. We are now in the middle of a second transformation, from an industrial society to an information society, sparked by the development of information science, microprocessors, and wireless technology. Information technology and telecommunications are now relied upon for routine daily activities that contribute to overall quality of life, such as making doctor's appointments, obtaining directions, and purchasing goods and services. Companies are increasingly expanding their presence into emerging markets. As the National Council on Disability (NCD) points out, "Companies are serving populations they have never before served" (NCD, 2002).

                  Every consumer is different. No two people have the exact same set of learning styles, abilities, experiences, and educational background. What used to be one market of billions of consumers is evolving into billions of markets of one consumer, as computer technology makes it economical for products to be customized to meet the user's needs. This marketing shift is a dramatic change from a few short years ago. To remain competitive, companies must learn to develop products that accommodate the wants, needs, and preferences of as many individual consumers as is technically possible and economically feasible.

                  Designing with access in mind can significantly increase the size of targeted markets for electronic and information technology (E&IT). Good business practice dictates that designers and engineers avoid unintentionally excluding large populations of consumers from accessing and using the E&IT they develop and manufacture. People with disabilities are at a high risk of exclusion. Other consumer groups are also at risk. They are—

                  • Individuals 65+ years old
                  • Consumers living in low-bandwidth information infrastructures
                  • People who never learned to read
                  • Users of English as a Second Language (ESL)
                  • Tourists and people living in multilingual societies
                  • Consumers living in high-density populations

                  Universal design (UD) has been proposed as a means to meet needs of consumers, including those with special needs, while maximizing a company's potential to develop a marketable, easy-to-use product. The purpose of this research program is to understand the market for universally designed mainstream consumer products and services, document successful UD development processes, understand consumer needs, understand UD facilitators and barriers, and identify and address current issues in universal design.

                  The future of design for inclusion is in jeopardy. We are in the window of opportunity for implementing section 508. If progress is not made quickly in improving the skills of government and industry employees on accessibility issues, the window will soon shut with little having been accomplished. If industry does not see that federal agencies are serious about implementing section 508 in a consistent manner, companies will shift the monetary and human resources needed for improving accessibility to product development opportunities that offer a higher return on investment. Progress must be made now, and the purpose of this report is to present the information and recommendations that will guide this progress.

                  Through this research, NCD aims to educate designers and manufacturers about how electronic and information technology intersects with the needs of individuals with disabilities. In addition to providing knowledge about disabilities, we see the importance here and now of educating individuals on universal design. Currently, many people business people have never heard of UD, and many of those who have do not understand that it is more than just a design for disability. This research aims to provide businesses with the knowledge of UD methods they need to clearly see how their complex products can be made accessible in a cost-effective way.

                  This study examined the philosophical, economic, and technological rationales that currently drive the development of UD and identified specific barriers to increased implementation, while also addressing commonly held assumptions about universal design. Six product lines were analyzed from the telecommunications, software, consumer electronics, and digital services industries for both accessibility and usability. We estimated how useful these products are to individuals with disabilities and whether the products conform to section 508 requirements and section 255 guidelines. In doing so, we were able to present recommendations for improving such products. This report aims to aid industry in adopting UD practices by using the information obtained on current industry practices, barriers, and facilitation factors to investigate methods for motivating companies to incorporate UD methods in product development.

                  At a time when the incorporation of universal design is crucial, NCD hopes that the information provided in this report will motivate and drive the design for more universally designed E&IT.

                  Definition of Universal Design
                  Universal design, or design for inclusion, is a process to ensure that E&IT is inclusive, accessible, and usable by everyone, including people with disabilities. Accessible design is a step forward when developing E&IT products, but it tends to lead to technologies that will be used separately, or in addition to, the main E&IT product, which diminishes the effectiveness of designing for all. Incorporating UD processes when developing E&IT is one solution to accommodating people with disabilities that also improves the usability of the products for the rest of the population.

                  The above definition encapsulates what it means to design with universal access in mind. UD has been referred to as many things and has been defined in many ways and with many perspectives. Despite the differences in interpretation and definition, one thread that ties the perspectives together is that all people, young and old, with and without disabilities, can have access to the same opportunities. Some alternative terms that have been used to refer to UD are inclusive design, design for inclusion, lifespan design, transgenerational design, barrier-free design, design-for-all, and accessibility. The first four terms have their roots in accomplishing social inclusion, the next two have their roots in design of the built environment, and the last is linked to legislated requirements for accommodation (Ostroff, 2001).

                  The term universal design was originally coined in the 1970s by Ronald Mace.

                  Ron Mace was a nationally and internationally recognized architect, product designer, and educator whose design philosophy challenged convention and provided a design foundation for a more usable world. He coined the term "universal design" to describe the concept of designing all products and the built environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life (Center for Universal Design, n.d.).

                  Other characteristics of UD are summarized, in part, from interviews with visionaries regarding accessibility and UD (Fain et al., 2001). The visionaries talked about including a wide range of individuals in all stages of the design process; integrating accessible features so they don't stand out (resulting in social integration); and creating things so that they can be made available "out of the box," enabling as many people as possible to use them. It is considered a design methodology and an extension of the user-centered design process. Additional variations include the following:

                  …[T]he practice of designing products or environments that can be effectively and efficiently used by people with a wide range of abilities operating in a wide range of situations (Vanderheiden, 1997, p. 2014).

                  …[B]uilding products that are robust and accommodating. Universal designs take account of differences in sight, hearing, mobility, speech, and cognition. Universal design helps not only people with disabilities, but also any of us when we're tired, busy, or juggling many tasks (Francik, 1996).

                  …[T]he design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. The intent of universal design is to simplify life for everyone by making products, communications, and the built environment more usable by as many people as possible at little or no extra cost. Universal design benefits people of all ages and abilities (Center for Universal Design, n.d.).

                  A much greater awareness of disabilities has evolved in the last century, in part as a result of a significant increase in the human lifespan. The general population has had greater exposure to human limitation as the people around them have aged and developed limitations, while at the same time living outside institutions and becoming more independent. This exposure has increased awareness of limitations that can impede the average individual and has led to design changes in products to help overcome these limitations. Initially, these design changes were implemented as special features that added to the cost and stood out as features for people with special needs. Over time, designers began to recognize that many design changes could be made on a larger scale, reducing the cost and benefiting a larger portion of the population (Center for Universal Design, n.d.). Research led to the formulation of design principles that describe the objectives of UD.

                  In 1997, North Carolina State University's Center for Universal Design documented and published seven Principles of Universal Design (1997):

                  • Equitable Use: The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
                  • Flexibility in Use: The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
                  • Simple and Intuitive Use: Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
                  • Perceptible Information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.
                  • Tolerance for Error: The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
                  • Low Physical Effort: The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
                  • Size and Space for Approach and Use: Appropriate size and space are provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use, regardless of the user's body size, posture, or mobility.

                  These principles serve as guidelines for the designers of accessible products. If these principles are incorporated into and considered during the design process, the result will be products that are accessible to a wide range of users. In addition to principles such as the ones mentioned above, standards have been and will continue to be developed that serve as guidelines for designers and manufacturers. These standards mandate that products, services, or places are accessible to particular groups of people and provide requirements that must be met. Universal designers must incorporate these principles and standards and use them for guidance when developing products and services to be accessible to the wide population.

                  The definition of UD must address the population it is intended to benefit. Consideration must be given to various disability groups—blind, low vision, deaf, limited hearing, limited manual dexterity, limited cognition, and lack of reading ability—keeping in mind that these limitations may result from situational constraints rather than a formally defined disability, as defined below:

                  OPERABLE WITHOUT VISION = is required by people who are blind – and – people whose eyes are busy (e.g., driving your car or phone browsing) or who are in darkness.

                  OPERABLE WITH LOW VISION = is required by people with visual impairment – and – people using a small display or in a smoky environment.

                  OPERABLE WITH NO HEARING = is required by people who are deaf – and – by people in very loud environmentsor whose ears are busy or are in forced silence (library or meeting).

                  OPERABLE WITH LIMITED HEARING = is required by people who are hard of hearing – and – people in noisyenvironments.

                  OPERABLE WITH LIMITED MANUAL DEXTERITY = is required by people with a physical disability – and – people in a space suit or chemical suit or who are in a bouncing vehicle.

                  OPERABLE WITH LIMITED COGNITION = is required by people with a cognitive disability – and – people who aredistracted or panicked or under the influence of alcohol.

                  OPERABLE WITHOUT READING = is required by people with a cognitive disability – and – people who justhaven't learned to read this language, people who are visitors, people who left reading glasses behind (Vanderheiden, n.d.).

                    While there is no strong basis for characterizing UD and discriminating UD products from non-UD products, a few sets of evaluation criteria have been identified. The Center for Universal Design has developed two versions of Universal Design Performance Measures. The consumer version helps guide personal purchasing decisions. The designer's version "…provides a good relative assessment of universal usability, but the measures are not an absolute tool for achieving universal design" (Story, 2001). These measures consider questions for phase of use of commercial products: packaging, instructions, product installation, use, storage, maintenance, repair, and disposal. In addition, Vanderheiden (2001) has identified three levels for evaluating products. Level 1 is assigned for features that, if not implemented, will cause a product to be unusable for certain groups or situations. Level 2 is assigned for features that, if not implemented, will make the product very difficult to use for some groups and situations. Level 3 is assigned for features that, if implemented, will make the product easier to use but do not make it usable or unusable.

                    Now that UD definitions, principles, and evaluation techniques have been discussed, the question becomes, "What is the reality of UD?" In other words, "Is UD achievable?" The answer to this question depends, in part, on how UD is defined. On the one hand, there is Ronald Mace's definition, which indicates that people from all walks of life should have the same opportunities. At some level, this is achievable. Consider the curb cut. Curb cuts came about because of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but it turns out that they are beneficial to all of society: people pushing baby strollers or using roller blades, for example. The curb cut is most definitely considered to have achieved UD. On the other hand, one viewpoint of UD suggests the ideal that designs should be usable by individuals under every circumstance. While it's true that many things are usable by a range of individuals, not all of those things are designed in an ideal manner for those same individuals. It is not possible to account for every variation in human ability, need, and preference. As stated by Story, Mueller, and Mace (1998),

                    It is possible to design a product or an environment to suit a broad range of users, including children, older adults, people with disabilities, people of atypical size or shape, people who are ill or injured, and people inconvenienced by circumstance. [Yet,] it is unlikely that any product or environment could ever be used by everyone under all conditions. Because of this, it may be more appropriate to consider universal design a process, rather than an achievement.

                    Role of Assistive Technology in Universal Design

                    According to the U.S. Assistive Technology Act of 1998,

                    The term assistive technology means technology designed to be utilized in an assistive technology device or assistive technology service. The term assistive technology device means any item, piece of equipment, or system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities (Assistive Technology Act, 1998).

                    People with disabilities are commonly aided by the use of assistive technology (AT). Users with visual impairments may benefit from the use of the following ATs:

                     

                    • Speech input and synthesized speech output

                       

                    • Screen readers

                       

                    • Screen magnifiers

                       

                    • Screen projectors

                       

                    • Signage and text printed in Braille and large letters with high contrast, standardized keyboards and keyboard layout with landmarks

                       

                    • Visual, acoustic, and tactile feedback and alert signals

                       

                    • Smart cards that provide a preferred user interface and output

                       

                    • Audio recorded information

                      Users with hearing impairments may benefit from the use of the following ATs:

                       

                    • Text telephones

                       

                    • Nonverbal information

                       

                    • Visual, acoustic, and tactile feedback and alert signals

                       

                    • Adjustable signal level and tone on audio devices

                       

                    • Adjustable temporal and spatial resolution in visual communications

                       

                    • Volume control

                       

                    • Additional earpieces

                       

                    • Provisions for inductive coupling to hearing aids

                      Users with mobility impairments may benefit from the use of the following ATs:

                       

                    • Tilting keyboards and keypads

                       

                    • Hands-free data entry and response selection

                       

                    • Speech input

                       

                    • Intelligent word prediction software

                       

                    • Alternative pointing devices, such as mouth sticks

                       

                    • Keyboard controllers

                       

                    • Body position switches

                       

                    • Book holders and page turners

                       

                    • Arm supports

                       

                    • Touchscreens

                       

                    • Remote switches

                      Users with cognitive disabilities may benefit from the use of the following ATs:

                       

                    • Standardized icons

                       

                    • Tactile cues

                       

                    • Landmarks, both visual and tactile

                       

                    • Speech-synthesized output

                       

                    • Speech input

                       

                    • Visual examples using drawings and icons for help systems

                    Some of these assistive technologies can be designed into the product lines themselves; others must be used externally to the device. There is an ongoing debate regarding the role of AT in universal design. At the core of the issue is whether the capabilities of AT should be built into mainstream products (those designed for the general public) or whether they should be separate products that can be used with mainstream products by those who need them. There are three schools of thought regarding the use of AT:

                    1. AT should be the primary solution to providing people with disabilities access to E&IT.

                    2. E&IT manufacturers should enhance the accessibility of their products to extents that are technically possible and economically feasible. Beyond this, AT should be used.

                    3. E&IT manufacturers should make all their products accessible by everyone, under all circumstances, in any situation.

                    While it is clear that a single design cannot accommodate all individuals in all contexts (Stephanidis, 2001; Vanderheiden, 1990), an inclusive design can accommodate a larger number of people than one designed for the "average" user. In addition, ATs themselves cannot readily accommodate the needs of all users, and it is burdensome and costly for AT to keep up with changing mainstream technologies. On the other hand, AT developers have detailed knowledge about the needs of users with various functional limitations, and they can develop better products if they can focus on the needs of their target users.

                    Some believe that the solution is for AT developers to develop better products rather than mainstream developers trying to design products that are useful to everyone. However, with this approach, people who need assistive technology are required to purchase AT products in addition to the mainstream products. They must also carry their AT device around so that they always have the capability to use a product. The best solution is, perhaps, a middle ground, keeping in mind that part of UD is ensuring compatibility with some types of AT (e.g., touchsticks), but UD doesn't have to require the use of AT.

                    …[U]niversal design in [information technology and telecommunications] IT&T products should not be conceived as an effort to advance a single solution for everybody, but as a user-centered approach to providing products that can automatically address the possible range of human abilities, skills, requirements, and preferences (Stephanidis, 2001).

                    Assistive technology development, whether or not it is integrated in mainstream products, is critical. The Assistive Technology Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-394) provides federal support for research and promotion of AT; Title II specifically relates to coordinating research for assistive technology and universal design (U.S. Department of Commerce, 2003).

                    There are a number of arguments against the design of AT as separate products:

                     

                     

                    • AT requires added cost on top of the mainstream products and is affected, in part, by insurance reimbursement policies (U.S. Department of Commerce, 2003).

                       

                    • AT is sometimes prohibitively expensive, even without the cost of the mainstream products.

                       

                    • It is not always possible for a person to carry around all necessary AT products.

                       

                    • AT is focused on a limited audience.

                       

                    • Different AT is needed to accommodate different functional limitations.

                       

                    • The economics of ATs are such that the limited market and limited purchasing power of the market will likely limit the abilities of AT companies to keep up with the pace of mainstream technologies.

                       

                    • Often when an innovation in mainstream technology takes place, an update in the AT is required; this results in extra cost for the person requiring AT or, at the very least, introduces risk. For example, installation of a new software product may interfere with the operation of existing AT. Technology is changing so rapidly that once an access problem is solved, it is common for a new access problem to surface (Stephanidis, 2001; Emiliani, 2001).

                       

                    • While ATs can be portable, security concerns may prohibit their use; for example, a library may prohibit the installation of a screen magnifier on a public computer.

                       

                    • AT companies do not have the resources needed to work closely with companies to ensure compatibilities with their products or to do product testing (U.S. Department of Commerce, 2003).

                       

                    • AT companies often do not share the features they have planned for their products with other companies until the AT is released. While industry would like to have the data sooner, AT companies are reluctant to promise technologies that they might not be able to deliver.

                    Arguments favoring the design of ATs as separate products include the following:

                     

                     

                    • AT allows companies to focus on the development of their specialized products, thus resulting in a better job of handling the accessibility issues to meet the needs of people with disabilities.

                       

                    • It is possible for AT to become so mainstream that it is no longer considered AT. Eyeglasses, for example, are no longer thought of as assistive technology, and closed-captioning and voice recognition software are becoming more commonplace.

                       

                    • AT is better equipped to handle specialized or rare needs of people with disabilities, and there will likely always be a need for some forms of assistive technology. In addition, AT can be tailored to address unique needs (U.S. Department of Commerce, 2003).

                    Arguments for integrated AT and UD include the following (Vanderheiden, 1990; Winograd, 1997):

                     

                     

                    • Many product adaptations necessary to accommodate some functional limitations can be implemented in mainstream products at little or no extra cost.

                       

                    • Many product adaptations necessary to accommodate some functional limitations can also facilitate use by the general population (e.g., the curb cut). Some benefits of implementing accessibility features that have a more global benefit include lower fatigue, increased speed, and lower error rates.

                       

                    • AT cannot accommodate the needs of the many individual subgroups that have special needs (e.g., mild versus severe hearing loss).

                       

                    • Special features can be integrated into mainstream products so they are transparent to users who don't need them (e.g., "sticky keys").

                    Regardless of how people with disabilities use the technology, it will have a large impact on their independence and ability to fully participate in society, resulting in an added cost benefit to society as a whole (Vanderheiden, 1990). The population of people who may require some sort of accommodation is ever-growing with the increase of the elderly population, so much so that the term "general population" possibly should be redefined in the minds of designers. Although the market potential for products is great, the limited population for any given AT creates financial constraints for small companies that focus on AT development. Large companies typically have the finances but not the expertise to address a wide range of needs (AAATE, 2003). Complications stem not only from the wide variety of functional limitations but also from the ever-increasing need for rapid configuration of technologies to accommodate environmental and other contextual needs. The increasingly mobile society, for example, may mean that individuals need specialized accommodation over a period of a day or even hours, while a more fixed environment may require little variation in configuration. "…[I]n the context of the emerging distributed and communication-intensive information society, users are not only the computer-literate, skilled, and able-bodied workers driven by performance-oriented motives, nor do users constitute a homogeneous mass of information-seeking actors with standard abilities, similar interests, and common preferences with regard to information access and use" (Stephanidis, 2001, p. 6). The AT industry alone cannot address the variable contexts that create a need for more customized situational technologies.

                    If products are not going to be designed with AT built in, they need to be designed from the ground up to be fully compatible with AT, and AT needs to be designed so well that people with disabilities no longer have accessibility issues with products. If products are designed with UD principles in mind, they will likely be accessible to a large number of people with disabilities without the use of AT. Regardless of the resolution to this debate, if any, AT and mainstream developers must work together to achieve the greatest accommodation possible and to develop adaptors, when necessary. "The use of an adaptor is appropriate when two systems cannot otherwise accommodate each other; this is the case when accessibility problems are alleviated by the choice of alternative input/output devices or by communication via an alternative modality" (Benyon, Crerar, and Wilkinson, 2001). Thus, there is a place in society for both integrated AT and UD, as well as for separate AT products.

                    Research Process

                    An extensive research program was conducted to complete each of the research activities documented in this report. This research program was conducted by examining the roles and perspectives of industry, Federal Government, and consumers with respect to the six product lines that are important to people with disabilities. The six product lines studied were automated teller machines (ATMs), cellular phones, distance learning software, personal digital assistants (PDAs), televisions, and voice recognition technologies. For more information about the research process undertaken in preparing this report and additional information, please consult the online version of the report at http://www.ncd.gov.

                       

                      Section A: The Definition of Universal Design

                      Note: This is the full version of the section abbreviated for the print version.

                      Universal design (UD), or design for inclusion, is a process to ensure that electronic and information technology (E&IT) is inclusive, accessible, and usable by everyone, including people with disabilities. Accessible design is a step forward when developing E&IT products, but it tends to lead to technologies that will be used separately, or in addition to, the main E&IT product. This diminishes the effectiveness of designing for all. Incorporating UD processes when developing E&IT is one solution to accommodating people with disabilities that also improves the usability of the products for the rest of the population.

                       

                      The above definition encapsulates what it means to design with universal access in mind. UD has been referred to as many things and has been defined in many ways. In their book entitled The Universal Design Handbook, Wolfgang Preiser and Elaine Ostroff (2001) describe the concept of universal design as a term that was first used in the United States by Ronald Mace in 1985. The concept took form in the realm of the built environment and has since spread to many arenas, including information technology (IT). Despite the differences in interpretation and definition, one thread that ties the perspectives together is that all people, young and old, with and without disabilities, can have access to the same opportunities. An architect in the 1970s realized that "…everyone's functional capacity is enhanced when environmental barriers are removed" (Fletcher, 2002). From the removal of barriers for people with physical disabilities, the concept of UD has expanded to include other disabilities and domains.

                      The proliferation of UD concepts has evolved in part from accommodating the needs of an aging population, legislation enacted to encourage equal accommodation for people with disabilities, and a desire to achieve mainstreaming of all of society's peoples. The Industrial Revolution resulted in wider availability of products. The Civil Rights Movement, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, and other laws were enacted to help break down barriers that were slowing societal mainstreaming. There were various movements to integrate society in other countries as well. As early as 1969, the Centre on Accessible Environments came to be in the United Kingdom; and in the 1970s, Ronald Mace coined the term "universal design." Over time, a change in perspective regarding human limitation has been made, "…from treating people as part of the medical model, as dependent, passive recipients of care and services, to a model in which everyone is treated as an equal citizen and disability is seen merely as a social construct" (Sandhu, 2001, p. 3.4).

                      Some alternate terms that have been used to refer to universal design are inclusive design, design for inclusion, life span design, transgenerational design, barrier-free design, design-for-all, and accessibility. The first four terms have their roots in accomplishing social inclusion, the next two have their roots in design of the built environment, and the last is linked to legislated requirements for accommodation (Ostroff, 2001).

                      "Ron Mace was a nationally and internationally recognized architect, product designer, and educator whose design philosophy challenged convention and provided a design foundation for a more usable world. He coined the term 'universal design' to describe the concept of designing all products and the built environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life" (The Center for Universal Design, North Carolina State University, 1997). Other characteristics of UD are summarized, in part, from interviews with visionaries regarding accessibility and UD (Fain et al., 2001). The visionaries talked about including a wide range of individuals in all stages of the design process, integrating accessible features so they do not stand out (resulting in social integration), and creating things so that they can be made available "out of the box," such that as many people as possible can use them. It is considered a design methodology and an extension of the user-centered design process. Additional variations include the following:

                      "…[T]he practice of designing products or environments that can be effectively and efficiently used by people with a wide range of abilities operating in a wide range of situations." (Vanderheiden, 1997, p. 2014)

                      "…[B]uilding products that are robust and accommodating. Universal designs take account of differences in sight, hearing, mobility, speech, and cognition. Universal design helps not only people with disabilities, but also any of us when we're tired, busy, or juggling many tasks." (Francik, 1996)

                      "…[T]he design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. The intent of universal design is to simplify life for everyone by making products, communications, and the built environment more usable by as many people as possible at little or no extra cost. Universal design benefits people of all ages and abilities." (Center for Universal Design, n.d.)

                      A much greater awareness of disabilities has evolved in the last century, in part as a result of a significant increase in the human lifespan. The general population has had greater exposure to human limitation as the people around them have aged and developed limitations, while at the same time living outside of institutions and becoming more independent. This exposure has helped to increase awareness of limitations that can impede the average individual and subsequently to lead to design changes in products to help overcome these limitations. Initially, these design changes were implemented as special features that added to cost and stood out as features for people with special needs. Over time, designers began to recognize that many design changes could be made on a larger scale, reducing cost and benefiting a larger portion of the population (Center for Universal Design, n.d.). Research led to the formulation of design principles that describe the objectives of UD.

                      In 1997 North Carolina State University's Center for Universal Design documented and published seven Principles of Universal Design (NC State, 1997). The principles are—

                       

                      • Equitable Use: The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
                      • Equitable Use: The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
                      • Flexibility in Use: The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
                      • Simple and Intuitive Use: Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
                      • Perceptible Information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.
                      • Tolerance for Error: The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
                      • Low Physical Effort: The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
                      • Size and Space for Approach and Use: Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use, regardless of the user's body size, posture, or mobility.

                       

                      These principles serve as guidelines for the designers of accessible products. If these principles are incorporated into and considered during the design process, the result will be products that are accessible to a wide range of users. In addition to design principles, such as the ones mentioned above, standards have been and will continue to be developed that serve as guidelines for designers and manufacturers. These standards mandate that products, services, or places be accessible to particular groups of people and provide requirements that must be met. Universal design must incorporate these principles and standards and use them as guidance when developing products and services that are accessible to the wide population.

                       

                      The definition of UD must address the population it is intended to benefit. Consideration must be given to various disability groups—blind, low vision, deaf, limited hearing, limited manual dexterity, limited cognition, and lack of reading ability—keeping in mind that these limitations may result from situational constraints rather than a formally defined disability. Vanderheiden (n.d.) provided the following descriptions of accessibility:

                       

                      OPERABLE WITHOUT VISION = is required by people who are blind – and – people whose eyes are busy (e.g., driving your car or phone browsing) or who are in darkness.

                      OPERABLE WITH LOW VISION = is required by people with visual impairment – and – people using a small display or in a smoky environment.

                      OPERABLE WITH NO HEARING = is required by people who are deaf – and – by people in very loud environments or whose ears are busy or are in forced silence (library or meeting).

                      OPERABLE WITH LIMITED HEARING = is required by people who are hard of hearing – and – people in noisy environments.

                      OPERABLE WITH LIMITED MANUAL DEXTERITY = is required by people with a physical disability – and – people in a space suit or chemical suit or who are in a bouncing vehicle.

                      OPERABLE WITH LIMITED COGNITION = is required by people with a cognitive disability – and – people who aredistracted or panicked or under the influence of alcohol.

                      OPERABLE WITHOUT READING = is required by people with a cognitive disability – and – people who justhaven't learned to read this language, people who are visitors, people who left reading glasses behind

                        To expand on the characterization of human limitation, it has been noted that "while some individuals have chronic conditions, anyone may be temporarily disabled" (Story, Mueller, and Mace, 1998). For example, a broken leg, a sprained wrist, the flu, pupils dilated for an eye exam, or the lasting effects of a loud concert are temporarily disabling conditions. Also, circumstances such as poor lighting, high noise levels, adverse weather conditions, carrying packages, wearing bad shoes, or visiting a country where natives speak a different language affect people's physical, sensory, and cognitive abilities (Story, Mueller, and Mace, 1998).

                        While there is no strong basis for characterizing UD and discriminating UD products from non-UD products, there are a few sets of evaluation criteria that have been identified. The Center for Universal Design has developed two versions of Universal Design Performance Measures. The consumer's version helps guide personal purchasing decisions. The designer's version "…provides a good relative assessment of universal usability, but the measures are not an absolute tool for achieving universal design" (Story, 2001). These measures consider questions for phase of use of commercial products: packaging, instructions, product installation, use, storage, maintenance, repair, and disposal. In addition, Vanderheiden (2001) has identified three levels for evaluating products. Level 1 is assigned for features that, if not implemented, will cause a product to be unusable for certain groups of users or situations. Level 2 is assigned for features that, if not implemented, will make the product very difficult to use for some groups of users and situations. Level 3 is assigned for features that, if implemented, will make the product easier to use, but do not make a product usable or unusable.

                        Now that UD definitions, principles, and evaluation techniques have been discussed, the question becomes, "What is the reality of UD?" In other words, "Is UD achievable?" The answer to this question depends, in part, on how UD is defined. On the one hand, there is Ronald Mace's definition, which indicates that people from all walks of life should have the same opportunities. At some level, this is achievable. Consider the curb cut. Curb cuts came about because of ADA legislation, but it turns out that they are beneficial to all of society: people pushing baby strollers or using roller blades, for example. The curb cut may be considered to have achieved UD. On the other hand, there is the viewpoint of UD that suggests the ideal that designs should be usable by individuals under every circumstance. While it is true that many things are usable by a range of individuals, not all of those things are designed in an ideal manner for those same individuals. It is not possible to account for every variation in human ability, need, and preference. As stated by Story, Mueller, and Mace (1998), "It is possible to design a product or an environment to suit a broad range of users, including children, older adults, people with disabilities, people of atypical size or shape, people who are ill or injured, and people inconvenienced by circumstance." Yet, "it is unlikely that any product or environment could ever be used by everyone under all conditions. Because of this, it may be more appropriate to consider universal design a process, rather than an achievement."

                        Section B: Description of the Research Process

                        The research process for this report can be divided into five steps: identification of product lines, market analysis, user study, product analysis, and industry study. The project made use of existing relationships with industry and consumer groups, and in some cases existing data from these relationships, to directly benefit the current research. The following is a summary of the research process undertaken to conduct each proposed task. The summary is divided according to the section of the report under which each of the research tasks falls.

                        Identification of Product Lines

                        The project team identified candidate product lines based on our experience with the use of accessible E&IT products in the disability community, the results of a user survey of use and importance of consumer products conducted by the Wireless Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC), and the product classification (developed by the Information Technology Technical Assistance Training Center, ITTATC) taxonomy of hardware and devices frequently used by members of the disability community.

                        Once candidate product lines were identified, the team developed criteria on which to rate the product lines to determine which would be selected for evaluation. These ratings were first considered separately and then collectively for each given product line, and the ratings were then compared across the different product lines to determine the products that would most benefit from this type of research (i.e., the largest benefit to NCD and the disability community). Product lines were then rated individually by each project team member and discussed. Finally, the six highest-scoring product lines were selected for inclusion in the study. The final list of product lines was submitted to NCD for approval along with a summary of the analysis used to nominate the candidate product lines.

                        Market Analysis

                        The purpose of conducting the market analysis was to identify and analyze the business elements that create demand for developing, manufacturing, and marketing accessible E&IT. This task had four parts: the definition of the market environment, a customer analysis, an analysis of market trends, and an analysis of the international market.

                        Definition of the Market Environment

                        The purpose of this task was to identify both the market and the market trends that affect development of the E&IT products previously identified. We analyzed the characteristics of the market that create the highest demand-pull for accessibly designed E&IT, including market size, market growth rate, market intensity, market consumption, capacity, commercial infrastructure, economic freedom, market receptivity, country risk, and the "accessible design legal climate." We then identified the characteristics of each market, including population densities; bandwidth; use of language; and current accessible-design-focused laws, standards, and guidelines.

                        Particular emphasis was placed on identifying the primary forces driving demand for more accessibly designed E&IT, including market forces, aspects of the local environment and the human condition, the legal framework, and standards and guidelines that suggest and/or mandate accessible design practices.

                        Customer Analysis

                        The purpose of this analysis was to match customer demand with E&IT products as well as to segment the potential customer communities by physically, environmentally, educationally, and technologically induced accessibility limitations. We began by identifying characteristics of different global consumer communities by each externally induced accessibility limitation. This included addressing commonly held assumptions about the market and the customers. This process was used to analyze all of the major consumer groups identified.

                        For each customer group, we identified demographics and then isolated and analyzed the demographic sectors that create demand-pull for accessibly designed E&IT. Then we gathered and analyzed disability statistics, where available.

                        Analysis of Market Trends

                        In the analysis of market trends we took an in-depth look into how accessible E&IT design practices support marketing "one-to-one," rather than the mass marketing philosophy of the 1980s. We then analyzed technology trends for each of the product lines under study, and we grouped mainstream business requirements that share common characteristics with the access needs of people with disabilities. We also looked at the market forces that drive the demand for accessibly designed cellular phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), televisions, voice recognition software, distance learning education, and automated teller machines (ATMs).

                        International Market

                        This section of our research focused on examining the markets in countries other than the United States. The business justification for including these lies in the fact that 95 percent of the world's economic activity takes place outside of the United States, leaving the majority of the world's economy untouched by most U.S.-based businesses. Information from this section of the market analysis came from the 2003–2004 country commercial guides (CCGs) that were prepared by the U.S. Embassy staff. We specifically focused on the section of each country's guide that identifies the leading sectors for U.S. exports and investments. We selected the countries for this study not based on market potential alone, but also on the level of U.S. corporate investment in each country, investments that support the establishment of long-term business relationships. We selected the top five developing countries with the highest populations, established by GlobalEDGE (2003) as having the highest overall market potential: China, India, Russia, Mexico, and Turkey. A thorough discussion of each emerging market is included in Section F, "Analysis of the International Market."

                        User Study

                        The purpose of the user study was to document user acceptance and use of universally designed products. We conducted five focus groups and one individual interview with participants with disabilities recruited from the Georgia Tech subject pool and the surrounding disability community. Participants discussed specific experiences with each of the six product lines, including both their positive and their negative experiences. The facilitator described the purpose of the study and introduced each product line to the participants. Participants then generated lists of features that affect the accessibility of the devices in each product line. Then the facilitator led a discussion of each feature and asked participants to rate the impact of each feature on the overall accessibility of the product for their particular range of functional capabilities.

                        We then analyzed the data from the focus groups, resulting in a list of features that maximize the accessibility of a specific product line for the range of functional limitations represented by this study. We also noted accessibility features that were judged to be critical to the operation of the device by users with specific impairments.

                        We spent a portion of our time with the focus groups conducting performance testing to gain objective measurements. Users were asked to participate in hands-on test session using examples of products with accessible features from each of the product lines under study. We gave the users brief evaluation scenarios in which they were asked to perform a series of typical tasks associated with each device. The ability of each participant to perform the task was documented. The degree to which an accessibility feature actually facilitated task performance was also documented.

                        Product Analysis

                        The product line assessment provides an identification of accessibility issues within each product line and an assessment of accessibility features designed to address specific issues. To assess the accessibility issues, we calculated an "impact score" for each issue and target population. The impact score is an estimation of the effect of a particular accessibility issue on a particular target population. The score was calculated at the task level based on two separate dimensions. The first dimension, task priority, was defined as a measure of task importance. High-priority tasks are those that are essential to the device, while low-priority tasks are defined as those that are not essential or that would not be expected to be performed by the end-user. The second dimension, accessibility, was defined as an estimation of the ability of a user with a given set of functional capabilities and limitations to complete a given task satisfactorily.

                        The task-based accessibility analysis consisted of identifying the core functionality (tasks) for the product line; identifying the priority level for each task; and then for each task for each disability type, assigning a task accessibility score. Tasks were prioritized based on an estimate of the essential or core features of the device, versus advanced features, product enhancements, and features related to device set-up and maintenance. The assignment of these priorities is discussed more thoroughly in "Product Line Assessment Methodology" in Section G of the report. Each task was also assigned an estimate of accessibility based on empirical observations of similar tasks in the Accessibility Evaluation Facility and expert judgment. Three levels of accessibility were considered: little or no difficulty; some difficulty; and great difficulty. Following the calculation of these scores, an accessibility impact score was then calculated. This score is an indicator of the importance of a given accessibility issue for the overall accessibility of the device. The accessibility impact score reflects the joint influence of task priority and accessibility level for tasks. Task priority is the strongest component of the impact score. Next, the overall accessibility grade was determined. The overall accessibility grade for a product line is an index of the cumulative impact of all accessibility issues. The accessibility grade is a letter grade on the familiar scale of A, B, C, D, and F.

                        The product analysis report describes the results of the product line assessments for each of the six product lines: ATMs, cellular phones, distance learning software, PDAs, televisions, and voice recognition software. The report is organized according to specific product lines. Each product line section was organized as follows: background, task-based accessibility analysis, accessibility features, compliance with government regulations, and conclusions.

                        Industry Study

                        The purpose of the industry study was to document factors that influence the design and development of products within industries representing each of the product lines under study. Before beginning the industry study, we started by identifying candidate facilitators and candidate barriers by reviewing ITTATC case studies data, ITTATC industry survey data, and accessibility literature. The case studies data provided a basis for identifying facilitators and barriers, as the companies from which they were collected cover a wide range of E&IT. The industry survey data, on the other hand, provided us with a broader view of general practices within a larger number of companies spanning an even larger domain of E&IT. The accessibility literature was used in this part of the research because aside from providing excellent insight into the history and expectations of guidelines as specified in Section 508 and other government regulations, it provided more of the consumer perception of accessibility in product design—a different viewpoint from that provided by product designers and manufacturers themselves.

                        Eleven business concerns that have an influence on UD practices within an organization were identified and are discussed in detail in the "Industry Study" section of the report. We also examined the ways in which businesses experience a direct positive impact or a direct negative impact from legislation. Included also is a discussion of the comments companies made on the barriers to accessible design that we identified at the beginning of this portion of the study, including a discussion of the barriers specific to each product line industry.

                        Section C: Selection of the Product Lines for the Study

                        Users with functional limitations strive to use technology just the way users with less severe functional limitations do. In general, all users employ technology in order to achieve the following important goals:

                        • Gain access to products that enable communication and enhance safety and security
                        • Gain access to products that enable communication and enhance safety and security
                        • Gain access to personal finances
                        • Gain access to entertainment, information, and services
                        • Gain access to products that enhance or facilitate productivity at work
                        • Gain access to products that simplify or assist the quality of life at home

                        This program of research is based on the detailed study of six product lines. Selection of product lines involved the identification of candidate product lines, the definition of selection criteria, and the formal assessment of the viability of each of the candidate product lines. The goal of the assessment methodology was to identify a diverse range of products that would serve as a useful framework for the study of universal design. A formal assessment methodology was used in order to increase the likelihood of generating meaningful research data.

                        The list of candidate product lines was assembled based on the results of a user survey conducted by the Wireless RERC on use and importance of consumer products, and the product classification taxonomy developed by the Technical Assistance Working Group of ITTATC for hardware and devices frequently used by members of the disability community. In order to ensure that the final selection of product lines represented a sufficiently broad range of equipment types, each candidate product line was assigned to a product category. The following product line categories were identified as representing the range of E&IT equipment most useful to people with disabilities:

                        • Public/Business—Equipment that might be used by the general public or shared in an office environment
                        • Computer Technology—Computer hardware, peripherals, and software
                        • Entertainment—Equipment that can be used for personal entertainment
                        • Household—Common devices found within the home
                        • Personal Care—Equipment useful for health maintenance and monitoring
                        • Communications—Equipment useful to facilitate communications

                        The purpose of the product categories was to aid in the selection process. The highest-ranking product line in each product category was selected for study. This process ensured that two similar products were not selected for study and that the resulting list of product lines would be sufficiently diverse. Table 1 contains the list of candidate product lines by product category.

                        Table 1: Candidate Product Lines

                        Six criteria were defined for the purpose of evaluating the candidate product lines. We identified the desirable characteristics of the product lines in this study and then developed criteria that would enable us to evaluate those characteristics within a wide range of products. For example, products studied under this research effort should play an important role in the lives of people with disabilities. Therefore, an important selection criterion is the perceived importance of the product line. If a product is considered relatively unimportant in the lives of the users, then it should be less likely to be selected as a product line for further study. The following is a list of selection criteria used by the project team in selecting the product lines.

                        Criterion 1: Perceived product importance in the lives of people with disabilities

                        Justification: It is critically important that this research results in meaningful data that helps influence policy and increases the opportunities for members of the disability community to interact with technology. Therefore, this research should focus on the study of universal design in products that are likely to have a substantial impact on the lives of people with disabilities.

                        Definition: The level of importance this product type has in the lives of people with disabilities. The potential for this product line to improve the safety, comfort, and independence of people with disabilities will be considered.

                        •  

                          Source: Wireless RERC user survey, expert opinion.

                          Criterion 2: Evidence of universal design

                          Justification: It is important to select a product line in which there is evidence that UD is at least a goal. Preference should be given to product lines that have made progress toward the development of accessible products so that their achievements can be studied and made available to the benefit of others.

                          Definition: The degree to which specific products within a given product line exhibit accessible characteristics or evidence of universal design.

                          •  

                            Source: Consumer recognition, accessibility evaluations, self-reporting.

                            Criterion 3: Evidence of marketing and use

                            Justification: In order for the project to maximize its impact, product lines should be selected in market segments that are actively promoted to and used by members of the disability community. Evidence of marketing/promotion may be a useful indicator of industry recognition of a viable market. Such market segments may be more open to collaboration and will provide more fertile ground for mining information about UD practices. It is also desirable that the product line represent devices and services that members of the disability community actually find useful. Such devices are likely to generate widespread interest in the disability community and maximize the potential impact of the program.

                            Definition: The degree to which the product type is marketed to, and used by, a variety of consumer groups within the disability community.

                            •  

                              Source: Self-reporting, inspection, Wireless RERC user survey.

                              Criterion 4: Willingness of industry partners to share proprietary data

                              Justification: It would be naïve to exclude the viability of industry partnerships from the selection criteria because much of the success of the project depends on the willingness of industry to share learning experiences and, in some cases, proprietary data, that will be necessary to achieve the project objectives.

                              Definition: The willingness of industry representatives to share proprietary information pertaining to product design, testing, and evaluation.

                              •  

                                Source: Communications with Georgia Tech industry contacts.

                                Criterion 5: Affordability of product line

                                Justification: One of the parameters that affect the accessibility of a product line is cost. If the cost of a given product is such that consumers with disabilities are unable to afford it, then that product is, by definition, inaccessible.

                                Definition: The level of affordability of this product type to the general disability community.

                                •  

                                  Source: Preliminary market analyses.

                                  Criterion 6: Applicability of government regulations

                                  Justification: One of the purposes of this study is to review the impact of government regulations on the development and marketing of universally designed products. Therefore, it is important to study a number of products that have been directly impacted by government regulations.

                                  Definition: The degree to which government regulations impact the design, development, and marketing of the product.

                                  •  

                                    Source: Government regulations.

                                    Each candidate product line was rated by a team of six experts. The raters were recruited from staff at the Georgia Tech Research Institute, the IDEAL Group, and the Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access. Each member of the evaluation team had a background in accessibility research, and several had experience evaluating and designing accessible products. For each product line, the raters were asked to rate each selection criterion on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (very good). The scores for each criterion were then added together to derive a product line score. For the purpose of this analysis, each selection criterion was weighted equally.

                                    Product line scores from each evaluation team member were added together to form a single composite score for each candidate product line. The results of the analysis were discussed with the evaluation team, and no modifications to the original assessments were deemed necessary. The candidate product lines within each category were then sorted by their composite scores and arranged into product categories. The highest-scoring product line in each product category, based on the composite score, was selected for inclusion in this study. Table 2 contains the results of the analysis.

                                    Table 2: Candidate Product Line Evaluation Results

                                    The household and personal care categories were eliminated because their direct relevance to accessibility legislation was perceived as limited. Furthermore, the desktop computer product line was deemed too broad for a meaningful study and was narrowed down to a particular class of software (distance learning software). The microwave oven product line was replaced with voice recognition software. The glucose monitor product line was replaced with PDAs. The following product lines were selected for study and approved by NCD:

                                    • ATM
                                    • Cellular phone
                                    • Distance learning software
                                    • PDA
                                    • Television
                                    • Voice recognition software

                                    ATMs. The classic definition of an ATM is an unattended machine, external to some banks, that dispenses money when a personal coded card is used. Access to and management of personal finances is an important part of living an independent lifestyle. ATMs can provide convenient and secure access to these functions. ATMs allow individuals to make transactions independently and privately without requiring human interaction at times that are convenient for individuals. ATMs are used for banking purposes such as making cash withdrawals, making deposits, checking balances, transferring money between accounts, and printing statements.

                                    Accessibility of ATMs is affected by the design of the machine itself and by the way the machine is installed. Thus, while accessibility features of ATMs are important, the actual installation of the ATM can severely limit the accessibility of the overall product. For example, an accessible ATM can be created, but if it is installed in a location that is not wheelchair accessible, it is useless to users with lower-mobility impairments.

                                    A feature such as a talking ATM greatly increases the accessibility for a person with impaired or no vision. Users who are blind or who have limited vision can typically learn what buttons to press to complete the transaction; but the software is often updated, changing the options and, subsequently, requiring the user to relearn the correct pattern of selections. In addition, a person who is blind has no way to verify the amount requested for a withdrawal or the balance. Talking ATMs can provide equal access for people who are blind and visually impaired.

                                    The ATM industry, perhaps more than others, is comfortable working with government and banking regulations from a variety of different markets because ATMs are designed for and marketed to the global community. In addition, market considerations heavily influence this industry. Banking institutions are very reluctant to purchase additional accessibility features or replace existing equipment, which may have been in operation for 20 or more years, in favor of more accessible designs.

                                    Cellular Phones. Cell phones provide a communication option in case of an emergency and allow individuals to keep in contact with friends, family, and business associates. People truly enjoy their portability, and for many people, cell phones have become indispensable. Cell phones give us the ability to make telephone calls; surf the Web without a computer; take a photo and immediately send it to someone else; and receive messages, stock quotes, news, and other information, anywhere and any time.

                                    Accessible versions of cellular phones can enhance the lives of people with disabilities in many ways. Easier data entry reduces the number of button presses required to perform an action. Because a cell phone can be used for much more than voice communication, simplified data entry allows a user to use it more readily as a data device, write messages, collect and store information, and even make purchases. Accessibility is enhanced, in part, through the Fastap™ keypad (Fastap, n.d.), an extremely simple, intuitive, and powerful computer interface that fits in a small mobile phone and provides a full alphanumeric keypad. A full alphanumeric keypad greatly increases the ability of a person with a vision impairment to input text.

                                    Loopsets increase clarity and reduce background noise for those with some types of hearing aids. For both persons with vision impairments and those with upper-mobility impairments, voice dialing provides an improved mechanism for making a phone call. Voice can also be used to identify the source of an incoming call and to facilitate menu navigation, which particularly benefits those without sight. Inclusion of visual, auditory, and vibrating indicators increases the opportunity for all users to be aware of various states (e.g., new voice mail, low battery).

                                    An accessible cellular phone can serve as an excellent travel companion. France Telecom, one of the world's leading telecommunications carriers, has some products in development for facilitating travel, such as a means to create a travel diary that can include descriptions, notes, photos, and so forth that can later be converted to a Web site. The phone can be used to access recordable and downloadable information about historic monuments, for example. The same device may be useful for those with a cognitive disability who have difficulty remembering places or events, such as the location of a parked car.

                                    In general, an accessible cellular phone will allow all users, regardless of their disabilities, to use most of the features necessary for day-to-day activities. Currently, there is a large divide in the number of features that can benefit various users.

                                    The study of this industry is interesting for three reasons. First, the accessibility issues associated with cellular phones are fairly well understood. No one contests the fact that there are hearing aid compatibility issues with digital cellular phones, or that operation of many phone features requires vision. Second, market considerations, such as miniaturization and the need to produce low-cost products quickly in order to remain competitive, seem to run counter to many accessibility requirements. As keypads become smaller and more stylized, many users find that operation of the keypad is difficult, and some users with upper-mobility impairments find dialing to be impossible. Finally, government regulations, or the threat thereof, have caused many companies to scramble for solutions that can be implemented economically.

                                    PDAs. PDAs store, analyze, and retrieve needed information, on demand, any time and anywhere. The functionality of PDAs has grown significantly beyond the traditional tasks of time and contact management. A PDA serves as a portable personal computer and augmentative communications device. Some of the many industries using PDAs are health care, building/construction, engineering, food service, and sales. PDAs are useful for dispatching crews and managing mobile personnel. In addition, PDAs are used for leisure-time activities.

                                    PDAs provide "anywhere access," allowing individuals to keep track of and organize information relevant to their day-to-day activities. They are portable, allowing individuals to possess information in a variety of contexts. They can be used as a calculator, address book, calendar, memo pad, expense tracker, and an electronic information storage device. While PDAs are particularly useful in the business world, they serve as an excellent memory aid for any individual. Information can be transferred between the PDA and a personal computer (PC), providing portable access to information.

                                    Currently, the accessibility of such devices is limited, but a market for accessible PDAs is emerging. In the future, PDAs will significantly increase access to information and facilitate control of surrounding devices for everyone. Such devices, especially those based on the Pocket PC platform, will support a variety of input methods that may be tailored to an individual's specific functional capabilities and limitations. Their inherent ability to control external devices, via Bluetooth, WiFi networking, or IR (infrared), will eventually lead to increased access to devices such as televisions and information kiosks.

                                    An accessible PDA can serve as an excellent travel companion (France Telecom, 2003). (See www.francetelecom.com) France Telecom has some products in development for facilitating travel. A PDA can serve as a tourist guide, providing information about restaurants, banks, and emergency services. It can also serve as a guide for attendees at conferences and trade shows, providing assistance in locating specific exhibitors or getting schedule information.

                                    A future use of PDAs might be service as a personal captioning device that could be worn by a person who is deaf or hard of hearing in a movie theater, lecture hall, or meeting room. Speech-to-text software might be used to automatically convert a speaker's words to captions in real time. The system would make it possible for the user to follow along in real time when a sign language translator isn't available. In a movie theater, the system would draw on the captions that normally come prepackaged with films, but that usually are not displayed at public venues. As the captions are being entered, a transmitter sends them to a PDA carried by the user. The user can read the text right off the PDA screen or off of a 30-gram, commercially available mini-monitor that clips onto his or her glasses. With the mini-monitor, the user can keep an eye on the action and read the captions at the same time (Technology Review, 2003/2004).

                                    In general, an accessible PDA will allow all users, regardless of their disabilities, to use most of the features necessary for day-to-day activities. Currently, there is a large divide in the number of features that can benefit various users.

                                    Television. Television is a medium that entertains, informs, and educates; it can also serve as a companion to people who, due to circumstances beyond their control, are limited to their homes. Traditionally, people have used TVs to receive news reports and watch movies, sports events, and other programming. Technologically advanced TV systems allow viewers to play interactive games, take a distance learning course, send instant messages, surf the Web, send an email, and shop for and purchase products. High-definition television (HDTV) is a television system that has more than the usual number of lines per frame, so its pictures show more detail. Interactive television (iTV) provides richer entertainment, interaction, and more information pertaining to the shows, props, and their creators. In a sense, iTV combines traditional TV viewing with the interactivity enjoyed by those communicating through the Internet.

                                    The Federal Government has mandated that most new television sets must have closed captioning equipment built into the devices. Such equipment has benefited those learning English as a second language and those watching television in noisy environments, in addition to the obvious benefit to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

                                    The inclusion of televisions in the product lines of this research was important because the product line facilitated the study of a situation where the Federal Government imposed a hard restriction on a specific industry. The addition of the closed captioning chip is often touted as a success story of government regulation; however, the industry as a whole did not take up the banner of accessibility in meeting this requirement. For example, the accessibility of remote controls and on-screen menus is often lacking, creating additional barriers. It was instructive to contrast mandated accessibility features with the softer technical requirements of Section 508 that govern the purchase of E&IT by the Federal Government.

                                    Distance Learning Software. Distance learning is a means of providing educational content via audio, video, or computer technologies, whether for an academic program or a business setting. The content may be live or prerecorded. Distance learning is a feasible method of continuing one's education without the need to be physically present in a classroom. Web-based distance learning is a great benefit to those whose schedules demand that their education be self-paced, those who are geographically separated from the classroom, and those who have disabilities that make physical access to the classroom difficult. In a typical distance learning environment, the student must have access to classroom materials such as documents, animations, and videos. In addition, students must be able to participate in class exercises via email or group chat sessions.

                                    Accessible distance learning can provide the opportunity for a larger number of people to participate in the learning process and can increase the speed at which people with various impairments can complete the requirements of the course. Distance learning removes many of the barriers associated with traditional learning environments, such as transportation, general mobility, building access, and information processing limitations. Although much is known about the accessibility issues of the technologies required to facilitate access to distance learning courses, a significant effort is required to develop accessible content.

                                    Voice Recognition Software. Voice recognition technology (VRT) is a means of providing input via voice rather than mechanical means. It is particularly useful for people who do not have hands, who have limited functioning of their hands, or who cannot see the input options or activate the correct control to submit input. VRT by itself is neither accessible nor inaccessible. It is the integration of VRT into other products and services that can help make those products and services more accessible and usable. VRT, also referred to as speech recognition technology (SRT), provides telecommunications and computing devices with the ability to recognize and carry out voice commands or take dictation.

                                    There are different types of speech recognition systems, some of which are better suited for certain people. There are systems that require training, and those that don't. Speaker-dependent systems, trained to recognize a particular individual's voice, are better able to process an individual's speech patterns, but they can take a significant amount of time to train. There are also continuous versus discrete speech recognition systems in which, respectively, the user can talk at a normal rate or is required to talk with pauses between words.

                                    Voice recognition enhances quality of life and independence for everyone. A number of new products, such as tablet PCs, information kiosks, and interactive voice response (IVR) systems, have speech recognition/production capabilities built into the devices. Users do not have to use their hands when operating a device that incorporates speech recognition. This technology is also useful in a hands-busy environment, such as when a radiologist analyzes X-rays by holding them up to the light and voice dictates the results to a computer. It is also helpful when operating small devices like cell phones and PDAs.

                                    VRTs can be used to enable people to access a Web site using a telephone. Extending access of a commercial Web site to telephones can attract new customers who may not be in a position to use a computer connected to the Internet, such as an individual who is blind or visually impaired. Accessibility can be further enhanced through VoiceXML standards. The Voice Extensible Markup Language (VXML) Forum is an industry organization established to promote VoiceXML as the universal standard for speech-enabled Web applications for creating Web content and services that can be accessed by phone.

                                    Speech display/recognition systems represent a large step forward in usability and accessibility of computing devices. Until recently, the inaccuracy of voice recognition systems has hampered their deployment. In the future, embedded speech recognition/production systems will enhance the accessibility of a variety of common electronic and information technologies and are therefore worthy of study.

                                    Section D: Definition of the Market Environment—Literacy

                                    The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 defines literacy as "an individual's ability to read, write, speak in English, compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job, in the family of the individual, and in society."

                                    The International Adult Literacy Survey (Adult Literacy Survey, 2003) was a 22-country initiative conducted between 1994 and 1998. In every country, nationally representative samples of adults between the ages of 16 and 65 were interviewed and tested at home, using the same literacy test. The main purpose of the survey was to find out how well adults use information to function in society. Another aim was to investigate the factors that influence literacy proficiency and to compare these factors among countries.

                                    According to the National Institute for Literacy, "Very few adults in the U.S. are truly illiterate. Rather, there are many adults with low literacy skills who lack the foundation they need to find and keep decent jobs, support their children's education, and participate actively in civic life." According to the National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS), between 21 and 23 percent of the adult population, or approximately 44 million people, scored between 0 and 20 percent on literacy proficiency. Another 25–28 percent of the adult population, or between 45 and 50 million people, scored between 20 and 40 percent. Literacy experts believe that adults with skills at these levels lack a sufficient foundation of basic skills to function successfully in our society.

                                    Many factors help to explain the relatively large number of adults in the 0–20 percent category. Twenty-five percent of adults in this category were immigrants who may have just been learning to speak English. In addition, more than 60 percent did not complete high school; more than 30 percent were over the age of 65; more than 25 percent had physical or mental conditions that kept them from fully participating in work, school, housework, or other activities; and almost 20 percent had vision problems that affected their ability to read print. A large percentage of the population in the United States are at literacy proficiency below 40 percent. Design for individuals with limited literacy skills also accommodates individuals who have learning disabilities or cognitive disabilities that impact reading comprehension.

                                     

                                    Section E: Customer Analysis

                                    Visual Impairments

                                    There are approximately 10 million people in the United States who are blind or visually impaired and about 6 million in the European Union (EU). Visual impairments include the following: blindness, partially sighted, low vision, and color blindness. In addition to medical conditions that impact vision, visual perception may be impacted by distraction from a busy, cluttered visual environment, visual fatigue, colored or high- or low-lighting conditions, and adverse weather conditions. Users with visual impairments may encounter great difficulty or find it impossible to complete the following types of tasks:

                                    • Locating equipment
                                    • Locating commands/devices
                                    • Identifying commands/devices
                                    • Using touchscreens
                                    • Reading text on a screen
                                    • Selecting objects on a screen
                                    • Receiving graphics and video information
                                    • Receiving visual alerts and signals
                                    • Inserting cards/coins/media
                                    • Reading printed material, including instruction manuals

                                    In general, people with impaired vision may have difficulty perceiving visual detail, focusing on objects either close up or at a distance, separating objects that do not have sufficient contrast, perceiving objects in both central and peripheral vision, perceiving color and contrast brightness, adapting to different light levels, tracking moving objects, and judging distances (Story, Mueller, and Mace, 1998).

                                    Hearing Impairments
                                    More than 24 million people in the United States and about 22 million in the EU have a significant loss of hearing. Hearing impairments include the following: deafness, hard of hearing, conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss (both conductive and sensorineural). In addition to medical conditions that impact hearing, auditory perception may be impacted by attending to multiple sound sources, functioning in loud environments, and using headphones. Users who are deaf or hard of hearing may encounter great difficulty or find it impossible to complete the following tasks:

                                    • Receiving audio information
                                    • Understanding speech information
                                    • Receiving acoustic alerts and signals
                                    • Using speech input

                                    In general, people with impaired hearing may have difficulty localizing the source or direction of sound, filtering out background sound, perceiving both high- and low-pitched sounds, and carrying on a conversation (Story, Mueller, and Mace, 1998).

                                    Mobility Impairments
                                    More than 40 million people in the United States and about 32 million in the EU have a significant loss of mobility. Mobility impairments can include the following symptoms: tremors and spasticity, paralysis and partial paralysis, amputation, and loss of coordination and strength. In addition to medical conditions that impact mobility, mobility may be impacted by pain, fatigue, availability of one hand or arm while the other is occupied with another task, wearing thick clothing or gloves, small hands, wet or oily hands, and adverse environmental conditions (e.g., bad weather or uneven terrain). Users with mobility impairments may encounter great difficulty or find it impossible to complete the following tasks:

                                    • Using switches
                                    • Lifting/holding devices and handsets
                                    • Using dials
                                    • Using numeric keypads
                                    • Writing with a keyboard
                                    • Handling a pointing device
                                    • Using a touchscreen
                                    • Inserting cards/coins/media
                                    • Handling printed manuals and books
                                    • Accessing equipment

                                    In general, people with impaired mobility may have difficulty with tasks requiring range of motion, coordination, strength, and balance. More specifically, difficulties may be apparent in the following areas: reaching, pushing, pulling, lifting, lowering, carrying, grasping, squeezing, rotating, twisting, and pinching (Story, Mueller, and Macel, 1998).

                                    Cognitive Disabilities
                                    More than 12 million people in the United States and 9 million in the EU have a significant cognitive disability. Cognitive disabilities can include the following: dyslexia, cerebral palsy, retardation, and severe learning disabilities. In addition to medical conditions that impact cognition, cognitive processing may be impacted by a limited vocabulary or grammar, limited literacy, cultural or language differences, fatigue, or distraction. Users with cognitive disabilities may encounter great difficulty or find it impossible to complete the following tasks:

                                    • Writing on a keyboard
                                    • Reading text on a screen
                                    • Reading printed material
                                    • Understanding speech information
                                    • Handling a pointing device, such as a mouse
                                    • Navigating complex menu structures
                                    • Responding quickly

                                    In general, people with impaired cognition may have difficulty "…receiving, comprehending, interpreting, remembering, or acting on information." More specifically, difficulties may be apparent in the following areas: beginning a task without a prompt or reminder, responding within an appropriate time frame, concentrating, comprehending visual or auditory information, understanding or expressing language, following procedures or doing things in order, organizing information, remembering things, making decisions and solving problems, and learning new things or doing things a new or different way (Story, Mueller, and Mace, 1998).

                                    Individuals 65+ Years of Age

                                    The number of people 65+ years of age living in the United States is approximately 36 million (Population, 2003). In the top five emerging markets, the number of people 65+ years of age is 174 million. Aging populations cannot see, hear, think or move about as easily as younger generations. Fifty-two percent (U.S. Census Bureau, 1997) of people 65+ years of age experience one or more of the following (Telecommunications Industry, 1996):

                                    • Decreased visual acuity
                                    • Reduced powers of accommodation
                                    • Decreased contrast sensitivity
                                    • Increased sensitivity to glare
                                    • Longer dark adaptation times
                                    • Decreased color vision and discrimination
                                    • Hearing impairments
                                    •  

                                    Consumers Living in Low-Bandwidth Information Infrastructures

                                    It is not uncommon for people living in the United States to take the Internet, and the bandwidth that comes with it, for granted. The United States and Canada have the technical capacity to provide bandwidth of 1,182 Mbps per capita (Haub, 2003). Developers of Web-based content targeted for use by U.S. and Canadian consumers do not necessarily need to concern themselves with limited bandwidth. In comparison, Asia has only 21 Mbps of bandwidth available per capita (Light Reading, 2002). Five billion consumers live within low-bandwidth infrastructures. This provides a significant business incentive to design Web-based content that is accessible, usable, and useful from within low-bandwidth infrastructures.

                                    People Who Never Learned To Read

                                    There are 7 million people who never learned to read living in the United States. Compare this to the 439 million consumers who never learned to read living in the five countries with the largest potential emerging markets. People who are not able to read cannot use ATMs, PDAs, or the Web, unless they are designed with access in mind. People who never learned to read can benefit significantly from voice dialing and talking ATMs (Literacy Demographic Data, 2003).

                                    Users of English as a Second Language (ESL)

                                    The number of people believed to speak English as a second language is around 300 million. Users of ESL include individuals whose mother tongue is not English, but who live in countries where English has official or joint official status. In these instances, English is often used to conduct official business. English is the official or joint official language of more than 70 countries.

                                    There are approximately 375 million speakers of English as a first language. There are approximately 750 million speakers who have learned English as a foreign language (ESL Online Education and Training, 2000). In 2000, 28.4 million foreign-born people resided in the United States, representing 10.4 percent of the total U.S. population. ESL programs are the fastest-growing component of state-administered adult education programs. In 1997–98, 48 percent of adult education enrollments were in ESL programs, compared with 33 percent in 1993–94. Of the 1997–98 ESL students in adult education, 32 percent were in beginning ESL classes, 12 percent in intermediate classes, and 4 percent in advanced classes (National Institute for Literacy, 2003). As evidenced by these statistics, the needs of users who are not native-born English speakers must be considered when designing accessible products.

                                    Consumers Living in High-Density Populations

                                    Population densities were calculated by dividing the area of land of a given country (Area, 2003) by that country's population (Population, 2003). People per square kilometer is one of the factors considered when calculating the average number of people that will have to wait in line to use any given ATM, self-service kiosk, or self-checkout point-of-sale device in a country. There are three people per square kilometer of available land space living in Canada. The number of people per square kilometer living in the United States is 31. This is 10 times that of Canada. On average, the transaction time required when using an ATM or other self-service device needs to be faster in the United States than in Canada if the ratio of the number of self-service devices to size of geographical area is the same. Designing for access can reduce transaction times and increase customer satisfaction. Designing ATMs for faster use can be a competitive advantage in emerging markets, where population densities skyrocket. For example, in China there are 138 people per square kilometer. In India the number rises to 352.

                                    High-Language-Density Populations

                                    Large numbers of people living in areas where a large number of languages are spoken increase the complexity of delivering more accessibly designed interfaces. There are 25 languages spoken by a minimum number of 750,000 people living in China. In India there are 54 languages (SIL, 2003). This poses a challenge to accessible design. Companies must devise solutions to designing accessible products for high-language-density populations that meet the needs of all speakers.

                                    Consumers in Situations That Reduce Sensory or Visual Capabilities

                                    Designing for access does more than just benefit users with disabilities who desire accessibility features; UD practices also benefit all consumers when they find themselves in various situations that reduce their sensory or visual capabilities. For example, one accessibility feature for cellular phones that is rated as very important by users who are blind is voiced menu options. In addition to making cell phones more accessible to individuals who are blind, this feature benefits users driving in their cars who would rather focus their visual attention and capabilities on driving than on navigating through their cellular phone menus to find a phone number or make a call. This feature also is important in increasing the user's safety in such situations.

                                    Another important accessibility feature for cellular phones that benefits all consumers, which was designed with hard-of-hearing users in mind, is adjustable volume control. When a consumer is navigating through a noisy environment such as a mall, construction site, or airport, it is often hard to hear a phone ring or to hear the person you're talking to on the other end of the line. The volume-control feature, initially marketed to a specific disability group, also benefits all consumers, with or without a disability, who find themselves in such a situation.

                                    As another example, consider the design of buttons for ATMs, cellular phones, and PDAs. Larger keypad buttons are an important accessibility features for individuals with low vision or upper-mobility impairments. However, this feature has also appealed to consumers whose dexterity is limited when they are wearing winter gloves, for example. Larger keypad buttons make it easier for them to withdraw money from an outdoor ATM or to make a phone call while wearing gloves. In addition to larger buttons, larger displays on cellular phones and PDAs, an accessibility feature marketed to users with low vision, is another feature that benefits all consumers who are, for example, operating a device at night or in a foggy environment.

                                    Accessibility features of televisions, such as closed captioning, can be beneficial to any consumers who are at a noisy party or watching a sports match in a restaurant, where their auditory capabilities are limited.

                                    These are just a few examples of situations in which features that are designed with users with disabilities in mind actually increase the accessibility and appeal of products for the wider population. Companies should consider that when they design for accessibility, they benefit from offering products that will appeal to the general population as well as users with disabilities.

                                     

                                    Section F: Analysis of the International Market

                                    The scope of this analysis includes countries other than the United States. While it is natural for one to think locally (the United States), industry is global. International (including U.S.) business drivers for accessible design have far more impact. The business justification for this approach lies in the fact that, according to the Department of Commerce's (DOC's) Economic and Statistics Administration, more than 95 percent of the world's economic activity takes place outside of the United States, and the majority of the world's market is untouched by most U.S.-based businesses. Only 12 percent of U.S. businesses export their products, although a much greater percentage of them are able to do so (Czinkota, 2001).

                                    Information provided in this section of the report was taken directly from 2004 country commercial guides (CCGs) prepared by U.S. embassy staff. This section specifically focuses on the section of each county's guide that identifies the leading sectors for U.S. exports and investments. CCGs are published once a year and contain information on the business, economic situation, and political climate of foreign countries as they affect U.S. business. Each CCG contains the same chapters and an appendix that includes topics such as marketing, trade regulations, investment climate, and business travel.

                                    Economic activity is not the same as gross domestic product (GDP). The term economic activity, as used by the DOC, represents the value of total imports and exports for a given country for a given year. Total U.S. imports plus total U.S. exports for 2002, expressed as a percentage of GDP, was less than 5 percent. U.S. imports for 2002 totaled $1.165 trillion. Total exports totaled $682 billion. The combined total was $1.847 trillion. Divide this by $49 trillion, the world's GDP, and that is how DOC expresses this particular metric. If you compare apples to apples, world economic activity for 2002 was $12.6 trillion. Divide this into $1.84 trillion, and U.S. economic activity was 14.7 percent of world economic activity in 2002.

                                    The countries targeted for this study were not selected based on market potential alone. They were also selected based on the level of U.S. corporate investment in each of the five emerging market countries covered in this report––that is, investments that support the establishment of long-term business relationships. Between 1990 and 2002, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the five emerging market countries exceeded US$614 billion (Kearney, 2002). Four-fifths of the world's population live in developing countries. The top 15 highest potential emerging markets account for 28.6 percent (US$14 trillion) of the world's gross domestic product (US$49 trillion). The door to emerging trade opportunities is being opened by the increasing need for high-technology products and other capital equipment. Supporting the growth, prosperity, and independence of developing countries implies the use of information technology. These technologies include telecommunication, education, and banking infrastructures. According to Subhash Bhatnagar (n.d.) of the World Bank, technology is a critical success factor in enabling developing governments to reach out to their citizens for the purposes of—

                                    • Improving delivery of services to citizens

                                      If the people living in developing countries are not able to access and use the technologies fundamental to that country's growth and prosperity, that country will not succeed in achieving acceptable qualities of life, independence, or employability for its citizens.

                                      The emerging markets selected to be part of this analysis are made up of the top five developing countries, with the highest populations, established by GlobalEDGE (2003) as having the highest overall market potential. These countries are China, India, Russia, Mexico, and Turkey.

                                      China (China, 2003)

                                      China: Information Technology (IT)

                                      China is home to one of the largest and fastest growing IT markets in the world. According to statistics released by the Ministry of Information Industry (MII), the 2002 total sales value for E&IT products was US$169.5 billion, an increase of 17.8 percent over the previous year. This statistic refers to Chinese imports. China imported approximately US$74 billion worth of IT products in 2002. The total market size is estimated to be US$215 billion. According to both government and private sector sources, the demand for IT products is expected to maintain a high growth level due to rapid economic development in China and high demand driven by favorable national policy and growing consumer power.

                                      The Chinese government is now pursuing a national development strategy of "using informatization to drive industrialization and using industrialization to promote informatization." Current national development policies give top priority to development of the IT industry and encourage wide application of IT in all economic and social fields. According to MII, in 2002, the domestic E& IT industry output was US$206.98 billion, up 20.9 percent over the previous year, which is almost three times the growth rate of China's GDP in the same period. This statistic refers to industry output.

                                      As China continues to develop as a center for manufacturing, and as foreign investment, the strength of local companies, and the affluence of local consumers all continue to increase, information products and services—ranging from business applications to digital consumer products—will drastically increase in the next 5 to 10 years. Major drivers of growth include China's e-government initiative, e-commerce development, "two pillars of the economy" initiative (i.e., the development of national software and integrated circuit [IC] industries), as well as China's need to enhance its competitiveness across all industrial sectors due to the rapid pace of globalization as a result of its access to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The 2008 Olympic Games will also provide a strong impetus for growth in demand of IT products and services in the next five years. It is estimated that Beijing will spend close to US$3.6 billion on IT infrastructure and systems to meet the needs of the Olympic Games.

                                      As a concrete measure to implement its strategy of using informatization to drive industrialization, the Chinese government initiated an ambitious e-government program in 2001. According to the China Center of Information Industry Development (CCID), a local consulting firm, the Chinese government has thus far spent a total of US$4.2 billion on e-government projects. In the next two to three years, the compound growth rate of government spending on IT will be 25.7 percent. More than US$12.1 billion will be spent on e-government over the next five years.

                                      Since the bursting of investment bubbles in dot-com ventures, China's Internet business market seems to have recovered its vigor for growth. The three major portals, Sina.com, Sohu.com, and Netease.com, all claimed to have made profits since the second half of 2002. With short messaging service (SMS), online advertisement, online gaming, and online trade, these major portals are finding their way to sustainable and profitable business models. The progress made by these portals is an encouraging factor to e-commerce development, which will create huge demand for IT products, from hardware to software, from system software to innovative applications and services.

                                      Driven by huge demand and facilitated by favorable investment policies, China's IC industry returned to a fast track of growth in 2002. The growth in China's IC market seems to have caught the world's attention. According to CCID, China's 2002 IC market size reached US$21.54 billion, accounting for 15.3 percent of the world market. That said, currently, 85 percent of China's domestic IC demand is met by imports.

                                      Although China is now playing a significant role in electronics and information products manufacturing (total production volume is believed to have surpassed that of Japan to become the world's second largest producer), it still lacks core technologies for almost all of the products it produces. For instance, China is the number 1 producer of mobile handsets, but core chips needed to produce the phones must be imported. The same is true for other products, including DVDs, high-end color TVs, computers, and monitors. Although the government has promulgated policies to encourage the development of IC and software, China's heavy reliance on imports for high-end chips, parts, and components for most of the electronics and information products is not expected to change significantly for as long as a decade. With leading technologies in almost all fields of information technology, U.S. companies have a great advantage in meeting the increasing market demand for high-valued-added chips, devices, and components.

                                      Other best prospects include production lines and equipment for the manufacture of E&IT products, including semiconductors. More and more world manufacturing capacity is moving to the country where demand for highly sophisticated modern manufacturing lines almost solely relies on imports from developed countries. For instance, China is currently not capable of producing critical semiconductor equipment for processing 0.18-micron chips. In this area, China is two generations behind the latest world technological levels. Demand for equipment and instruments for processing, packaging, and testing chips will be met only by imports. Moreover, software tools and intellectual property cores for designing chips appear to provide good sales opportunities for U.S. companies.

                                      Consumer electronics is another area of high growth. According to CCID, China's 2002 sales of digital cameras, mobile storage devices (flash memory), MP3 players, and digital video cameras increased more than 100 percent from 2001. PDAs are also an area with deep potential for growth. U.S. companies have a big role to play in supplying the operating system, core chips, or production expertise for these products.

                                      However, the key to succeeding in any of the above "best prospects" markets is to localize your products. Although there is great demand, U.S. suppliers are not the only source. Competitors in Europe and Asia (e.g., Japan, Taiwan, and Korea) are also trying to meet the demand. It is imperative that U.S. companies understand the market and the specific needs/demands of Chinese customers in order to take full advantage of the market.

                                      Although U.S. companies still dominate much of the high-end hardware market in China's fast-growing computer market—such as high-end servers, printers, routers, and network equipment—their dominance is severely challenged by fledgling local players such as Lenovo (the new brand name for Legend Corp.). CCID's 2002 statistics show signs of a maturing market, with emphasis of demand shifting toward software and IT services. U.S. companies such as IBM and HP, and software giants Microsoft, Oracle, Sybase, and BEA keep dominance on China's system software, platform software, applications, and IT consulting services market.

                                      Table 3: China's Information Technology Market

                                      Notes: The figures above are calculated in millions of U.S. dollars and represent unofficial estimates. Trade numbers are based on Chinese customs figures for the HTS codes 8470–8473, 8517–8534, and 8540–8542. Local production figures are from MII. The MII figures for export in 2002 were US$92.1 billion and US$65.2 for 2001; domestic sales figures were US$162.79 billion for 2002 and US$143.88 for 2001.

                                      China: Telecommunications Equipment

                                      China's telecommunications industry continued the momentum of rapid growth in 2002, despite the downturn in the industry worldwide. As of the end of May 2003, the total absolute number of telephone users in China reached 462 million, among which 232 million were landlines subscribers and 230 million were cell phone users. However, the penetration rates of fixed lines at 17.5 percent and mobiles at 16.2 percent clearly indicate there is room for further growth. In the five years since 1997, China's telecommunications industry registered an average annual growth rate of 20 percent.

                                      In 2002, Chinese telecommunications carriers invested US$25.4 billion in telecom infrastructure, compared with US$29 billion in 2001. As a result, carriers were able to recruit 95.45 million new telephone subscribers that year. Their aggregated revenue reached US$55.36 billion, with China Telecom having a 32.5 percent share, China Netcom 16.6 percent, China Mobile 37.4 percent, China Unicom 12.1 percent, and others (China Railcom and ChinaSat) 1.4 percent.

                                      China's MII, the most important government regulator in the telecommunications industry, projected that Chinese telecommunications carriers would invest US$25.5 billion in 2003 to recruit 33 million fixed line telephone subscribers and 52 million cellular phone users. MII expected the fixed line penetration rate to reach 19.4 percent by the end of 2003 and cellular penetration rate to reach 20.1 percent.

                                      The Chinese government is expected to grant third generation (3G) licenses to four Chinese telecom operators in the first half of 2004. Besides China Mobile and China Unicom, which are the two incumbent mobile communication service providers, fixed line operators, China Telecom and China Netcom, are also likely to obtain such licenses.

                                      A competitive market environment is taking shape in China's telecommunications sector. In 2004, China's six licensed basic telecom operators—China Telecom, China Netcom, China Mobile, China Unicom, China Railcom and ChinaSat—are expected to expand and optimize their networks in order to meet the growing need for telecommunications services. Moreover, they are expected to compete against each other as well as potential competitors from multinational companies that are planning to explore business opportunities in this lucrative market.

                                      It is important to recognize that, while the Chinese government appears committed to foster a more competitive telecommunications service environment, this commitment does not necessarily mean that equipment vendors with the best technology and/or lowest prices will succeed in the Chinese marketplace.

                                      China's telecommunications equipment market is characterized by intense competition and a multitude of complex, multilayered political and economic factors that must be carefully and appropriately evaluated in order to achieve success.

                                      MII is subject to oversight by the State Council. MII was created in March 1998 by merging the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications with the Ministry of Electronics Industry (MEI). Other influential government agencies in China's telecommunications industry include the State Council Informatization Office (SCITO) and the National Planning and Reform Commission (NPRC). SCITO was set up in August 2001 as an interagency coordinating body to oversee China's regulatory and commercial developments in the IT and telecommunications sectors and implement the central government's policies and measures that drive information technologies. NDRC is the approver of important and large projects.

                                      In March 2003, the former Party Secretary of Hebei Province, Wang Xudong, replaced Wu Jichuan as the minister of MII. In May, Minister Wang was also appointed the director of SCITO, replacing Zeng Peiyan, who was promoted to serve as a State Councilor. Having Wang as head of both MII and SCITO is a sign that the Chinese government is moving to integrate its policies and strategies on telecommunications and information industries.

                                      China does not yet have a telecommunications law in place. However, MII has promulgated telecommunications regulations and regulations on foreign investment in the telecommunications industry based on its WTO commitments.

                                      MII requires that most telecom equipment, including terminal devices such as cellular phones, fixed line phones, and fax machines and network products like switches and base station equipment, be tested and certified. There are two kinds of certificates: (1) type of approval (TA) for radio products, and (2) telecom equipment network access license (NAL) for all other products. MII's Radio Regulatory Department tests radio products and issues TA certificates, while MII's Telecom Administration Bureau issues telecom equipment NALs.

                                      In addition, certain telecom products may also need to obtain a CCC mark (China Product Compulsory Certification mark) from China's State General Administration of Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). More information is available on AQSIQ's Web site, www.aqsiq.gov.cn or www.cnca.gov.cn, or go to the following Web page for frequently asked questions on the CCC mark:http://www.mac.doc.gov/China/Docs/BusinessGuides/CCCFAQ.htm.

                                      Testing of products by the carriers is a must, even if these products will be sold to local operators.

                                      Larger vendors are advised to work directly with the carriers to sell their products, while smaller firms may want to start with agents and distributors that have the necessary resources, connections, and technical support.

                                      China: Telecommunications Subsectors

                                      Mobile communications include the following 3G and value-added service platforms:

                                      Table 4: China's Telecommunications Equipment Market

                                      Note: The above figures are calculated in millions of U.S. dollars. They are taken in part from MII's reported top 15 Chinese telecom vendors' sales estimates and represent unofficial estimates.

                                      China: Software Market

                                      China's general computer market revenues increased 16 percent in 2002, totaling US$28.5 billion in sales. Of the overall computer market revenues, hardware accounted for 67.2 percent, software accounted for 14.6 percent, and information services accounted for18.2 percent. According to February 2003 reports in the CCID Consulting News, the software market will continue to post strong growth as a result of a favorable domestic economy and the trend of industries and enterprises toward China's informatization.

                                      Within the software market, applications software accounted for 64.5 percent of the total market; middleware accounted for 6.6 percent, representing a 2.9 percent increase over the same period last year; and platform software accounted for 28.9 percent. In line with China's overall rapid development in the IT sector, market competition has become more intense.

                                      China: Best Prospects in Software

                                      China's Tenth Five-Year Plan indicates that the following software projects are the priorities:

                                      China's successful bid for the 2008 Olympic Games as well as its membership in the WTO will be the main drivers for growth in the software market and industry over the next several years. In 2003, the software tariffs were eliminated (reduced to zero). Furthermore, China issued a number of policies ranging from export incentives to value-added tax rebates and financial assistance to small businesses, as well as laws addressing intellectual property rights protection. If U.S. companies can gain good access to the China market, there should be positive opportunities in the software market.

                                      Table 5: China's Packaged Software Import and Export Market:

                                      Notes: The above figures are calculated in millions of U.S. dollars and are representative of estimates from the China Customs Import and Export data. 
                                      The table above is calculated based on HS codes 8524.31, 8524.39, 8524.40, 8524.91, and 8524.99; software downloaded from the Internet is not included in the table above.

                                      India (India, 2004)

                                      India: Telecommunications Equipment

                                      India's 48 million-line telephone network is among the top 10 networks in the world and the second largest among the emerging economies, after China. India has one of the fastest-growing telecommunications systems in the world, with system size (total connections) growing at an average of more than 20 percent per annum over the last four years. The network consists of more than 26,300 telephone exchanges, equipped with a capacity of nearly 48 million lines and nearly 36 million working telephones. According to the government of India telecom plan (1997–2007) prepared by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), the demand for new telephone lines during the period up to 2007 is estimated at 81.8 million. This projected demand will necessitate approximately 64 million telephones during the next eight years. BSNL and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) will provide about 43 million telephones, and private operators will provide 21 million telephones. The industry is considered to have the highest potential for investment in India. The growth in demand for telecom services in India will be highest in basic services, followed by national long distance, international long distance, and the cellular services sectors.

                                      India has a relatively low density of telephones, 4 per 100 persons, with plans to increase to 7 by 2005 and 15 by 2010. Tele-density in India rural areas is 0.5 per 100 people, and the government plans to increase this to 4 per 100 by 2010. A total of 500,105 out of 607,491 villages have been provided with a village public telephone (VPT), i.e., one telephone per village. Considering India's population of 1 billion, it is estimated that to achieve these objectives, approximately 78 million telephone connections will be required by the year 2005, and 175 million telephone connections by the year 2010. At current prices, this translates to an additional investment of approximately $37 billion by 2005 and $68 billion by 2010.

                                      The total subscriber base of cellular phones is currently at 13 million, up by 80 percent from the previous year. According to Cellular Operators Association of India, it is estimated that the subscriber base will reach 40 million by 2006 and 300 million by 2010, resulting in huge opportunities for U.S. telecom equipment vendors.

                                      The installation base of direct exchange lines (DELs) was at 37 million DELs in 2002 and is expected to grow to 82 million DELs by 2007. DoT/ MTNL will provide about 80 percent of DELs of the additional DELs. It is estimated that each DEL will cost about $900.

                                      India has created a strong manufacturing base for producing telecom products. Indian firms typically manufacture telecom switches with technical and financial collaboration from foreign firms. Around 19 Indian firms manufacture small and medium-sized switches, and 7 joint ventures produce large capacity switches. Bharat Sanchar Nigam LTD (BSNL) and government-owned MTNL are the largest end-users of telecom switches.

                                      The annual growth rate of net-switching capacity of the recently privatized BSNL for the period 1992–97 was around 16–18 percent. However, the growth rate speeded up after 1997, registering 22–24 percent annually.

                                      Value-added service providers are growing by the day and are demanding good infrastructure. Email, Internet services, frame relay services, video conferencing, electronic data interchange, and voice mail have been accorded value-added services status. These value-added services interface with basic telecom services and increase telecom traffic several fold. With the increased investment in the value-added services, the demand for other switching products—such as cellular switches, ISDN switches, gateway switches, and ATM switches—is bound to grow sharply.

                                      Digital switching system technologies of multinational companies—Alcatel, Siemens, Fujitsu, Lucent, Ericsson, and NEC—have been introduced in India. In addition, switching systems based on the indigenous technology developed by the state-owned Center for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) are used.

                                      The other promising sub-sectors are shown in Table 6.

                                      Table 6: Other Promising Telecommunications Equipment Sub-Sectors

                                      Table 7: Total Combined Market for Telecommunications Equipment in India

                                      Notes: The data are in millions of U.S. dollars, based on an exchange rate of $1 = INR 47.5. The date are unofficial estimates.

                                      India: Computers and Peripherals

                                      The Indian computers and peripherals market is expected to continue to expand to meet local demands. Private sector firms, government offices, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and small office–home office (SOHO) users continue to computerize their operations, contributing to the growth of the computer hardware market.

                                      The Indian software industry is enjoying a global leadership position in software development and exports. Indian software exports reached sales revenues of $10 billion, reflecting 30 percent growth over the previous year. Domestic IT sales revenues also expanded during 2002–03, reaching $6.67 billion. The growing Indian software and services sector continues to support growth in the computer hardware sector.

                                      IT-enabled services is another sector that witnessed impressive growth. Existing projects are expanding and new ventures are being established in India to capitalize on the highly skilled, cost-effective manpower. This sector witnessed impressive sales revenue growth from $1.49 billion in 2001–02 to approximately $2.46 billion in 2002–03. These developments continue to support hardware sales in the country.

                                      India: Information Technology

                                      The Indian IT industry is moving toward embedded technology requiring software and hardware codesign. Multimedia, workflow automation, virtual reality, and machine learning are some of the latest developments requiring embedded hardware. Personal computers and servers continue to dominate for office automation purposes.

                                      A study conducted by Manufacturers Association of Information Technology (MAIT) and Ernst & Young found that the Indian hardware sector has the potential to grow to 12 times its present size, reaching a sales turnover of $62 billion by 2010, with the domestic market accounting for $37 billion and the balance for exports (source: The Hindu Survey of Indian Industry).

                                      More than 135 small, medium, and large firms manufacture computers in India. Many multinational companies (MNCs), such as HP, IBM, Siemens, Dell, and ACER, have a strong presence and manufacturing facilities in India. Lesser-known branded/unbranded locally assembled PCs and Indian-branded PCs compete with MNC products. The market shares of each element in this segment vary from year to year. During the first six months of 2002–03, the locally assembled PCs had a share of 48 percent; Indian brands had 22 percent, and MNC products had a market share of 30 percent.

                                      India imports most of the high-performance computers and peripherals from the United States and Asian countries. Major Indian and U.S. software and services companies such as CISCO, Cognizant Technologies, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Texas Instruments import and use high-performance computer systems for their development projects. In addition, major Indian and international banks, insurance companies, Indian stock markets, Indian railways, and airlines also use high-performance computers, including mainframes and mid-sized computers.

                                      The national government of India and Indian state governments encourage new investments in computer hardware projects.

                                      The market size in 2003 of the various segments is given below:

                                      The estimates above are based on the literature from the following sources:

                                      Table 8: Computers and Peripherals in India

                                      Notes: The data are in millions of U.S. dollars, based on an exchange rate of $1 = INR 47.5. The date are unofficial estimates.

                                      India: Computer Engineering Software and Services

                                      The Indian software and services industry continues to show impressive growth rates. The software industry grew at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 50 percent during the last five years. Even though there was a global economic slowdown, Indian computer software exports jumped to $9.7 billion during 2002–03, from $7.68 billion in 2001–02, reflecting growth of more than 26 percent. Domestic software and services also grew from $2.08 billion in 2000–01 to $2.45 billion in 2001–02.

                                      The government of India aggressively supports this industry, which is projected to reach exports of $50 billion by 2008. The Indian government has undertaken initiatives such as simplification of policy procedures, manpower development, venture capital support, and infrastructure development to help promote the software industry. International Data Corporation, India (IDC- India), a premier research firm monitoring the IT industry worldwide, estimated the Indian IT engineering services market at $442 million in 2001, $566 million in 2002, and $633 million in 2003. IDC-India, in its report Directions 2003 for India, has estimated that the computer software engineering sector grew by 18 percent in 2002–03 (April–March), and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 11 percent during the years 2003–06.

                                      Present and projected increased uses of IT applications in state and central governments, e-governance applications, e-banking, elimination of import duty on software, enhanced enforcement of antipiracy laws, and the increased maturity of end-user organizations in using legal software, have all contributed to the rapid growth of the Indian software industry. According to India's Department of Information Technology, Indian IT spending as a percentage of GDP should reach 7 percent by 2008, from the present 3 percent.

                                      U.S. software and IT services companies have found opportunities by providing products and expertise that help to accelerate the market's growth. Notably, companies that provide tools and systems for IT-enabled services, such as call centers and business process outsourcing, have found good prospects in India. Likewise, companies that provide Web-based e-governance and e-commerce solutions will find interest from the Indians. The growing Internet service provider (ISP) market will also demand leading-edge ISP operations and user interface software. Appropriate software for vertical markets such as banking, health care, textiles, and telecommunications will also see an increase in demand.

                                      The most promising IT sub-sectors had the following market sizes in 2003, based on estimates in U.S. dollars:

                                      Table 9: Information Technology in India

                                      Note: The data are in millions of U.S. dollars, based on an exchange rate of $1 = INR 47.5.

                                      The estimates above are based on the literature from the following sources:

                                      Russia (Russia, 2004)

                                      Russia: Telecommunications Equipment

                                      The Russian telecommunications market has demonstrated strong growth over the last year, driven by Russia's continuing strong economic performance and the pressing need to upgrade the generally inadequate telecommunications infrastructure throughout the country. In 2002, the Russian market for telecommunications services grew 30 percent to $8.6 billion, and it is expected to top $10 billion in 2003. Meanwhile the number of cellular phones increased by 130 percent in 2002 to 17.7 million and reached 24 million in June 2003. Internet subscribers doubled in 2001 and 2002 and reached a 10 percent penetration rate in 2003.

                                      Telecommunications equipment sales are running at around $2 billion per year. At the beginning of 2003, Russia had more than 32 million telephone lines, up from 29.7 million on January 1, 2002, and the waiting list has 5 million names. However, there are more than 50,000 small rural communities without a single phone line. An objective of the Russian government is to place a telephone in every community or within an hour's walk. Given Russia's vast size, this is ambitious, indeed.

                                      Svyazinvest, the state-owned major fixed-line carrier, has been asked by the government to increase the number of fixed lines to 45 million by 2010. As tariffs are regulated at a low level, and increases are likely to be quite gradual, much of the capital expenditure budget is expected to come from outside investment. In part to increase its attractiveness to investors, Svyazinvest has completed a reorganization under which it has consolidated 70 regional phone companies into 7 super-regional telecom providers. In the process, its market capitalization rose from $1 billion at the initial phase of the reform in January 2001 to $1.8 billion by early 2003. There has been some discussion over a potential sale by the government of its 75-percent share in Svyazinvest.

                                      Over the next three years, the highest growth rate is expected in the broadband segment (xDSL, cable TV, and BWA). Dial-up Internet access should grow by 20 percent per annum, and the Internet segment should average 25-percent growth. Sales of packet switching gear will grow by 55 percent per year, and the virtual private network (VPN) market may triple. The cellular market, which represents about 35 percent of the Russian telecom market by value, is expected to maintain its market share, growing at the average rate of the industry in general.

                                      Continued growth in the Russian telecommunications services market will yield business opportunities for competitive U.S. telecommunications equipment suppliers. The best sales prospects are digital switching equipment; high-speed, broadband Internet access technologies; multiservice and multimedia solutions, including synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH), xDSL, (integrated services digital network (ISDN), dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM), and BWA; and call-center equipment. Companies entering the market should be prepared to compete with major foreign equipment manufacturers and deal with a complex regulatory environment.

                                      Table 10: Russia's Telecommunications Equipment Market

                                      Note: The figures above are based on Russian Customs statistics and may be an underestimate of U.S. imports. Because of their corporate structures, some U.S. equipment manufacturers ship products from their European warehouses. Russian Customs may attribute such shipments to Europe rather than the United States, despite the U.S. origin of the product.

                                       

                                      Russia: Computers, Peripherals, and Computer Software

                                      The Russian computer market represents one of the promising emerging markets for U.S. firms and has solid potential to grow. Industry sources estimate the IT market at $4.7 billion in 2002. Many major U.S. companies are already present in the market, and their products are available either directly or through representatives or distributors. Of necessity, though, Russian consumers are extremely price-sensitive and generally prefer a low-cost computer to a globally recognized brand name.

                                      The main trends in 2002 were a sizable increase in government purchases, expansion to Russia's regions, and strong growth in laptop and server sales. Imports account for 15 percent of Russia's personal computer market, while peripherals, networking, and larger system hardware are dominated by imports.

                                      The total number of computers in Russia exceeded 12 million by January 2003, with a penetration rate of 9 percent. It is estimated that by 2004 the number of Internet users will reach 15 million, and in the following seven years will grow to more than 35–40 million. The software market was estimated at $450 million in 2002, and growing at an annual rate of 25 percent; it was predicted to grow up to $600 million in 2003. The true demand for software, though, is difficult to determine, due to the high level of pirated software. Some industry sources estimate that piracy is up to 85 percent, but legislation (on patents and trademarks) and enforcement (e.g., a new arbitration code) should improve that situation. In 2002 the market for outsourcing software services was estimated up to $300 million. Total annual turnover of the systems integration market grew to $840 million in 2002, and is projected to continue its growth. This market sector is maturing, and new entrants will likely face serious competition from long-established companies.

                                      Continuing growth in the number and purchasing power of SMEs is driving demand for legally imported operating systems, software application packages, and enterprise management software. The best opportunities for sales of U.S.-manufactured hardware computer products in Russia appear to be peripherals, networking equipment, and Internet technology.

                                      Table 11: Computers, Peripherals, and Software in Russia

                                      Note: The figures above are based on Russian Customs and U.S. Department of Commerce data and unofficial estimates.

                                      Mexico (Mexico, 2004)

                                      Mexico: Electronic Components

                                      The electronics industry in Mexico is evolving. Fueled by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the industry has moved into new product lines, including automotive electronics, network equipment, game consoles, printers, high-capacity servers, storage media, and even semiconductor design. As the second most important export industry in Mexico, the electronics industry imports 92 percent of the electronic components it requires, 85 percent of which come from U.S suppliers. However, more and more components are being imported from other areas of the world, mainly Asia and Eastern Europe.

                                      There are competitive advantages for Mexican electronics firms to import components from U.S. suppliers under NAFTA, including short lead times in transportation, virtually 100 percent duty-free electronic components, and streamlined customs procedures. In addition, NAFTA has led to increased foreign direct investment, and many of the original equipment manufacturers are U.S. investment operations that utilize U.S. components in their designs. U.S. market share has declined, however, due to the Mexican government's program of sectoral promotion (PROSEC) program, which established most favored nation (MFN) tariffs of zero or 5 percent for many categories of industrial inputs, thereby eroding the value of NAFTA duty-free entry for U.S. suppliers.

                                      As a result of the slowdown of the U.S. consumer electronics market, Mexican imports of U.S. components for assembly and reexport decreased significantly in 2002. This trend is expected to continue in the near future until the U.S. economy recovers.

                                      There are two main centers for the electronics industry in Mexico—Baja California (Tijuana) and Guadalajara.

                                      Baja California

                                      Electronics is one of Baja California's most important industries, with 180 plants (approximately 26 percent of Mexico's total electronics maquiladoras). The great majority of these plants are of Asian origin, and they employed more than 60,000 workers and produced nearly 19 million television sets and computer monitors in 2002. Among the most important purchasers of electronic components in the border region are Sony, Panasonic, Thompson, Hitachi, JVC, Matsushita, Sia (Sanyo), Samsung, and Sharp. This industry has been severely affected by the global economic slowdown and other factors that have caused the closure and relocation of more than 50 companies in the electronics sector. Nevertheless, there have been recent signs of recovery, such as an important Japanese firm inaugurating a new plant to manufacture plasma television sets. The electronic products that continue to have the best prospects are monolithic integrated circuits, hybrid integrated circuits, circuit selectors, tuners, diodes, transistors, and electronic micro assemblies. More than 35 percent of these components are imported from Asian countries, a characteristic purchasing pattern from Asian investors, who favor sourcing from their countries of origin.

                                      As is happening in other parts of the country, the electronics industry in the region is evolving, shifting production lines to new products such as cellular phones, game consoles, and automotive electronics, among others.

                                      Guadalajara

                                      Located in western Mexico, Guadalajara has experienced important growth in the electronics sector and is considered Mexico's "Silicon Valley." Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that formed the initial base of the city's electronics industry, including Hewlett Packard, IBM, Siemens, and Kodak, are now contracting out more of their production to local contract manufacturers (CMs) such as Flextronics, Solectron, and Jabil Circuit to manufacture parts for final products manufactured in Guadalajara—computers (mainly laptops), computer peripherals (mainly printers), game consoles, and telecommunication equipment. Texas Instruments and Siemens represent the growing specialty sector within automotive electronics. New practices being adopted by local industry include the ability to respond to requests from customers (located mainly in the United States) with very short lead times (usually 48 hours), and the custom manufacture of complex devices such as servers or routers.

                                      Guadalajara's electronics sector is closely tied to that of the United States: 80 percent of electronic components are imported from the United States under NAFTA, and 91 percent of local production is exported to the United States. Therefore, the downturn in the U.S. economy and decrease in demand for electronic products has impacted Mexico's economy. Mexico's highest-value import category, the semiconductor sector, is increasingly shifting in origin from the United States to Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Korea, and Singapore. In just the last year, U.S. semiconductor imports fell from US$4.3 billion to US$3.3 billion.

                                      Manufacturers have become even more cost conscious and are looking for additional ways to reduce costs. Some have moved parts of their operations to lower-cost countries. As more and more OEMs look to their contract manufacturers for low costs, CMs have more freedom to choose suppliers and negotiate price, therefore transferring electronic component supplier control to CMs.

                                      Table 12: Electronic Components Imported from the U.S. in 2002 (US $ Millions)

                                      Table 13: Electronic Components Imported from the U.S. to Mexico in 2002

                                      Source: Banco de Mexico, Secretary of Economy, and National Chamber of Electronics and Telecommunications. Figures are considered from April 2002 to March 2003, due to a lack of information from the Secretariat of Economy.

                                       

                                      Mexico: Internet and E-Commerce

                                      The Internet market is the fastest growing segment within Mexico's telecommunications sector. According to the consulting firm Select, the number of Internet users reached approximately 10 million in 2002 and was expected to reach 12.25 million by the end of 2003.

                                      Internet penetration is limited by a low PC-penetration rate and a lack of fixed-line capacity, which prevents potential customers from gaining access. The installed base of PCs in 2002 was estimated at 8.1 million, of which 54 percent had Internet access. The drivers for the Internet growth include the interest in fixed broadband access, Internet/PC bundle packages offered by most service providers, the popularity of Internet cafes, and the initiatives of the government and carriers for increasing Internet adoption by residential, business, educational, and government users.

                                      The potential number of Mexican Internet users is primarily limited by income distribution patterns, limited investment in IT by SMEs, limited Internet content in Spanish, and the high prices of fixed broadband connectivity. However, Wi-Fi solutions are being looked at to overcome these limitations. Wi-Fi commercial systems are in place in some restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, and other commercial establishments, primarily in metropolitan and tourist areas. Techtel International and Intel have been very active in this regard. In addition, Telmex has installed 100 "hotspots" in Sanborns, a chain of retail/pharmacy stores with coffee shops, as well as in convention centers and airports.

                                      According to Pyramid Research, the revenues generated by Internet services grew from US$138 million in 1998 to US$535 million in 2001 and will continue to grow at an annual rate of 20 percent over the next five years. Currently, revenues from fixed narrowband access account for 72 percent of the market, due to the large number of dial-up connections. However, it is estimated that broadband services will gradually gain market share and will generate approximately 52 percent of Internet services revenues in 2007.

                                      Over the long term, Internet use is expected to increase as the process of technology diffusion continues, with computer/Internet access moving from larger companies to their suppliers, from institutions of higher education down to secondary and primary schools, and from the Mexican federal government to local governments. Wireless Internet use may become more widespread in the future as a result of the serious infrastructure problems with the fixed-line Internet.

                                      The relatively fast expansion of the Internet in Mexico, growing interest in e-commerce, and the increasing use of business applications are creating a need for hosting services with large storage capabilities. Companies that are capable of offering bundled packages for connectivity, hosting, and storage will eventually displace companies currently offering simple colocation and basic storage solutions for Web sites.

                                      According to Pyramid Research, e-commerce in Mexico is expected to reach approximately US$47 billion by 2005, up from US$1.1 billion in 2001, making Mexico a leader in Latin America in terms of potential for future growth in this area.

                                      International trade in 2002 accounted for US$873 million of e-commerce transactions and forms the largest component of the US$1.5 billion in e-commerce revenues. Business-to-business (B2B) is more prevalent than business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce. In 2002, B2B reached US$523 million, and B2C accounted for US$131 million. The main issues affecting B2C e-commerce include low Internet penetration, a low level of consumer purchasing power, a low penetration of credit cards, an underdeveloped market for consumer credit, and IT education and awareness.

                                      Most signs indicate that B2B will continue to thrive as increasing resources are invested in the development of online supply chains by both the private sector and the government of Mexico. B2B is projected to reach US$1.9 billion by 2005. This growth will also result from declines in B2C transactions that are likely to occur in both the short- and medium-term. However, as the Internet penetration rate continues to grow, so will B2C in the long term.

                                      Large companies and financial institutions are working to change their procurement processes to electronic means. An A.T. Kearney survey indicates that for this year, 27 percent of the IT investment in Mexico will be for e-business solutions, compared with 18 percent in 2002.

                                      According to Mexico's banking association and Select, the number of registered e-banking clients rose from 700,000 in 2001 to 2.4 million in 2002. This number should reach 4.5 million by 2005. Banking operations increased from US$96 million to US$280 million over the same period.

                                      One the most promising developments related to Mexico's e-commerce future is the government of Mexico's commitment to making Mexico a digital economy. The development of the e-Mexico program is the most obvious manifestation of this commitment. E-Mexico's main goals are to develop Mexico's IT industry, foster an internal market for IT products, promote an adequate regulatory framework for the use of electronic media and e-commerce, and digitalize government services in order to create a model for the private sector. The e-Mexico initiative promotes the use of information technologies in education, health, commerce, and government.

                                      In July 2002, the Mexican government created a trust fund to begin providing points of Internet access to more than 2,000 rural communities. Leaders of e-Mexico claim that by 2025, 98 percent of Mexican citizens will be online. As of June 2003, the e-Mexico project was clearly a reality. The majority of the 3,200 digital community centers have been constructed, and a national satellite network to provide connectivity is already launched and in operation. These digital community centers have been installed in 2,429 municipalities and 16 delegations within the Federal District (Mexico City).

                                      Another positive development in this area is the work that is being done on the e-commerce legal and regulatory framework. Both the government and the private sector have been committed to revamping laws that pertain to or affect e-commerce. In 2000, the government of Mexico began this undertaking with the passage of the e-Commerce Law. As a consequence, electronic contracts are recognized legally, information transmitted online is accepted in judicial proceedings, and consumer protection laws apply to the online world.

                                      Last year, the Mexican government created a standard (Norma Oficial Mexicana—NOM-151-scfi-2002) on conservation of messages of data. Also, the Federal Law of Transparency and Access to Government Public Information came into effect in June 2003. This year, 2004, the Digital Signature Law was also approved.

                                      While e-commerce legislation is gradually evolving, a number of additional laws and regulations have been proposed to make Mexico's laws related to e-commerce "interoperable" with other digital economies. Perhaps the most important is the e-invoice legislation, which will eliminate the requirement that businesses provide hard copies of invoices in electronic transactions.

                                      Additional legislation related to consumer protection and data privacy are pending in the Mexican Congress. Many companies and financial institutions are concerned that the government's interest in passing laws related to data privacy could hinder the transformation of Mexico into a digital society. It is widely felt that B2B and B2C e-commerce in Mexico will be advanced only to the extent to which proponents of the free flow of information and a self-regulatory approach prevail on these issues. On June 6, 2003, the Mexican Congress passed the flawed data privacy legislation, which would negatively impact Mexican, U.S., and other foreign business interests. This legislation is being monitored closely by the U.S. Government.

                                      Table 14: Mexican Internet and E-Commerce Revenues

                                      Table 15: Mexican Computers

                                      Source: Select Mexico

                                      Turkey (Turkey, 2004)

                                      Turkey: Telecommunications Services

                                      In 2004, full liberalization of the market will increase the size of the market. The private sector has obtained and will obtain licenses for the introduction of new telecommunications services in competition with Turk Telekom. The competition will create more business, for both the private sector and Turk Telekom.

                                      Turk Telekom is the main fixed-line telecommunications operator, with a subscriber number exceeding 19 million. The government of Turkey, in privatizing Turk Telekom, is considering the sale of some of Turk Telekom's shares as bonds, convertible to potential shares of Turk Telekom. The Turkish government will convert these bonds into shares of company stock when the market conditions are right.

                                      Turkey has four cellular service operators, Turkcell, Telsim, Aria, and Aycell. Turkcell has approximately 15 million subscribers. Telsim's subscriber estimate was 8 million by the end of 2002. Aria has approximately 1 million subscribers. Aycell's subscriber estimate was 400,000 by the end of 2002. Turkcell and Telsim operate on 900 MHz Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) systems. Aria and Aycell operate at 1800 MHz GSM frequency. The government of Turkey may consider issuing third-generation GSM licenses in 2004.

                                      Best prospects for U.S. export and investment will be voice and data transmission services through fiber optic networks and voice over internet protocol (VoIP). High-speed data and leased-line services have a promising future in Turkey. More than 40 private sector companies have already obtained licenses. Additional opportunities exist for the Turkish market in international traffic, either originating or terminating in the country. Due to the widely dispersed Turkish population around the world, a large number of international calls are placed, primarily from Western Europe and the United States to Turkey.

                                      Turkey will play an important role in providing telecommunications traffic access to Iraq. Satellites covering Turkey and Iraq can be pivotal in the reconstruction of Iraq's telecommunications services sector. Networks in Turkey can tie Iraq to the Internet world and participate in establishment of Internet backbones.

                                      Table 16 shows the market size estimates for this sector.

                                      Table 16: Telecommunications Services in Turkey

                                      Note: The statistics above are unofficial estimates based on an exchange rate of $1 = TL 1,600,000.

                                      Turkey: Telecommunications Equipment

                                      The telecommunications industry will be liberalized in 2004. The new investors will be the major equipment buyers alongside Turk Telekom, Turkcell, Telsim, Aria, and Aycell. The existing telecommunications laws specify that the telecommunications services sector was to have full liberalization starting from January 1, 2004.

                                      The private sector may make major investments on establishment of new fiber-optic networks, VoIP equipment, and wireless local loop networks. Depending on the timing of license tenders, the other best prospect can be the third-generation GSM networks. Due to the proximity of Turkey to a liberated Iraq, Turkey can be a hub-market for the telecommunications equipment needed in the Iraqi reconstruction and improvement of the existing telecom network in Iraq.

                                      Turk Telekom, being the incumbent fixed-line operator with more than 19 million subscribers, may invest in new technologies in 2004. Turk Telekom may consider procurement of an intelligent network management center. Turk Telekom, together with Koc Holding, can be a good client if their consortium wins the Bulgarian Telekom privatization. Most probably Bulgarian Telecom networks will require further digitalization. The four GSM cellular operators, Turkcell, Telsim, Aria, and Aycell, may also further invest to improve their networks and services in 2004.

                                      Following is the market size estimates for this sector:

                                      Table 17: Market Size for the Turkish Telecommunications Equipment Sector

                                      Note: The statistics above are unofficial estimates based on an exchange rate of $1 = TL 1,600,000.

                                      Turkey: Information Technology

                                      The IT market in Turkey had been growing at an annual rate of 25–30 percent since 1997. However, due to the economic crises in 2001, this rate fell to 22 percent, with the total IT market valued at US$2.8 billion (excluding telecommunications equipment and services). The overall industry size, inclusive of telecommunications equipment and services, reached US$9.6 billion in 2002. There are now nearly 4 million Internet users in Turkey. IT hardware is the leader in IT market sales, mainly driven by PC sales. Analysts estimated inflation in Turkey to be 48.9 percent in 2002 and that Turkey can realize a 5.3 percent actual growth rate between 2003 and 2006.

                                      Market analysts anticipate a 30.9 percent market increase as the Turkish economy continues its postcrises economic rebound.

                                      The government of Turkey is in the final stages of passing the E-Commerce Regulatory Law, which will enable official legal acceptance of electronic signatures as well as regulate e-commerce and tax issues. The proposed e-commerce law is based on the European model with influence from U.S. regulations.

                                      The best prospect subsectors remain as follows: PC sales, data storage, digital photography, and generic printer cartridges.

                                      Table 18 shows the market size estimate for the IT sector, excluding telecommunications equipment and services.

                                      Table 18: Turkey's Information Technology Market

                                      Note: The statistics above are unofficial estimates based on an exchange rate of $1 = TL 1,600,000.

                                      Section G: User Study

                                      Introduction

                                      The purpose of the user study was to document and understand user experiences with the six product lines under study. The experiences and thoughts of the consumer with a disability provide important insight into the future design of accessible products and potentially can influence the universal design process. Thus, an extensive amount of data was collected during the user study to gain a better understanding of how users with disabilities feel about different products and accessibility features. Data on the experiences of users with disabilities with products representative of the six product lines was collected through focus groups, through the administration of the Georgia Tech Universal Design Survey, and through the Wireless Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) Survey.

                                      Twenty individuals with disabilities participated in the focus group study, including users with low vision, blindness, upper-mobility impairments, lower-mobility impairments, hard of hearing, and deafness. During the focus group discussion, users discussed their experiences with ATMs, cellular phones, distance learning software, PDAs, televisions, and voice recognition software. Accessibility issues and features were discussed and prioritized by the users. They also talked about which tasks associated with each product line are the most difficult for them to complete; the impact of UD on their desire to use products; and how the Federal Government, manufacturers of products, and consumers can help promote universal design.

                                      The Georgia Tech Universal Design Survey was created to gather information on the use and acceptance of accessibility features of products from users with different types of vision, hearing, and mobility disabilities. The survey was completed by 320 users with disabilities. Data gathered from this survey included the users' level of experience with each type of product, the level of disability-related difficulty in using the device, and the usefulness of a set of disability-specific features that might be associated with the device.

                                      Finally, the purpose of the Wireless RERC Survey was to gather data on the use and acceptance of wireless technologies among users with disabilities. A total of 625 users answered questions regarding their perceived access to telecommunications devices, importance of telecommunications devices, frequency of use, ease of use, and reasons for not using the device. The data from the two user surveys is summarized and discussed in terms of its implications for universal design.

                                      Analysis of Focus Group Data

                                      The purpose of the focus groups was to understand and document the experiences of people with disabilities with six product lines. The six product lines are ATMs, cellular phones, PDAs, distance learning software, televisions, and voice recognition software. The focus group participants had the following disability types: low vision, blindness, upper-mobility impairment, lower-mobility impairment, hard of hearing, and deafness. This section describes the participants and summarizes their experiences, in general, with products marketed with UD or accessibility features. Following is a discussion of each product line, broken down by disability type. This discussion includes the users' experiences with the product, their perceptions of accessibility features and issues, and the impact of accessibility on use. The report ends with a discussion of government, industry, and consumer involvement that can promote UD.

                                      Methodology

                                      The data for this report was collected through focus group discussions. A total of five focus groups and one individual interview were conducted. Each focus group contained individuals with a particular disability type. The focus groups were separated by disability type to give us the opportunity to focus on issues pertaining to a given user group and to accommodate the needs of particular users. If users with different disability types were included in the same focus group, it would be more difficult to isolate the issues specific to each disability type. The focus groups were limited to no more than four individuals because of the amount of material that was covered. Focus groups containing more than four individuals would have likely required more than four hours to complete. The duration of the focus groups was limited to four hours for the comfort of the participants. Breaks were taken to accommodate the needs of the individual participants.

                                      Each focus group session began with an overview of the purpose of the study. Participant were then asked to introduce themselves to the group and briefly describe themselves. The focus group then proceeded with a discussion of general experiences with products marketed as having accessibility features. Each disability group briefly touched on each of the product lines, but they did not necessarily have an in-depth discussion of each product line. Some disability groups tended to have little or no experience with a particular product line (e.g., most people who are blind have not used a PDA because PDAs are not accessible to them); therefore, the discussion of that product was limited.

                                      During the discussion of accessibility issues and accessibility features, the participants were asked to identify issues and features, and they were then asked to prioritize them based on their perceived importance. A card-sorting technique was used to record and prioritize the accessibility issues and features. As each issue or feature was identified, the user wrote it on an index card. When the user-supplied list of issues and features was complete, the list was reviewed, and as a group, the participants prioritized the items on the list. Two card sorting tasks were completed: one for accessibility issues and one for accessibility features.

                                      Description of Participants

                                      A total of 20 participants were recruited to participate in five separate focus groups, with four participants in each group. A separate interview was conducted with an individual with multiple impairments. Three of the individuals who responded to our requests for participation did not participate as planned.

                                      The low vision (LV) user focus group consisted of three female participants. LV#1 has glaucoma, and started losing her vision in her late 20s. She has no vision in her right eye and is about 20/400 in her left eye. She has had corneal transplants and multiple glaucoma surgeries. She uses a lighted magnifier as an aid and a cane for mobility. LV#2 is legally blind in one eye and completely blind in the other. She is unable to read standard print. She uses Braille Note, Voice Mate, and Jaws technologies, as well as a cane as a mobility aid. LV#3 has a low-vision disability. She uses Zoom Text and a magnifier along with her glasses as aids, as well as a cane for mobility.

                                      The focus group of users who are blind (B) consisted of two male and two female participants. B#1 is completely blind and uses a cane as a mobility aid. She uses Braille Note, Voice Mate, and Jaws technologies. B#2 has been visually impaired all her life. Retinal tears and detachments led to complete blindness 11 years ago. She uses a cane for mobility and has used a guide dog in the past. She reads Braille, uses Jaws, and will use any other technologies if they are accessible. She likes speech output in products. B#3 lost his sight as a result of an eye disease; he is still able to see light contrast, and he uses a cane for mobility. He can read Braille and uses Braille Light and Jaws technologies. B#4 is completely blind and lost his sight as a result of glaucoma. He uses a cane for mobility. He also uses Braille & Speak, but he has not used Jaws.

                                      The hard-of-hearing (HH) user focus group consisted of one male and one female participant. HH#1 has had nerve deafness since grade school. He wears analog hearing aids in both ears and can participate in everyday conversation. HH#2 was born with some hearing loss, but in the last year she has reached more than 90 percent loss. She has recently been fitted with digital hearing aids.

                                      The focus group of users who are deaf consisted of one male and three female participants. Two of the four participants could hear some sound but have no sound comprehension; they both wore hearing aids. They all used some kind of pager or other text-messaging technology.

                                      The upper-mobility-impaired (UM) user focus group consisted of one male and two female participants, all of whom happened to have both upper- and lower-mobility impairments. UM#1 has a spinal cord injury resulting in upper- and lower-extremity limitations. He has no finger or thumb function and needs to extend his wrist in order to grasp things. Elbow extension is difficult but not impossible. He has no muscle control below the armpits. He uses a compact manual wheelchair for mobility. He has used Dragon Dictate and Naturally Speaking, but he finds them cumbersome. He uses a Kensington track ball and a U-cuff while performing his job. UM#2 has some paralysis resulting in restricted strength and movement. She wears a leg brace. UM#3 had polio as a child and has lost strength in her arms and legs, with very limited reach. She uses a power wheelchair.

                                      One additional participant with multiple disabilities was interviewed on an individual basis. His impairments resulted from malformed blood vessels in the brain that have hemorrhaged at various times in his life. He is 90–95 percent paralyzed in his left arm and hand and 70–75 percent paralyzed in his left leg; he walks with a cane. He also has 70 percent hearing loss in one ear and 30 percent in the other ear; he frequently wears hearing aids. He is blind in one eye and has 20/400 vision in the other.

                                      Experiences with Consumer Products

                                      Users reported positive and negative experiences with products marketed with UD or accessibility features, and some identified products they found useful that were not originally designed with accessibility in mind. In addition, users identified some accessibility features that they recognized as having a benefit for the larger population. The telephone is considered to be the most universally accessible device because it allows access to a large number of systems and services.

                                      Some appliances come with Braille overlays, which are very helpful, but they are not available for all models.

                                      More and more technology is trending toward flat panel or membrane displays, which are inaccessible to people who are blind and people with low vision without an aid such as a Braille overlay. However, some overlays have bad adhesive and only last a short time. Most visually impaired consumers will make their own Braille labels if the manufacturer does not provide them. Another alternative to Braille labels is high mark pens.

                                      For the visually impaired, the trend toward flat panel displays, including their use on swipe card machines for credit or debit card transactions, means a loss of independence and security.

                                      With raised button displays, visually impaired users can generally manage a transaction without much assistance. With a flat panel display, however, they cannot feel the controls to input information such as a personal identification number, and they must therefore give that information to a stranger in order to complete a transaction. The United States Postal Service (USPS) recently installed touchscreen-based credit and debit card devices nationwide, which has greatly impacted the visually impaired community. Flat panel displays are also being used increasingly on household products such as stoves and washing machines, though purchase of these products is resisted because of the lack of knobs. Elevators, which have tactile buttons and Braille labeling, cause problems for the visually impaired because there is no standardization of the button placement or layout.

                                      Most visually impaired users really benefit from automated telephone systems, which allow them to complete transactions independently.

                                      One participant had a VCR which could be set using a telephone touchpad. Without the telephone interface, the VCR menus were inaccessible to users who are blind and many with low vision. The telephone interface made the VCR accessible to the visually impaired.

                                      Many devices that have voice output do not voice all options or features.

                                      Zenith developed a talking VCR; however, because it does not voice everything, it does not help the visually impaired as much as they would have hoped. Similarly, there is a Sony CD player /clock radio/alarm that has some spoken features, but not the complete set. Microsoft's Windows XP has a feature to enlarge the screen, but according to focus group participants this feature is not available for all applications. People have had good experiences with talking phones and talking caller identification (caller-ID). There is no consensus on the usefulness of voice control, but some users have commented that availability of voice control would provide access to many more products. Another comment made was that voice by itself is not enough to make a product accessible to the visually impaired.

                                      Most instruction manuals designed for users who are blind are poorly written; they typically fail to explain all the features and/or do not provide information in a logical fashion.

                                      When purchases are made for items that claim to be accessible but do not meet the expectation, consumers do not hesitate to contact the manufacturer to make suggestions. The perception is that companies are responsive to comments and that they are willing to make changes to increase accessibility, which will, in turn, increase demand. However, consumers are unsure whom to contact within a company in order to have the greatest impact.

                                      There is a general perception that many older products, including older cell phone models, were more accessible than the newer ones.

                                      Older devices tended to have simpler designs, and these simpler designs tend to be the most accessible. The vast majority of products do not address the needs of individuals with significant disabilities. Trends in marketing and technology seem to run counter to accessibility. For example, the miniaturization of cellular phones has impacted users with upper-mobility impairments as well as users with visual impairments.

                                      Many products marketed as accessible are priced two times as much or more than the nonaccessible consumer equivalent, and many people with disabilities are unwilling or unable to purchase these products because of the cost.

                                      Consumers need to weigh the usefulness of the device versus the cost, particularly those who live on the limited income typical of people with disabilities. The perception is that many companies that market products as accessible come to feel that there is no market for them, and subsequently remove them from the market because of a perceived lack of interest. However, in reality the reason for low sales is the cost. Radio Shack has greatly reduced the price of its talking watches because it hopes to develop a wider appeal to individuals who find them to be clever devices. People tend to be willing to pay the extra cost for products that they consider essential for day-to-day activities. The Voice Mate, for example, costs about $300, but it is perceived as worth the cost because of the positive impact it can have in a user's day-to-day life.

                                      Consumers are frustrated that they need to pay so much more for comparable products designed with the disability community in mind. There is also a lot of frustration in having to spend money on a number of features that cannot be used because of a disability, including many of the features that are available on a cell phone. Moreover, people are hesitant to spend money on technologies that are going to change in a year or two. There is a perception that research that goes into the production of some accessible products comes from government funding, and users feel that some of the savings should be passed on to the consumer.

                                      Specialized products tend not to last as long as mainstream products.

                                      One hard-of-hearing user purchased a phone designed specifically for increasing clarity. Although the device cost more than the average phone, it lasted for only two or three years, while the average phone lasts for at least four to five years.

                                      Text messaging is a lifeline for consumers who are deaf.

                                      All of participants who are deaf used some kind of pager or text-messaging service. The Sidekick offers the basic functionality of a PDA and Internet relay service, as well as cellular service, which is perceived as critical for emergency situations, even though the user who is deaf cannot use the service when alone. The participants who are deaf have all had positive experiences with computer software that has replaced the need for a specialized TTY device. The computer software provides better quality signal transmission, and there are no long distance charges associated with its use.

                                      Mobility-impaired users are always looking for UD in products.

                                      In particular, upper-mobility impaired users simply cannot use some products, depending on how they are designed. They will not purchase products that they cannot use. As a result, when making a new purchase, these users look for products that are accessible to them. They also tend to be creative in using objects designed for one purpose to facilitate a very different need. As an example, one person has very limited reach capability and cannot access food in the back of her refrigerator; to compensate for this impairment she placed a lazy Susan in her refrigerator to increase her access. Many objects and devices like this can be used in a manner other than what was intended by the designer in order to compensate for an inability of the user to perform some task.

                                      User Experiences for People with Low Vision

                                      This section discusses low-vision users' experiences with ATMs, cell phones, PDAs, distance learning, televisions, and voice recognition software. Discussion revolved around general experiences, identification and prioritization of accessibility issues and features, difficulty level experienced in performing some specific tasks, and how more accessible designs would alter usage patterns. In the case of the prioritization tasks for this group, it is important to note that the order was often determined not by the desirability of a particular feature, for example, but by the sequence of activities required to use a device. For example, a person must be able to use a remote control in order to manipulate on-screen menus, so an accessible remote was rated more important than voiced on-screen menus, even though the on-screen menus were actually the more desired feature. Experience with distance learning and voice recognition was very limited, and this discussion was not as extensive as for the other product lines. The following sections summarize the user inputs.

                                      ATM

                                      In general, users with low vision reported difficulty using ATMs, primarily because of an inability to read the screen, along with the difficulties experienced due to the varying nature of screens across ATMs and banking institutions. In addition, users voiced concerns with security and privacy.

                                      User Experiences. General experiences using ATMs for people with low vision include concerns about loss of control, independence, and privacy. People are concerned about their safety and the security of their bank funds. Even if accessibility issues were resolved, the participants noted that they would still be reluctant to use an ATM without assistance. Some individuals need assistance retrieving money from the ATM, but they are hesitant to give out their personal identification number (PIN) to get the assistance they need. One individual prefers to get cash back at the grocery store by writing a check for an amount in excess of the balance or through a debit transaction using a checkout-line credit card terminal. People have difficulties because the button locations differ with different machines, and the alignment of the buttons with the screen options is poor. Typically they do not experience problems using the keypad.

                                      Accessibility Issues. Accessibility issues of ATMs, as identified by users with low vision, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                      1. Inability to read the screen

                                      2. Inability to identify the function of the buttons

                                      3. Inability to define and distinguish the slots (i.e., for the ATM card, the receipt, and the envelope)

                                      4. Poor alignment of the screen options with the buttons

                                      5. Inability to read the receipt because the print is too small or too faint

                                      6. Difficulty in filling out the envelope for a deposit transaction

                                      Accessibility Features. Accessibility features of ATMs, as identified by users with low vision, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                      1. Speech output

                                      2. Larger font on the screen

                                      3. Larger key labels

                                      4. Availability of a machine-generated deposit slip (replacing the need to fill in an envelope to support the transaction)

                                      5. Remote set-up of the next transaction through a computer, cell phone, or PDA

                                      Task Assessments. In a discussion of specific tasks associated with ATM use, the low-vision user focus group generally indicated that they had few problems locating the ATM, inserting the bank card, remembering and entering a PIN, and retrieving the receipt or bank card. All participants reported that they cannot see the screen to make a cash withdrawal or deposit, or to check their account balance, without assistance.

                                      Impact of UD. If ATMs were completely accessible, users with low vision would still have safety concerns when using an ATM completely independently and would still have difficulty getting to an ATM. Specific comments are listed below.

                                      Analysis. Based on the user input summarized above, improvement of accessibility of ATMs needs to consider the entire user experience rather than just the technological solutions. The ATM could be completely accessible in terms of a person's ability to interact with it, but users may still feel it is inaccessible because of social or environmental factors.

                                      Cell Phone

                                      In general, users with low vision have difficulty using cell phones, and they are able to use them for little more than to make and receive calls. They have difficulty with the keypad, even with the raised dot on the "5" key.

                                      User Experiences. Experiences with cell phones for people with low vision are generally poor; they are not able to do much beyond dialing and receiving calls. The keypad is the most important feature for this population, and it is becoming more and more inaccessible as designers emphasize appeal over function. Not all phones have a raised dot (nib) on the "5" key, and many that do have it place the dot in a difficult-to-feel position or do not raise it enough. Even with the nib on the "5" key, the trend is toward more smooth, rather than raised, buttons, which are difficult for people with low vision to use because they cannot differentiate the buttons tactilely. Voice dialing can be helpful, but users need assistance to set it up.

                                      On-screen menus are inaccessible to users with low vision. All on-screen menus are based on a visual representation of the options, which is difficult or impossible for users with low vision to read or interpret.

                                      One individual feels that the cell phone is the least accessible of all consumer products, and that older phones were a lot more accessible than the newer designs.

                                      Accessibility Issues. Accessibility issues of cell phones, as identified by users with low vision, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                      1. Nonstandard keypad layout

                                      2. Keys that are too small

                                      3. Inaccessible menus

                                      4. Inaccessible caller-ID

                                      5. Inaccessible status indicators

                                      6. Inaccessible text messaging

                                      Accessibility Features. Accessibility features of cell phones, as identified by users with low vision, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                      1. Voiced menus

                                      2. Changeable faces for availability of standard keypad

                                      3. Talking caller-ID

                                      4. Voice dialing

                                      Task Assessments. In a discussion of specific tasks associated with cell phone use, the low-vision users focus group generally indicated that they have no problems turning the phone on and off, dialing numbers on the keypad, receiving a phone call (facilitated for one individual by the background lighting on the keys), accessing voice mail, attaching a headset, or charging the phone. The locking/unlocking feature is perceived as a nuisance because there is no way to tell which state the phone is in, and if the phone is accidentally locked, they do not necessarily know how to unlock it. Storing a phone number is difficult or impossible because the menus are inaccessible. Some are able to recall a stored phone number with the use of a magnifying glass, and this task would be facilitated by voice output. One participant has problems at times because of difficulties with the voice recognition capability, particularly if she is sick or the environment is noisy. Caller-ID is completely inaccessible, as is text messaging and the signal strength indicator. Battery strength can be determined only if the phone beeps to indicate that it is low, but this typically happens too close to the time when the phone is about to be completely discharged.

                                      Impact of UD. If cell phones were completely accessible, users with low vision would use more of the features, like text messaging and the Internet. They would get more for what they pay for, and they would be much more efficient because of the ability to multitask when they are on the go.

                                      Analysis. All users should have a choice of phones, but they should not be required to pay for numerous features that they cannot use. Until advanced features can be made more accessible, cell phones with reduced feature sets should be available, and the available features should be as advanced as they are for other models. A standard should be set for keypad layout and tactile quality of the keypad so that a common component does not eliminate a choice of a product because of its inaccessible implementation. Users with limited sight can benefit from many of the advanced cell phone features if those features are made accessible, and the end-users would greatly appreciate the opportunity to use the advanced functionality.

                                      PDA

                                      Users with low vision were not able to report directly on their experiences with PDAs because none has used one. They interacted with some devices made available during the focus group, and they identified the issues and features they perceived during that time.

                                      User Experiences. None of the participants with low vision has used a PDA, but all expressed that they would love to be able to use one. One individual currently uses Braille Note, which allows her to take notes during meetings, send and receive email, and download books. Braille Note can also serve as a global positioning system (GPS) and a screen-reader. It has speech output, and documents can be ported to and from Microsoft Word. Braille Note runs on the Windows CE operating system. However, the Braille Note device should not be considered the equivalent of a PDA. None of the software designed to run on mainstream PDAs will run on Braille Note.

                                      1. Value-added capabilities for email and Web browsers and the ability to download ringing tones, logos/images, music, videos, games, and stock market quotations
                                      2. Broadband access network equipment, including wireless LAN, LMDS, and ADSL
                                      3. Operational management systems like BOSS and multiple-service platforms
                                      • For the applications software market, China's domestic products are the fastest-growing segment.
                                      • For the middleware market, the domestic products and foreign products have an equal share.
                                      • Foreign products monopolized the system software market. In 2002, foreign products accounted for a 95.3 percent market share. Foreign products should continue to monopolize the high-end operating system, high-end server system, database management system, and system networking management software markets. These products will continue to be the leading sector in the coming year.
                                      • To develop security operation systems, security authentication systems, and advance China's e-commerce solutions
                                      • To develop information security software packages that are based on LINUX operation systems
                                      • To develop production platforms that are based on the software structure and middleware structure
                                      • Desktops: $1,198 million
                                      • Notebooks: $86 million
                                      • Servers: $215 million
                                      • Peripherals: $440 million
                                      • Manufacturers Association of Information Technology (MAIT), www.mait.com
                                      • National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), www.nasscom.org
                                      • The Hindu Survey of Indian Industry, 2003
                                      • India Infoline, www.Indiainfoline.com
                                      • Systems & Packaging: $252 million
                                      • Professional Services: $170 million
                                      • Processing Services: $75 million
                                      • Maintenance services: $151 million
                                      • Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council, http://www/escIndia.org/export_statistics.html
                                      • National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), http://nasscom.org
                                      • Dataquest India, http://www.dqIndia.com
                                      • Industry Source and newspapers, http://economictimes.Indiatimes.com/cms.dll/xml/uncomp/articleshow?msid-20231
                                      • "It would make no difference in how I use it now."
                                      • "It would make a substantial difference in my life. I wouldn't need to worry about banking hours, and I could do a banking transaction much more quickly."
                                      • "I would use it more because I would have more independence and control, as well as increased privacy."

                                    Accessibility Issues. Accessibility issues of PDAs, as identified by users with low vision, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Inability to read the screen

                                    2. Inaccessible touchscreen controls

                                    3. Difficulty using a stylus in conjunction with a magnifier

                                    4. Small size and proximity of keyboard buttons

                                    5. Small font size of labels

                                    Accessibility Features. Accessibility features of PDAs, as identified by users with low vision, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Speech output

                                    2. User control of font size and ability to set font size to at least 14 or 18 point

                                    3. Numeric keypad for alphanumeric entry (like on cell phones)

                                    4. Compatibility with assistive technologies (ATs)

                                    Impact of UD. If PDAs were completely accessible, all users with low vision indicated that they would definitely use one. One specifically indicated that it would increase her efficiency and allow her to reduce the number of AT devices she uses.

                                    Analysis. Focus group participants could not use the PDAs primarily because of an inability to read the screen. It was difficult for users to use ATs, such as a hand magnifier, while holding the PDA and using a stylus. It was notable that very few accessibility issues were identified with the hardware of the PDA. The vast majority of the accessibility issues were due to a lack of accessibility features built into the operating system and the lack of AT software that could be used with the device. The developers of PDA operating systems should build basic accessibility features, such as screen magnifiers and support for screen-readers, directly into the software. Manufacturers of the hardware devices and developers of PDA operating systems should encourage AT software developers to develop software for the PDA platform.

                                    Distance Learning Software

                                    No participants had any experience with distance learning. The group briefly discussed the ability to perform some tasks associated with distance learning, but they were not knowledgeable enough to identify accessibility issues and features.

                                    Task Assessments. In a discussion of specific tasks associated with distance learning use, the low-vision users focus group expressed few problems. All can read email. Attachments generally do not cause problems, though Zoom Text does not process graphics well. One individual noted that Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 has worked out many of the accessibility issues, and Adobe has worked very closely with the makers of Jaws. The problem with Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) is the dependency on the authors of pages to use the appropriate code and syntax to ensure compatibility with AT. Only one individual uses instant messaging software. It has the capability to increase the font size, and she can use it without the use of Zoom Text. The others do not use instant messaging, but not because of accessibility issues. The people in this group have had little experience with chat software.

                                    Impact of UD. If distance learning software were completely accessible, all users with low vision indicated that they would definitely be interested in taking more classes online, and they feel it would really facilitate progress on graduate or professional programs. One person indicated that it would improve the experience, but it would not change her behavior.

                                    Analysis. The providers of distance learning software have done a good job of making the base software accessible. It is, in part, the makers of the software designed to be used as part of the distance learning package that need to concentrate their efforts on the user experience for those who have disabilities. Distance learning companies need to encourage the other software developers to consider the needs of people with disabilities. Despite technological improvements to increase UD, content providers may not develop accessible content. One method of resolving this issue might be for distance learning providers to develop a mechanism for performing accessibility checks once course content has been added to the system. If the software required an accessibility check and accessibility enhancements before publication of the course content, accessibility could be increased considerably.

                                    Television

                                    All users had experience with basic television use.

                                    User Experiences. General experiences with television for low vision users are that the device is easy to use once they become familiar with the remote control and that audio description is very useful, but not readily available. Some satellite and cable providers do have audio description on certain channels on certain days. The ability to turn audio description on and off should be easily accessible through a dedicated button on the remote.

                                    Accessibility Issues. Accessibility issues of televisions, as identified by users with low vision, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Inaccessible visual content

                                    2. Inaccessible remote controls, resulting, in part, from a lack of standardization in laying out the buttons and features

                                    3. Inaccessible on-screen menus

                                    4. Difficulty controlling accessibility features (e.g., turning descriptive audio on and off)

                                    Accessibility Features. Accessibility features of televisions, as identified by users with low vision, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Talking remote controls

                                    2. Audio description of content

                                    3. Voiced on-screen menus

                                    4. Voiced program guide

                                    5. Voice recognition for the remote control

                                    Dedicated control of accessibility features

                                    Impact of UD. If televisions were completely accessible, the users with low vision felt that it would enhance the experience and that the television would be easier to use, but it would not necessarily change their usage patterns. One user said she would probably listen more if audio description were available. Another said it would reduce the amount of talking that disrupts the show when she needs to ask others what is happening.

                                    Analysis. The greatest challenge to benefiting from television for low vision users is the lack of accessible visual information. Alternative output via audio and/or large text is necessary for this population to manipulate controls, adjust settings, and access on-screen content. An alternative would be to make this information accessible through a screen-reader. Service providers need to make their program guides and other on-screen displays (like displays for pay-per-view) available in alternate formats. Content providers can also improve their services by providing audio description of content.

                                    Voice Recognition

                                    None of the users with low vision has had experience with voice recognition software other than through automated telephone attendants.

                                    User Experiences. Some users reported difficulties associated with the voice recognition accuracy of automated voice attendants. Users prefer to have the option to enter information through the keypad. This prevents them from having to make multiple attempts at voice input and, more important, it increases their privacy. Users are very concerned about being required to use their voice to enter personal information.

                                    User Experiences for People Who Are Blind

                                    This section discusses the experiences of users who are blind with ATMs, cell phones, PDAs, distance learning, televisions, and voice recognition software. Discussion revolved around general experiences, identification and prioritization of accessibility issues and features, difficulty level experienced in performing some specific tasks, and how more accessible designs would alter usage patterns. In the case of the prioritization tasks for this group, it is important to note that the order was often determined not by the desirability of a particular feature, for example, but by the sequence of activities required to use a device. For example, a person must be able to use a remote control in order to manipulate on-screen menus, so an accessible remote was rated more highly than voiced on-screen menus, even though the on-screen menus were actually the more desired feature. Users had no experience with distance learning, so this was discussed only briefly. Experience with voice recognition was very limited, and the discussion was not as extensive as for some of the other product lines. The following sections summarize the user inputs.

                                    ATM

                                    In general, users who are blind find it extremely difficult to use ATMs without assistance. Some are comfortable using a single ATM at a single location, as long as the software is not upgraded (consequently altering the menu options). Limited Braille is useful for providing orientation information. Many users would appreciate a customized interface to accommodate their limited transaction needs.

                                    User Experiences. The general experience using ATMs for people who are blind is that the machines cannot be used without assistance. Many people are not comfortable using the ATM without a friend or family member because they are concerned about their safety. In contrast, one of the participants reported being very comfortable using ATMs. One of the primary difficulties for the unsighted is that the user cannot feel which buttons represent which menu options. In addition, privacy is a concern with talking ATMs, particularly if headphones are not available. For those who have not experienced a talking ATM, there is some hesitancy to take the time to try to learn how to use it, because other patrons waiting to use the ATM get impatient.

                                    ATM users who are blind sometimes have to trust a friend or family member with their PIN, and some users have had experiences with that person stealing money from the account. Experience has shown that banks are not always sympathetic to these circumstances and will argue that the person put him or herself in the situation by giving out the PIN. As for all banking customers, limited evening and weekend banking hours increase the need to access ATMs. One person puts Braille on all of her credit and ATM cards to distinguish them, and even puts her PIN in Braille on her ATM card. It is not uncommon for visually impaired users to use the drive-up ATM with a friend or family member, or when in a cab; this option somewhat increases the perceived sense of safety.

                                    Braille is very helpful to have on the device, but it does not help the user to know what is on the display. One individual commented that he found it odd that Braille is included on all of the number keys. Once the "5" key is identified, which can be facilitated through use of a tactile indicator (also important on the "J" and the "F" of a standard keyboard), the other numbers are easily identified, as long as the standard telephone keypad layout is used. The addition of Braille on buttons like "Cancel" has been very helpful for unsighted individuals. Not all bank ATM screens are sequenced the same, which makes it difficult for individuals who are blind to use just any available ATM without assistance. Even within a given banking institution, the menu sequences and button locations differ.

                                    People who are blind are unable to read the ATM receipt. Because they also cannot differentiate the funds received from the ATM, they make withdrawals in multiples of $20 so that they do not need to worry about bill denominations. One participant mentioned becoming frustrated by not being able to make a simple transaction without being slowed down by advertisements or a number of extra options that are not relevant to him. Everyone agreed that ATMs give the user too much information. One participant indicated that he has often assisted sighted people through transactions because of accessibility issues that impact the larger population.

                                    Accessibility Issues. Accessibility issues of ATMs, as identified by users who are blind, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Inability to access the screen without a headset

                                    2. Lack of tactile controls (i.e., raised keys)

                                    3. Inconsistent sequence of information on the screens

                                    4. Inconsistent feel of button layout, card entry location, method of inserting card, etc.

                                    5. Inconsistent location of ATM at various facilities

                                    6. Inability to read a printed receipt or statement

                                    7. Inability to verify the amount of money given during a withdrawal transaction

                                    Note that the last two items were tied for importance.

                                    Accessibility Features. Accessibility features of ATMs, as identified by users who are blind, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Remote set-up of the next transaction through a computer, cell phone, or PDA

                                    2. Customized menus associated with the insertion of an ATM card

                                    3. Tactile indicators (e.g., shape, raised letters, Braille) to differentiate the slots for the ATM card, the money, and the deposit envelope

                                    4. Voice output to identify button functions with a press to confirm capability

                                    5. Adjustable timeouts

                                    Task Assessments. In a discussion of specific tasks associated with ATM use, the participant group of users who are blind generally indicated that they had few problems. One individual switched to a bank that has a greater number of ATMs available. Another uses telephone customer service to find ATM locations if she is going to be in an unfamiliar area. However, she has difficulty narrowing down the closest ATM because the representative may not be in Atlanta or may be unfamiliar with a particular area and thus cannot be specific enough about the closest location.

                                    Users do not experience difficulty inserting the bank card once the correct orientation is determined. There are no difficulties remembering PINs. Two difficulties with cash withdrawals include changes to the menus and some problem with the money getting jammed and the slot closing too quickly. All participants check their balance by phone rather than with the ATM, in part because they are unable to read the transaction receipt. There are no problems retrieving receipts or bank cards.

                                    Impact of UD. If ATMs were completely accessible, users who are blind would still have safety concerns when using an ATM completely independently and would still have difficulty getting to an ATM. Despite these issues, there was a consensus that they would use ATMs more often if they were made more accessible. Specific comments are listed below.

                                    • "Would probably use it a bit more than am using it now."
                                    • "I would have more freedom, and could make a choice to use it more."
                                    • "I would never go inside a bank again."
                                    • "I wouldn't have to strategize and plan it out so much."

                                    Analysis. As with low-vision users, improvement of accessibility of ATMs needs to consider the entire user experience rather than just the technological solutions. The ATM could be completely accessible in terms of a person's ability to interact with it, but users may still feel it is inaccessible because of social or environmental factors. At a minimum, within a banking institution, the screen displays and options should be standardized to give users who are blind more freedom to access their accounts at different locations.

                                    Cell Phone

                                    In general, users who are blind are frustrated by the amount of money they must pay for a number of cell phone features that they cannot benefit from because of the inaccessibility of those features. This population is fairly comfortable with dialing the phone and receiving calls but is unable to use a cell phone for much else.

                                    User Experiences. General experiences using cell phones for people without sight are fairly positive despite the inability to use most features. Participants indicated that they have familiarized themselves with the keypad, but would like greater ease of use in the design for features like changing the ring tone and switching from ring to vibrate. Raised buttons that are straight and aligned are very helpful for all users, as are the tactile indicators on the "5" key. One individual uses an earpiece, which he finds invaluable. People become frustrated when they upgrade to a new phone and lose some features that they found useful, or when they try to switch to a new service provider and find the phone they are familiar with is not compatible with the new service. No-frills phones are easiest for unsighted individuals to handle. Many phones now have recessed buttons, and there are some on which the "2" and "5" share the same button; these designs are problematic for the unsighted. Menu access is impossible for unsighted users. One individual unknowingly turned the volume down very low on her cell phone and consistently missed incoming calls because she could not hear the phone ringing.

                                    On-screen menus are inaccessible to users who are blind. All on-screen menus are based on a visual representation of the options, which is impossible for users who are blind to read. Some phones provide a numeric equivalent for menu functions that provides an alternative means of providing input, but this feature is not available on all phones and sometimes differs between phones. The other problem with these phones is that the user must get assistance in becoming familiar with those numeric equivalents. One individual has a feature called voice command, which stores contact information in a Web-based address book. Because the numbers can be stored through a Web site, the task can be accomplished with the use of a screen-reader. A simple key command and voicing the name of the person to call retrieves the stored information.

                                    Accessibility Issues. Accessibility issues of cell phones, as identified by users who are blind, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Lack of tactile distinction of keys

                                    2. Inaccessible menus

                                    3. Lack of voiced caller-ID

                                    4. Inaccessible status messages

                                    Accessibility Features. Accessibility features of cell phones, as identified by users who are blind, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Adequately sized keys, with a standard for the minimum size

                                    2. Voiced menus

                                    3. Auditory status indicators

                                    4. Easy way to set the phone to ring or vibrate

                                    5. Voice dialing

                                    6. Nib on the "5" key

                                    Task Assessments. In a discussion of specific tasks associated with cell phone use, the focus group of users who are blind identified a number of problems. Although actually turning the phone on and off presents no difficulties, there are problems determining which state the phone is in. There is a desire for some way to distinguish by sound when the power button is pressed to know whether it has been switched on or off. One individual suggested even having a physical state to distinguish the status (e.g., the button is pressed in when ON and raised more when OFF). There were multiple suggestions for isolating the power button from the other buttons on the phone, and another suggestion that the location be more standardized.

                                    Only one participant uses the locking feature and has no problems with it. There are no difficulties in dialing the numbers on the keypad as long as a sufficient tactile indicator is available on the "5" key, the keys are arranged in the standard layout, and the numeric buttons are distinct enough. A phone number cannot be stored without assistance. There is no difficulty actually receiving a phone call, though one individual commented that he cannot know whether he wants to answer because the caller-ID information is inaccessible. Not everyone uses voice mail, but one individual who does use it has accidentally hit the "3" key, deleting his message without having first listened to it. There are no problems attaching the headset or power supply. Status indicators are inaccessible, but users adjust by making it a habit to charge their phone regularly. Text messages are inaccessible.

                                    Impact of UD. If cell phones were completely accessible, users who are blind would use them much more often. They would appreciate the opportunity to use more of the features, and they feel their productivity would increase greatly. Pay phones are becoming fewer and fewer, and the cell phone is the best alternative.

                                    Analysis. All users should have a choice of phones, but they should not be required to pay for numerous features that they cannot use. Until advanced features can be made more accessible, cell phones with reduced feature sets should be available, and the available features should be as advanced as they are for other models. A standard should be set for keypad layout and tactile quality of the keypad so that a common component does not eliminate a choice of a product because of its inaccessible implementation. Users with no sight can benefit from many of the advanced cell phone features if those features are made accessible, and the end-users would greatly appreciate the opportunity to use the advanced functionality.

                                    PDA

                                    User Experiences. People who are blind are unable to use Palm or Pocket PC-based PDAs, and they typically have never tried. A typical computer is used to help keep up with appointments and contacts, but it is not a portable alternative.

                                    Analysis. Users who are blind are not likely to utilize PDAs until significant advances in the accessibility of the operating system and core applications have been made. Users who are blind require an alternative method of interacting with the software. Two changes must be implemented before PDAs can become accessible to people who are blind. First, programs must be designed to support the five-way navigation feature found on some PDAs or other keyboard-based navigation schemes. Currently, many programs designed for PalmOne's Treo 600 smart phone can be utilized simply by moving the cursor around and selecting the desired option, using the five-way navigation button. These applications, designed for one-handed operation, can also benefit people who are blind. Second, AT companies must develop software to facilitate nonvisual operation of the PDA. In addition, the operating system software of the PDA must support the use of screen-reader applications.

                                    Distance Learning

                                    No participants had any experience with distance learning software. The group briefly discussed the ability to perform some tasks associated with distance learning, but they were not experienced enough to identify accessibility issues and features.

                                    User Experiences. Documents in Adobe Acrobat format are problematic for the visually impaired, and there is a lack of understanding of why a text document cannot just be made available in a text format that is easily read by a screen-reader.

                                    Task Assessments. In a discussion of specific tasks associated with distance learning use, the focus group of users who are blind identified a few problems. Email is generally accessible, except for graphics and some attachments. Instant messaging is not used because it is very irritating to use with a screen-reader, due to the pop-ups that may occur and the simultaneous incoming and outgoing displays. Embedded graphics can cause problems in Word documents, but these are generally not problematic when read with a screen-reader. Jaws is good at running PowerPoint presentations, but it gives access only to text; graphics are inaccessible, and sound and animation are problematic. Experiences with the use of chat software have been mixed; the greatest problem with chat software is the initial configuration.

                                    Impact of UD. All participants who are blind said they would definitely use distance learning and computer-based training if it were fully accessible. It would help to be able to have electronic copies of all the handouts that are given out during a class.

                                    Analysis. The providers of distance learning themselves have done a good job of making the base software accessible. It is, in part, the responsibility of the makers of software that is designed to be used as part of the distance learning package to concentrate their efforts on the user experience for those who have disabilities. Distance learning companies need to encourage the other software developers to consider the needs of people with disabilities. Despite technological improvements to increase UD, content providers may not develop accessible content. One method of resolving this issue might be for distance learning providers to develop a mechanism for performing accessibility checks once course content has been added to the system. If the software required an accessibility check and accessibility enhancements before publication of course content, accessibility could be increased considerably.

                                    Television

                                    All users had experience with basic television use.

                                    User Experiences. Unsighted individuals enjoy hearing television as much as sighted individuals enjoy watching it. Remote controls have become complex devices, however, which limits users' ability to control the television. Remotes have multiple sections of buttons that are difficult to use and keep track of. When the buttons are laid out well, they can be learned easily with some assistance. Remote control devices rarely come with instructions, and if instructions were provided that explained the button layout and described some of the features, individuals who are blind would benefit greatly. Emergency and other information crawlers that move across the bottom of the television screen are completely inaccessible to users who are blind. Programming often says to "call the number on the screen," but the number is not vocalized, making it impossible for users who are blind to call if they are interested in information or a product. Newscasts sometimes do descriptions for users who are deaf, but they do not seem to be aware of the population of users who are blind. In addition, remote control devices are easily lost; without buttons, particularly raised buttons, on the television set itself, the user who is blind is unable to control the television.

                                    Some individuals have had experience with audio description. They generally feel it is a benefit, though sometimes it describes situations unnecessarily, like a door slamming. Audio description does not need to describe situations that are common life experiences if the sound is provided for the action. One respondent indicated that his television has an automatic second audio programming option that does not require the user to turn the feature on and off.

                                    Television features like programming guides and on-demand services are not accessible to users who are blind. Online television listings do not always give movie or show descriptions, which can be frustrating to the user. Satellite and cable companies do not always have available accessible versions of the channel guide. One individual uses high mark on her remote control for commonly used features.

                                    Accessibility Issues. Accessibility issues of televisions, as identified by users who are blind, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Difficulty in using the remote control

                                    2. Inability to access on-screen program guides

                                    3. Inability to access on-screen menus

                                    4. Difficulty finding buttons on the television itself

                                    5. Unavailability of audio description

                                    Accessibility Features. Accessibility features of televisions, as identified by users who are blind, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Talking remote control

                                    2. Voiced program guide

                                    3. Voiced television status (e.g., what channel is currently set)

                                    4. Voiced menus

                                    5. Audio description

                                    6. Easy way to turn accessibility features on and off

                                    Impact of UD. If televisions were completely accessible, most users said they would watch it a lot more often. It would certainly increase the ease of watching.

                                    Analysis. The greatest challenge to benefiting from television for users who are blind is the lack of information provided in a format other than visual. Alternative output via audio is necessary for this population to manipulate controls, adjust settings, and access on-screen content. Another alternative would be to make this information accessible through a screen-reader. Service providers need to make their program guides and other on-screen displays (like displays for pay-per-view) available in alternate formats. Content providers can also improve their service by providing audio description of content.

                                    Voice Recognition

                                    User Experiences. Most participants indicated that they use telephone attendants quite frequently, and they find them pretty user friendly and understandable, though a bit slow. There have been some challenges with properly understanding voice input. Users generally prefer human interaction or the ability to input information through the keypad. None of the participants has had experience with voice technologies built into products; the perception is that these technologies would be more useful for the population with upper-mobility impairments than the population of people who are blind.

                                    One individual commented on the inaccessibility of programs like ViaVoice and Dragon Dictate. His experience is that a user must read a story to set up the program to recognize the user's voice; the story needs to be read in a limited time period, and it cannot be viewed by a user who is blind. In addition, when an input error is made, a list of corrections is provided, but this list is not read to the user.

                                    Analysis. Most users recognize the potential for voice recognition software to streamline user input; however, the software is rarely used because of lengthy software configuration requirements and accuracy issues. Although the accuracy of voice recognition software has improved greatly, most users feel that they can work more efficiently using the keyboard for input. Users of limited-vocabulary voice recognition applications, such as those found in voice-based automatic telephone attendants, generally report positive experiences. In order to be useful, the accuracy of natural-language voice recognition systems must approach the accuracy of current limited-vocabulary systems without requiring extensive training.

                                    User Experiences for People Who Are Hard of Hearing

                                    This section discusses hard-of-hearing users' experiences with ATMs, cell phones, PDAs, distance learning, televisions, and voice recognition software. Discussion revolved around general experiences, identification and prioritization of accessibility issues and features, difficulty level experienced in performing some specific tasks, and how more accessible designs would alter usage patterns. The discussion revolved primarily around cell phones and televisions, as those are the devices participants had the most experience with and the ones users who are deaf or hard of hearing might have the most difficulty with. The following sections summarize the user inputs.

                                    ATM

                                    User Experiences. In general, the users who are hard of hearing have no difficulty with ATMs. One individual, however, has experienced a talking ATM in which the screen displayed a talking head rather than the text menu, and she had difficulty understanding what was being asked of her. The tones that emanate from ATMs to serve as a reminder to retrieve the ATM card, for example, are not always accessible to this population.

                                    Analysis. Users should have the choice of whether to receive auditory output. If auditory output is provided, redundant visual information should be available as well.

                                    Cell Phone

                                    User Experiences. Participants commented that it was rare to find a cellular phone with enough amplification to be useful. Participants stressed the importance of clarity over amplification. Many amplification systems sacrifice clarity in order to achieve amplification, resulting in highly distorted audio that is difficult to perceive, even at high amplification. One participant has a product for her car that amplifies the sound through an external speaker that allows her to use her cellular phone while driving. Unfortunately, the device has only one volume setting, and it can be uncomfortable for others in the car when she uses it.

                                    Participants commented that ringers are often not loud enough to be useful. Often users rely on vibrating or visual alerts to determine if someone is calling. One participant commented that while his phone seems to provide a sufficiently amplified sound, the ability to hear the other person clearly is dependent on network conditions and the other person's phone. Some calls come through clear, and others sound muffled or distant.

                                    It was also noted that there is little to no compatibility of cell phones for people who have cochlear implants. In addition, some cell phones used by others in close proximity cause uncomfortable feedback for some people with hearing aids.

                                    Participants expressed that the most important feature in a cell phone is the ability for them to hear the conversation. Other cell phone features are secondary. During the focus group, each participant tried to use a loopset made available for this study, but neither had any success with it.

                                    Accessibility Issues. Accessibility issues of cell phones, as identified by users who are hard of hearing, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Difficulty hearing or the inability to hear the other person talking

                                    2. Interference with hearing aids

                                    3. Inability to detect the phone ringing

                                    4. Lack of understanding by the sales force of features and accessories to enhance the user experience for the hard of hearing

                                    5. Lack of sufficient on-screen information (e.g., that the connection has been lost or terminated)

                                    Accessibility Features. Accessibility features of cell phones, as identified by users who are hard of hearing, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Adjustable volume control

                                    2. High sound quality (clarity)

                                    3. Hearing aid compatibility

                                    4. Enhanced vibration or flashing as an alternative to auditory alerts

                                    5. On-screen displays of auditory information

                                    6. Loopsets

                                    Task Assessments. Both participants make a practice of leaving their cell phone in the same location; if they left it somewhere else, they might have difficulty locating it when they are able to detect it ringing. One participant, in particular, has difficulty with localization, particularly if the hearing aids are set at different volumes or intensities. The only other difficulties mentioned were some problems with clarity when retrieving voice mail and the inability to use headsets, which create interference or feedback.

                                    Impact of UD. If cell phones were completely accessible, participants felt they would really benefit. One individual noted that it is stressful just knowing that the phone is ringing, because the experience of using the telephone is so frustrating. Knowing they could use a phone and hear clearly would give them the freedom available to others in using a cell phone without stress or assistance. One individual expressed concern, however, that an accessible phone would not be affordable.

                                    Analysis. The accessibility of cell phones for people who are hard of hearing is mixed. Some models of cell phones provide sufficient amplification for some users; however, finding the right cellular phone can be difficult. Sales personnel often know very little about the accessibility features of cellular phones and are not able to advise users on how to select a phone to match their functional capabilities. Users seldom are able to try using the phone sufficiently before they are asked to commit to a contract. Loopsets can potentially provide access to cellular phones; however, loopsets are not compatible with all hearing aid types, and only certain phones can be used with a loopset.

                                    Amplification without controlling distortion is not sufficient. Clarity of the audio signal is more important than amplification for hard-of-hearing users. If too much distortion is introduced during amplification, the audio signal is not usable. Cellular phone manufacturers and developers of assistive devices should focus on providing reduced distortion amplification for users who are hard of hearing.

                                    PDA

                                    User Experiences. Only one participant had experience with PDAs. The participant did not report any accessibility issues with the use of the PDA. To help overcome her hearing impairments, she was able to set up her device to have the screen change colors to remind her of meetings or appointments. It was reported that a vibrating alert feature would also be useful.

                                    Distance Learning

                                    User Experiences. Only one participant had experience with distance learning software. The participant observed that the text and audio were not synchronized when watching captioned video for the course. The unsynchronized video was very distracting, and it was difficult to follow course instructions. In some instances, the video was not captioned and the participant had to rely on lip reading. The participant reported great difficulty understanding the instructor because of both the size and the clarity of the video made available, as well as the instructor's habit of often turning away from the camera. The participant felt that she would greatly benefit if synchronized text or closed captioning were provided as an accompaniment to the auditory output.

                                    Impact of UD. One participant would really like to use distance learning more if the frustrations could be removed. She feels that it is an excellent method of obtaining knowledge at a fairly inexpensive cost. The second participant felt that he would use distance learning if the topic were interesting and relevant to his needs, but he would not benefit much, given his lifestyle needs.

                                    Analysis. The distance learning experience can be greatly enhanced for the hard-of-hearing population through provision of text equivalents of verbal content. These text equivalents can be provided through electronic text or through closed captioning.

                                    Television

                                    Users reported considerable experience with use of televisions and related technologies. All participants reported enjoying watching television.

                                    User Experiences. There is a tendency to either watch the television with the volume turned very high, which is uncomfortable for users without hearing impairments, or to turn the volume off and watch with closed captioning turned on. Only one participant had experience with high definition television (HDTV). She found the sound and picture quality to be excellent, enhancing her ability to both hear and read lips, even reducing the need to use closed captioning. Users reported that availability of closed captioning and picture clarity are the most important features to consider when purchasing a new television, followed by good volume control.

                                    A few problems with closed captioning that were mentioned are that it is not available for all shows, and it occludes important information like news tickers and sports scores. Both participants noted that when problems with closed captioning do occur, they seem to happen most often when critical information is being relayed. Also, when there are transitions between shows, the closed captioning is often truncated. When transmission errors cause a delay in closed captioning, recovery methods differ. In some cases, the closed captioning will be displayed so quickly it is difficult or impossible to keep up while reading it, and in other cases it is way behind for the remainder of the show. Other minor issues are that it is not always easy to turn closed captioning on and off, and closed captioning is not always available as specified by the program guide. While spelling and other accuracy errors were noticed, they are not prohibitive issues.

                                    Users noted that frequently pay-per-view shows are advertised as closed caption, but they are not captioned when purchased. Some cable or satellite providers may be reluctant to refund the cost of the pay-per-view movie or event based on the availability of closed captioning.

                                    Users were asked if they had a preferred closed captioning format. One participant does not have a preference, stressing instead the importance that closed captioning is available and that it works. Another prefers the rolling format in which multiple lines of text are displayed and the text moves up the screen. This provides a brief opportunity to go back and review if something was missed. Another person prefers the scan format, where text appears on the screen as if being typed, but would like to be able to control the speed; he has sight in only one eye and finds that he cannot always keep up. The participant reported that he typically reads only every other line when multi-line, block-format closed captioning is used.

                                    Accessibility Issues. Accessibility issues of televisions, as identified by users who are hard of hearing, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Not all programs closed captioned

                                    2. Poor picture clarity impacting ability to read lips

                                    3. Inability to hear sounds

                                    Note that the last two items are tied for importance.

                                    Accessibility Features. Accessibility features of televisions, as identified by users who are hard of hearing, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Closed captioning

                                    2. Volume control

                                    3. Dedicated remote button to control closed captioning

                                    Note that the first two items are tied for importance. This is, in part, due to different preferences of the participants, perhaps resulting from their different levels of impairment. For one, it was very important to be able to read the closed captioning or to read lips, because trying to understand the audio tends to be very frustrating. For the other participant, it was much more important to be able to hear the audio output.

                                    Impact of UD. If captioning worked 100 percent of the time, it would cut down the frustration and stress of trying to obtain information through television. Improved closed captioning would enhance the enjoyment of watching the shows that are of particular interest.

                                    Analysis. To accommodate the hard-of-hearing population that appreciates auditory output, television manufacturers should have a standard for minimum/maximum volume levels and for decibel changes for each volume increment. Manufacturers should strive to produce clear audio signals at higher amplification levels. To accommodate those who use or depend on closed captioning, content developers should increase the availability and accuracy of closed captioning. Users preferred the flexibility of the HDTV closed captioning standard as opposed to the standard definition closed captioning standard. Users perceived the HDTV closed caption configuration options, such as color of text and background and size of text, as valuable. For all users, the remote control should provide a dedicated button for control of closed captioning.

                                    Voice Recognition

                                    User Experiences. Only one participant reported experience with voice recognition; this experience was limited to telephone technologies rather than computer software. There is some difficulty in interpreting the voice because of the lack of clarity, and often the option to replay the output is not available. The participant prefers to handle all her business through the computer to avoid the frustration associated with trying to understand audio output.

                                    User Experiences for People Who Are Deaf

                                    This section discusses the experiences of users who are deaf with ATMs, cell phones, PDAs, distance learning, televisions, and voice recognition software. Discussion revolved around general experiences with each of the product lines and related technologies, with the greatest focus on televisions (closed captioning), as that is the device all participants had the most experience with. The following sections summarize the user inputs.

                                    ATM

                                    In general, the participants who are deaf have had no problems using ATMs.

                                    User Experiences. All participants reported that they have had no problems using ATMs, though they would like to have added captioning. Some consumers who are deaf are aware of sounds emitted from the ATM, though they cannot comprehend the sounds, and their perception is that they are missing some information. Participants mentioned some difficulties with other banking methods, however, like using the drive-thru teller. Even though communication can be accomplished fairly easily with pen and paper, some drive-thru tellers try to encourage the customer who is deaf to go inside to complete the banking transaction. Captioning would be another improvement to the drive-thru experience.

                                    Analysis. All auditory output should be provided in a visual fashion as well, either through text or, in the case of alerts, through lights or flashing to get attention of a user who is deaf. Mirrors mounted on ATMs can provide an increased level of safety for individuals who are deaf who may not hear someone behind them.

                                    Cell Phone

                                    User Experiences. None of the participants had any experience using a cell phone with TTY capability. There is some awareness of phone systems that serve as a TTY, and the Sidekick allows access to the relay system. Users who are deaf feel that it is important for cell phone access to be combined with PDA functionality for emergencies, even if they cannot or will not use the service themselves. In emergencies, the users in the focus group said they would be inclined to ask someone to place a phone call for them.

                                    PDA

                                    User Experiences. One participant uses a Palm-based PDA, two have never used a PDA, and the third uses a device called the Sidekick, which is a very similar technology. Those who have used PDAs or PDA-like devices have experienced no accessibility issues. Some added features that users would like to see on the Sidekick are TTY capability and stylus pen input.

                                    Distance Learning

                                    User Experiences. Participants have had limited experience with distance learning, but all feel they would much rather be in the classroom. They feel that being around the other students and in the classroom environment is part of the educational experience and helps promote learning. The typical experience with online or computer-based tutorials is that multimedia resources are not appropriately captioned. Captioning is essential to the ability of the community of people who are deaf to obtain information. One participant noted, however, that some people's primary language might be sign language rather than, for example, English. This might create another barrier to learning and communication, even if text or captioning is provided. One participant attempted to take an online class but felt the process was very complicated. She said that she spent all her time trying to learn the system, leaving little actual time to do the work. She felt that there would be a benefit to having an initial face-to-face meeting with the instructor to become familiar with the system.

                                    Impact of UD. Despite the general preference to be in the classroom, all participants indicated that they would like the opportunity to use distance learning if it were completely accessible.

                                    Analysis. All auditory distance learning content needs to be provided visually as well as through captioning or a text equivalent.

                                    Television

                                    User Experiences. Almost every television today comes with captioning built in, but it is not always easy to set up through the remote control and on-screen menus. Also, some programming is not closed captioned. Some television stations are not always captioned; specific shows are not always captioned; and other programming, such as live news feeds and breaking news, tends not to be captioned. No users were aware of any trends in availability of captioning. Even when captioning is available, people who are deaf feel that they have a disadvantage compared with people with hearing because captioning does not provide complete translation of spoken words (e.g., bad language is not captioned), and it is not always completed at the end of a show.

                                    Consumers would like the choice of being able to move the captioning. Captioning often occludes sports scores, news tickers, and other important information. They would also like to be able to adjust the font size, and under some circumstances they would like to adjust the background color. Most seem satisfied with white text on a black background. One person noted that captioning is easier to read on a larger television, and while larger televisions are more expensive, she felt it was worth the extra cost. All participants would like a dedicated button on the remote control to turn closed captioning on and off. Participants were generally happy with the speed at which captioning is displayed, though sometimes captioning is displayed more quickly than normal, which can be a problem.

                                    Captioning needs to be more reliable; sometimes the captioning just stops working, and the consumer has no way of obtaining information without the captioning. Users have no way of knowing when the captioning will again be available. Accuracy is not always high, but it is generally high enough for people to understand the message.

                                    Different methods are used to identify the source of the speaker, and sometimes no distinction is made. All participants prefer the rolling style of captioning, followed by the left to right scan method; the block replacement method is least preferred.

                                    None of the participants had direct experience with captioning on HDTV. One user has heard that there are problems with it, though she could not remember enough details to clearly describe what she had heard.

                                    Participants were asked to estimate the availability of programming with closed captioning. Participants estimated that between 25 and 70 percent of the shows currently available are captioned.

                                    Accessibility Issues. Issues associated with closed captioning can be divided into six distinct categories. Accuracy is defined as the degree with which the closed captioned text matches the spoken dialogue. Inaccuracies may result from spelling errors, typing errors, or paraphrasing of the dialogue. Completion is defined as the tendency for the closed captioning to represent the complete dialogue. Occasionally, the closed captioning may appear to drop out for a period of time. Also, users have reported that some dialogue may be missed when transitioning to commercials or at the end of the program. Noise is defined as the degree to which closed captioning appears to be corrupted with random or nonsensical characters. Occasionally, the closed captioning data stream may become corrupted. As a result, the captioned fields appear to be filled with random characters. Occlusion is defined as the degree to which closed captioning covers important visual information. Captioning may appear over important information such as sports scores or weather emergency information. Persistence is defined as the degree to which the closed captioning persists on the display long enough for a user to read the captioning. Synchronicity is defined as the degree to which closed captioning is presented in synchrony with the dialogue. Closed captioning occasionally is presented slightly before or somewhat after the spoken dialogue. Unsynchronized captioning may result in confusion for users who are hard of hearing and still rely on their hearing to some extent. Unsynchronized captioning may also make it difficult for some users to comprehend the message of the program, particularly if the captioning describes a visual image.

                                    Accessibility issues of closed captioning, as identified by users who are deaf, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Accuracy

                                    2. Completion

                                    3. Persistence

                                    4. Occlusion

                                    5. Noise

                                    6. Synchronicity

                                    Analysis. More shows need to be captioned and captioning needs to be reliable. The HDTV standard for captioning resolves some of the issues addressed by the participants.

                                    Voice Recognition

                                    User Experiences. None of the participants could report any experiences with voice recognition technologies.

                                    User Experiences for People with Mobility Impairments

                                    This section discusses the experiences with ATMs, cell phones, PDAs, distance learning, televisions, and voice recognition software for users with upper- and lower-mobility impairments. Discussion revolved around general experiences, identification and prioritization of accessibility issues and features, difficulty level experienced in performing some specific tasks, and how more accessible designs would alter usage patterns. The following sections summarize the user inputs.

                                    ATM

                                    The upper mobility participants feel that they have few problems using ATMs, as long as they can access the ATM to begin with. Primary reasons for not being able to access the ATM are that it is mounted too high, it does not have knee room, or the display is angled poorly for a seated person. The swipe mechanism can also be a deterrent for some users.

                                    User Experiences. Two of the three participants have used ATMs. The third participant, who uses a power wheelchair, has never used one because she assumed she wouldn't be able to use it well from a seated position.

                                    The height of the ATM is one of the primary deterrents for users with mobility impairments. They need to be able to both reach the buttons and to see the face of the buttons to know which button is which. The nib on the "5" key is useful if the button faces cannot be seen. Those who have problems grasping items have some difficulties retrieving their cash, their card, and their receipt. Swipe card readers are a bit easier for one participant because he can maintain his hold on his card, though swiping can be tricky for him and sometimes causes him to lose his balance. He feels he would benefit more from a horizontal swipe mechanism than a vertical swipe mechanism.

                                    Some users have no difficulties with touchscreens, and one participant feels that it can be a bit tough for the user to ensure accuracy and that users would benefit from a confirm screen and larger touch areas. ATMs ask if you want more time, so there are few problems with timing issues. However, there is an occasional machine that works differently and may require the user to start over or to find a different machine.

                                    Accessibility Issues. Accessibility issues of ATMs, as identified by users who have combined upper- and lower-mobility impairments, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Lack of knee space

                                    2. Height of machine

                                    3. Viewing angle of display

                                    4. Card slot/swipe mechanism

                                    5. Small active area on touchscreen

                                    6. Size and spacing of buttons

                                    7. Keypad position and pressure requirement

                                    8. Dispense mechanism, which requires grasping

                                    Note that there are a few ties in the prioritization. Lack of knee space and height of machine were equally rated because the participants felt that both created barriers to being able to use the machine at all, and if they can't use the machine nothing else matters. The other tie addresses, in part, the type of control and display panel implemented on the ATM. Typically, either a hard-button panel or a touchscreen is implemented, and the participants felt that these items had equal importance. Priority was based, in part, on the steps involved in using the ATM; if people cannot reach the buttons, it does not matter to them what the size and spacing are.

                                    Accessibility Features. Accessibility features of ATMs, as identified by users who have combined upper- and lower-mobility impairments, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Placement of machine at appropriate height

                                    2. Proximity of card reader or other nonswipe mechanism

                                    3. Raised buttons on keypad, with a nib on the "5" and buttons that are easy to press

                                    4. Cash tray with a slot in the middle for dispensing

                                    5. Knee space under the machine

                                    6. Touchscreen

                                    Impact of UD. All participants felt that if the ATM were completely accessible, it would not change their use. The reasons for this are that they cannot afford to use the ATM more often than they currently do, or they have other methods of handling their funds, through either online banking or credit card use.

                                    Analysis. Height, while more obviously a problem for lower-mobility impaired users, can also be a problem for upper-mobility impaired users who have limited reach. Standards need to be set and enforced for machine height as well as control height and display angle. All ATMs should have knee room for those who require use from a seated position.

                                    Cell Phone

                                    All participants have a cell phone, but they are limited in choice of phone because of size and weight and ability to press the buttons.

                                    User Experiences. None of the participants have "clamshell" style phones because they cannot open them. Even if the open mechanism were accessible, they would prefer the "candy bar" style because it eliminates the extra step required to open the phone with the clamshell design. They all use lightweight phones. Two of the phones have a standard keypad. The other has a toggle key design, which works really well for the participant without finger function. The toggle key design also has good spacing between the keys. Some keys are more difficult for some users to activate than others. One participant does some text messaging, but he must have the phone on a surface in order to activate the controls.

                                    Hands-free operation is very useful for the upper-mobility impaired. One individual has difficulty holding the cell phone to her ear without elbow support. Hands-free operation also allows a person in a manual wheelchair to use the phone and still be mobile. One participant keeps her cell phone in a case that is attached with Velcro to her wheelchair, adjacent to the wheelchair controls. One of the phones has a loop attached that facilitates carrying the phone without having to grasp it in the hand.

                                    Accessibility Issues. Accessibility issues of cell phones, as identified by users who have combined upper- and lower-mobility impairments, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Difficulty with flip phones

                                    2. Heavy, hard-to-hold phones

                                    3. Small, hard-to-press buttons

                                    4. Requirement for two-handed operation

                                    5. Poor battery life or antenna range

                                    6. Difficult to insert connectors

                                    7. Display size and quality

                                    8. Requirement for antenna extension

                                    9. Access to battery and subscriber identity module (sim) card

                                    Note that the first two items are prioritized the same. If the person cannot hold the phone or access the buttons, then it cannot be used, and thus none of the other issues matter.

                                    Accessibility Features. Accessibility features of cell phones, as identified by users who have combined upper- and lower-mobility impairments, are listed in their perceived order of importance:

                                    1. Lightweight

                                    2. "Candy bar" style (rather than "clamshell")

                                    3. Hands-free operation

                                    4. Button size and spacing

                                    5. Long battery life

                                    6. Voice dialing

                                    7. Loop handle to carry phone

                                    8. Keypad shortcuts

                                    Analysis. Users with upper-mobility impairments have a limited selection of phones that are accessible to them. Lightweight phones in the "candy bar" style with rather large keys are most accessible. Fortunately, many cellular phone service providers offer phones that are accessible to people with upper-mobility impairments in their least expensive offerings. Premium cellular phones, such as smart phones or phones with integrated PDA functionality, and cellular phones with advanced features are less likely to be accessible because of their clamshell design or size.

                                    PDA

                                    PDAs are appreciated for their portability. They allow those with limited strength to carry fewer things with them, like address books and calendars, by combining most essential functions into a small, lightweight device. All users reported that they would like an integrated PDA and cell phone.

                                    User Experiences. Two of the three participants own a PDA. Individuals with use of a single hand have difficulty holding a PDA while making inputs. One individual requires a built-up (fatter) stylus, but he has found that some stylus devices do not work as well as others to activate the screen. Another often uses her fingers rather than the stylus. All individuals need to have the device itself supported on a surface or to have their arms supported. While it is generally not problematic to use the device when it is placed on a surface, there is often a need to use the device when a stable surface is unavailable. There are also glare and other readability issues associated with using a PDA when it is on a flat surface.

                                    One individual has tried an external PDA keyboard, but the task of folding and unfolding it as well as attaching it to the PDA was difficult for the user. Two hands were required to attach the keyboard. Word completion is very helpful for upper-mobility impaired users because it reduces the number of inputs required.

                                    Analysis. The size of most PDAs on the market today is appropriate for users with upper-mobility impairments. A convergence device with an integrated PDA and cellular telephone would be particularly useful for people with upper-mobility impairments, because it would reduce the number of devices that they would have to carry with them. PDAs are designed for two-handed operation; however, most users with upper-mobility impairments are able to use the PDA if a stable work surface is available. PDAs and associated applications are generally designed to be operated with a stylus. Use of the stylus requires fine motor control that may be beyond the functional capabilities of some users. An alternative navigation scheme, such as five-way button navigation, may be helpful to those with limited fine motor control.

                                    Distance Learning

                                    User Experiences. Only one individual has had experience with computer-based training and did not feel there were any accessibility issues.

                                    Television

                                    User Experiences. Users reported difficulty with the initial set-up and configuration of televisions. The cable connectors are inaccessible to someone with an upper-mobility impairment. The connectors are often located behind the television, making it difficult for someone using a mobility aid to access them.

                                    None of the individuals reported difficulties using the remote control device. They did not feel that the design of a remote would influence their purchasing decision for a television; good picture and sound quality are the most important factors. It can be difficult to juggle multiple remote control devices, so they really appreciate the universal remotes. However, not all universal remotes can control all features of a particular device, so universal remotes do not eliminate the need to access the individual device remotes.

                                    Analysis. The need to juggle multiple remotes can be solved through the design of a universal remote that is easily configurable to match the user's equipment. The remote should be lightweight and easy to hold to accommodate users with limited strength. The remote control buttons should be large and sufficiently separated from one another to facilitate operation by someone with limited fine motor control.

                                    Voice Recognition

                                    User Experiences. All participants feel that voice recognition can be useful for some circumstances, but generally they feel they can be faster with their own typing or they prefer to use the abilities they have for as long as they can. There are many problems and frustrations with accuracy of voice recognition, which is a deterrent for most people who have other alternatives they can use. Some people also have problems putting on a headset, and environmental factors can limit use of an external microphone and speaker.

                                    Analysis. Users with mobility impairments reported that they did not use natural language voice recognition software for the same reasons as other users. The accuracy of voice recognition is simply not high enough compared with what can be accomplished using a keyboard.

                                     

                                    Analysis of Georgia Tech Universal Design Survey Data

                                    A total of 320 individuals with disabilities participated in the Georgia Tech Universal Design Survey. The survey provided three general types of accessibility data on six types of devices: ATMs, cell phones, distance learning or computer-based training software, PDAs, televisions, and voice recognition software. For each device, participants were asked to (1) indicate their level of experience with the device, (2) estimate the level of disability-related difficulty in using the device, and (3) rate the usefulness of a set of disability-specific accessibility features that might be associated with the device. Most data is presented in tabular format. Where appropriate, the standard deviation (SD) of a measure has been indicated in parentheses.

                                    The survey captured data from people with a wide range of disabilities, including vision (40%), hearing (27%), and both upper (38%) and lower (46%) mobility impairments. Summary statistics were compiled for six general areas of disability: blindness, low vision, deafness, hard of hearing, and upper- and lower-mobility impairments. Most respondents (77%) were 35–64 years of age. Table 19 contains a breakout of the survey participants by reported age.

                                    Table 19: Ages of Participants

                                    As a whole, respondents tended to have a good deal of experience using ATMs, cell phones, and televisions, but little experience with distance learning/computer-based training, voice recognition software, and PDAs (although this was sometimes dependent on a person's disability, as discussed below). While people who are deaf seem to have the greatest difficulty in using voice recognition software, each of the remaining device types under examination presented the greatest barriers to users who are blind.

                                    Experience with Devices

                                    Respondents were asked to indicate their level of experience for each device on a four-point scale. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = no experience, 2 = little experience, 3 = some experience, 4 = very experienced. Table 20 summarizes the indicated level of experience reported by users for each product line. Respondents were familiar with the use of ATMs, cellular telephones, and televisions. Respondents were less familiar with the use of distance learning/computer-based training software, PDAs, and voice recognition software.

                                    Table 20: Experience with the Product Lines

                                    Product Manual Format Preference

                                    Participants were asked for their preferred format for product manuals. Values represent the proportion of respondents of a particular disability type that preferred that format. Table 21 contains the proportion of respondents that reported a preference for product manual format. While most users preferred a standard print manual, low-vision users reported a preference for large print manuals, and users who are blind preferred an electronic manual in accessible HTML or an audio tape manual. Many users who are blind also reported a preference for a Braille manual. None of the users who are blind reported a preference for a manual delivered in Adobe PDF format.

                                    Table 21: Product Manual Preference for Each User Type

                                    Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)

                                    For the most part, respondents indicated a fairly high level of experience with using ATMs, along with low levels of difficulty in completing device-related activities. The exception seemed to be with participants who are blind. These respondents indicated a slightly lower level of experience with ATMs than the other disability groups, although the majority of the users who are blind indicated they had at least some experience on this device. Furthermore, people who are blind seemed to have a greater level of difficulty in using ATMs. While people in the other disability categories tended to have little or no trouble in accomplishing tasks, respondents who are blind indicated they had at least some difficulty on many tasks, including basic tasks such as locating accessible ATMs, making deposits, checking account balances, and printing a statement.

                                    Level of Experience

                                    Respondents were asked to indicate their level of experience using ATMs on a four-point scale. Results are presented in Table 22. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = no experience, 2 = little experience, 3 = some experience, 4 = very experienced.

                                    Table 22: Level of Experience with ATMs by Disability Type

                                    Difficulty Completing Device-Related Activities

                                    Respondents estimated the difficulty they had in personally accomplishing activities in the previous year due to physical or cognitive limitations caused by a disability. Results are presented in Table 23. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = little or no difficulty, 2 = some difficulty, 3 = great difficulty. Users who are blind reported great difficulty in performing the following activities:

                                    • Locating an ATM
                                    • Locating an accessible ATM
                                    • Making a cash withdrawal
                                    • Making a deposit
                                    • Checking account balances
                                    • Printing a statement
                                    • Reading a receipt

                                    Low-vision users reported some difficulty in locating an accessible ATM, making a deposit, and reading the receipt. Users who are deaf or hard of hearing reported little difficulty in performing the activities associated with ATM usage. Users with mobility impairments reported some difficulty in locating an accessible ATM, inserting the bank card, entering the PIN, making a cash withdrawal, making a deposit, retrieving a receipt, and retrieving the bank card.

                                    Table 23: Reported Difficulty in Completing ATM Activities by User Type. (SD)

                                    Usefulness of Features

                                    Participants were asked to estimate the usefulness of accessibility features associated with the device on a four-point scale. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = not useful, 2 = slightly useful, 3 = moderately useful, 4 = extremely useful. Features differed by disability type and therefore are presented as such. Table 24 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of ATM accessibility features for users who are blind. Features associated with the operation of an ATM with voice displays (talking ATM) were consistently rated as useful. However, users rated voice control of ATMs as moderately useful. Users also rated items associated with touch-discernible keys (nib on the "5" key, keys discernible by touch, and Braille labels) as useful.

                                    Table 24: Usefulness of ATM Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants Who Are Blind

                                    Table 25 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of ATM accessibility features for users with low vision. Users with low vision preferred to enhance the visual displays by increasing the contrast of the displays and introducing larger displays and keys, as opposed to using a voice display. Users with low vision also reported that the ability to request additional time is useful.

                                    Table 25: Usefulness of ATM Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants with Low Vision

                                    Table 26 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of ATM accessibility features for users who are deaf. Users rated accessibility features associated with providing text or graphical equivalents of auditory information as useful.

                                    Table26: Usefulness of ATM Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants Who Are Deaf.

                                    Table 27 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of ATM accessibility features for users who are hard of hearing. Users who are hard of hearing rated the usefulness of accessibility features associated with providing text or graphical equivalents of auditory information as useful. The priorities of the features for users who are hard of hearing and users who are deaf were identical. However, the rating scores of usefulness for users who are hard of hearing were slightly lower than scores associated with users who are deaf.

                                    Table27: Usefulness of ATM Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants Who Are Hard of Hearing

                                    Table 28 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of ATM accessibility features for users with upper-mobility impairments. Most users reported the listed accessibility features as being only moderately useful. The accessibility features receiving the highest scores are larger keys and increased spacing between the keys. Ease to press keys was also rated as a useful feature.

                                    Table28: Usefulness of ATM Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants with Upper-Mobility Impairments

                                    Table 29 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of ATM accessibility features for users with lower-mobility impairments. Users rated the accessibility features listed in the survey as only moderately useful. Accessibility features associated with making the display screen easier to read (high contrast displays, large fonts, and large display screens) and larger keys were rated as most useful.

                                    Table29: Usefulness of ATM Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants with Lower-Mobility Impairments

                                    Cell Phones

                                    Respondents also indicated a fairly high level of experience with using cell phones. People who are deaf had a lower level of experience overall with this device and seem to have a good deal of trouble using cell phones. People who are blind reported having great difficulty with many aspects of using this device, including determining signal strength, sending and receiving text messages, storing phone numbers, and accessing caller-ID (functions and information that are normally provided only on the display).

                                    Level of Experience

                                    Respondents were asked to indicate their level of experience using cell phones on a four-point scale. Results are presented in Table 30. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = no experience, 2 = little experience, 3 = some experience, 4 = very experienced. Most users were experienced with using cellular phones. Users who are deaf or hard of hearing, particularly users who are deaf, were less experienced than others.

                                    Table30: Level of Experience with Cellular Phones by Disability Type

                                    Difficulty Completing Device-Related Activities

                                    Respondents estimated the difficulty they had in personally accomplishing activities in the previous year due to physical or cognitive limitations caused by a disability. Results are presented in Table 31. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = little or no difficulty, 2 = some difficulty, 3 = great difficulty. Users who are blind had great difficulty using the advanced functionality of cellular phones. Users who are blind rated storing a phone number, recalling a stored phone number, receiving caller-ID information, determining battery status, determining signal strength, detecting when the phone is in roam mode, and using text messaging as extremely difficult, primarily because of the inaccessibility of the visual display. Low-vision users reported the most difficulty in using text messaging features. Users who are deaf or hard of hearing reported difficulty in receiving a phone call and accessing voice mail. Users with mobility impairments generally found cellular phones to be accessible but reported some difficulty in using text messaging.

                                    Table31: Reported Difficulty in Completing Cellular Phone Activities by User Type. (SD)

                                    Usefulness of Features

                                    Participants were asked to estimate the usefulness of accessibility features associated with the device on a four-point scale. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = not useful, 2 = slightly useful, 3 = moderately useful, 4 = extremely useful. Features differed by disability type and therefore are presented as such.

                                    Table 32 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of cellular phone accessibility features for users who are blind. Users rated accessibility features associated with nonvisual presentation of visual information as being extremely useful. The highest rated accessibility feature was talking battery level indicators, as users who are blind often do not know if they need to recharge their phone until minutes before the battery is exhausted. Participants also reported that voiced menu options would be extremely useful. Users who are blind are not able to use the advanced functionality of their cellular phones because of the inaccessibility of the display menus. The raised area (nib) on the "5" key used in conjunction with a standard telephone keypad layout is also a very useful feature. Users who are blind are very familiar with the standard telephone keypad layout and can easily orient themselves to the cell phone keypad by locating the central "5" key.

                                    Table32: Usefulness of Cellular Phone Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants Who Are Blind

                                    Table 33 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of cellular phone accessibility features for users with low vision. In contrast to users who are blind, users with low vision do not prefer to make use of visual information presented in other formats. Instead of replacing display menus with voiced menus, users with low vision prefer to rely on their remaining visual capability. Therefore, high contrast displays and larger display screens are perceived as being very useful.

                                    Table33: Usefulness of Cellular Phone Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants with Low Vision.

                                     

                                    Users who are deaf ranked vibrating alerts (average score = 3.7; SD = 0.9) and TTY compatibility (average score = 3.5; SD = 1.1) as extremely useful accessibility features for cellular phones.

                                    Table 34 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of cellular phone accessibility features for users who are hard of hearing. Users who are hard of hearing ranked adjustable volume as the most useful accessibility feature for cellular phones. Often, the range of volume adjustment available on standard cellular phones is not sufficient for users with diminished hearing capacity. Vibrating alerts were also rated very useful because it is difficult for some users who are deaf or hard of hearing to detect when a call is being received.

                                    Table34: Usefulness of Cellular Phone Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants Who Are Hard of Hearing

                                     

                                    Table 35 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of cellular phone accessibility features for users with upper-mobility impairments. Users with upper-mobility impairments ranked accessibility features associated with hands-free operation as being most useful. Users also reported that accessibility features of the keypad—such as larger keys, increased distances between adjacent keys, and keypress feedback—are very useful. Speed dialing features were also ranked as very useful.

                                    Table35: Usefulness of Cellular Phone Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants with Upper-Mobility Impairments

                                     

                                    Users with lower-mobility impairments ranked speakerphones (average score = 3.2; SD =1.2) and cradles that attach to mobility aids such as wheelchairs or scooters (average score 3.1; SD = 1.3) as being moderately useful.

                                    Distance Learning or Computer-Based Training Software

                                    Respondents were much less experienced with distance learning and computer-based training software. Nonetheless, most participants indicated they have little difficulty in accomplishing tasks related to this category. The exception again is people who are blind, who indicated high levels of difficulty in accomplishing relevant tasks such as using chat software, viewing PowerPoint presentations, and reading documents in PDF format.

                                    Level of Experience

                                    Respondents were asked to indicate their level of experience using distance learning or computer-based training software on a four-point scale. Results are presented in Table 36. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = no experience, 2 = little experience, 3 = some experience, 4 = very experienced. Users of all disability types were not very experienced with distance learning software.

                                    Table36: Level of Experience with Distance Learning Software by Disability Type

                                    Difficulty Completing Device-Related Activities

                                    Respondents estimated the difficulty they had in personally accomplishing activities in the previous year due to physical or cognitive limitations caused by a disability. Results are presented in Table 37. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = little or no difficulty, 2 = some difficulty, 3 = great difficulty. Users who are blind reported great difficulty in using instant messaging software, reading documents in Adobe PDF format, viewing presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint format, and using online chat software.

                                    Table37: Reported Difficulty in Completing Distance Learning Software Activities by User Type

                                    Usefulness of Features

                                    Participants were asked to estimate the usefulness of accessibility features associated with the device on a four-point scale. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = not useful, 2 = slightly useful, 3 = moderately useful, 4 = extremely useful. Features differed by disability type and therefore are presented as such.

                                    Table 38 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of distance learning software accessibility features for users who are blind. Users ranked screen-reader compatibility and text description of visual items as extremely useful.

                                    Table38: Usefulness of Distance Learning Software Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants Who Are Blind

                                     

                                    Table 39 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of distance learning software accessibility features for users with low vision. In contrast to users who are blind, users with low vision rated items associated with increased utility of the visual displays higher than screen-reader compatibility or described visual items. Users with low vision would prefer to increase the font size of the visual display over using a screen magnifier.

                                    Table39: Usefulness of Distance Learning Software Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants with Low Vision

                                     

                                    Participants who are deaf rated closed captioned video as extremely useful (average score = 4.0; SD = 0.00). Participants who are hard of hearing rated closed captioned video (average score = 3.4; SD = 1.2) and adjustable volume (average score = 3.4; SD = 0.9) as being very useful.

                                    Table 40 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of distance learning software accessibility features for users with upper-mobility impairments. Users with upper-mobility impairments may require additional time while interacting with classroom materials or taking an online test. The ability to request additional time was ranked as the most useful accessibility feature.

                                    Table40: Usefulness of Distance Learning Software Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants with Upper-Mobility Impairments

                                     

                                    Participants with lower-mobility impairments rated touchscreen displays as moderately useful (average score = 2.8; SD = 1.3).

                                    Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)

                                    Most respondents seemed to have very little experience with using PDAs. Related tasks presented only a small degree of difficulty to most user groups, although respondents with visual impairments noted great difficulty in several areas, including adjusting controls and installing software.

                                    Level of Experience

                                    Respondents were asked to indicate their level of experience using a PDA on a four-point scale. Results are presented in Table 41. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = no experience, 2 = little experience, 3 = some experience, 4 = very experienced. All user types reported similar levels of experience with PDAs.

                                    Table41: Level of Experience with PDAs by Disability Type

                                    Difficulty Completing Device-Related Activities

                                    Respondents estimated the difficulty they had in personally accomplishing activities in the previous year due to physical or cognitive limitations caused by a disability. Results are presented in Table 42. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = little or no difficulty, 2 = some difficulty, 3 = great difficulty. Users who are blind reported extreme difficulty in using mainstream PDA consumer products. Mainstream PDAs rely on the use of a stylus-operated display that is completely inaccessible to users who are blind. However, users who are blind may rely on Braille note takers or other alternative input devices that allow them to perform some of the same functions of mainstream PDAs. In general, when users who are blind reported experience with using PDAs, they were reporting their experiences with alternative interface devices.

                                    Table42: Reported Difficulty in Completing PDA Activities by User Type. (SD)

                                    Usefulness of Features

                                    Participants were asked to estimate the usefulness of accessibility features associated with the device on a four-point scale. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = not useful, 2 = slightly useful, 3 = moderately useful, 4 = extremely useful. Features differed by disability type and therefore are presented as such.

                                    Table 43 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of PDA accessibility features for users who are blind. The most useful accessibility feature for users who are blind is compatibility with screen-readers. Currently, screen-reader technology is not available for mainstream consumer products powered by the Microsoft Pocket PC or the Palm operating systems. Availability of screen-reader technologies would greatly increase the accessibility of PDAs for users who are blind.

                                    Table43: Usefulness of PDA Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants Who Are Blind

                                    Table 44 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of PDA accessibility features for users with low vision. Users with low vision ranked accessibility features associated with increasing the readability of visual displays as very useful. In contrast to users who are blind, users with low vision ranked compatibility with screen-readers as only moderately useful.

                                    Table44: Usefulness of PDA Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants with Low Vision

                                     

                                    Participants who are deaf rated vibrating alerts as extremely useful (average score = 3.7; SD = 0.9). Participants who are hard of hearing reported that vibrating alerts (average score = 3.4; SD = 1.1) and adjustable volume (average score = 3.3; SD = 1.2) are very useful accessibility features for PDAs.

                                    Table 45 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of PDA accessibility features for users with upper-mobility impairments. Users with upper mobility impairments ranked accessibility features associated with keys (key size and distance between adjacent keys) as being most useful.

                                    Table45: Usefulness of PDA Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants with Upper-Mobility Impairments

                                     

                                    Participants with lower-mobility impairments reported that a cradle that attaches to a mobility aid such as a wheelchair or scooter would be a useful accessibility feature of PDAs.

                                    Televisions

                                    Televisions were defined to include both standard definition and high definition (HDTV) models. Most respondents indicated a very high level of experience using a television, and most reported they had very little difficulty accomplishing related tasks. Participants who are blind were once again the exception, as they indicated great difficulty in using the advanced features of the television, such as picture-in-picture features, accessing electronic program guides, and activating features such as closed-captioning and descriptive video services.

                                    Level of Experience

                                    Respondents were asked to indicate their level of experience using a television on a four-point scale. Results are presented in Table 46. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = no experience, 2 = little experience, 3 = some experience, 4 = very experienced. All user groups reported high levels of experience with televisions.

                                    Table46: Level of Experience with Televisions by Disability Type

                                    Difficulty Completing Device-Related Activities

                                    Respondents estimated the difficulty they had in personally accomplishing activities in the previous year due to physical or cognitive limitations caused by a disability. Results are presented in Table 47. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = little or no difficulty, 2 = some difficulty, 3 = great difficulty. Users of all types reported little difficulty in using basic television features and some difficulty in using more advanced features such as activating accessibility features, using picture-in-picture, accessing the program guide, or adjusting picture-quality settings. Users who are blind could access basic television features as easily as other users. However, users who are blind had more difficulty accessing advanced functionality when compared to the other user types.

                                    Table47: Reported Difficulty in Completing Television Activities by User Type. (SD)

                                    Usefulness of Features

                                    Participants were asked to estimate the usefulness of accessibility features associated with the device on a four-point scale. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = not useful, 2 = slightly useful, 3 = moderately useful, 4 = extremely useful. Features differed by disability type and therefore are presented as such.

                                    Table 48 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of television accessibility features for users who are blind. Users who are blind rated descriptive video services as the most useful accessibility feature for televisions. Relatively few programs are available with audio description, although it is becoming more popular. Easy access to accessibility features via a dedicated button on the remote control was also ranked as a very useful function. Several television manufacturers now offer television sets with dedicated buttons for closed captioning and control of the secondary audio program (SAP) for audio description services. Users who are blind also ranked voiced equivalents for on-screen menus and program guides as useful accessibility features.

                                    Table48: Usefulness of Television Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants Who Are Blind

                                    Table 49 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of television accessibility features for users with low vision. Users with low vision ranked the accessibility features associated with increasing the readability of the on-screen program guide as being very useful. Users also felt that features associated with the usability of the remote control, such as large buttons and more space between adjacent buttons, were also useful.

                                    Table49: Usefulness of Television Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants with Low Vision

                                     

                                    Table 50 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of television accessibility features for users who are deaf. Users who are deaf ranked closed captioning and the presence of a dedicated button on the remote control to control closed captioning as the most important accessibility features for televisions. Users noted that the ability to adjust the presentation of closed captioned text was also useful.

                                    Table50: Usefulness of Television Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants Who Are Deaf

                                     

                                    Table 51 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of television accessibility features for users who are hard of hearing. Accessibility feature priority identified by users who are hard of hearing was identical to that of users who are deaf. Users who are hard of hearing judged each accessibility feature as being slightly less useful than did users who are deaf.

                                    Table51: Usefulness of Television Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants Who Are Hard of Hearing

                                     

                                    Table 52 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of television accessibility features for users with upper-mobility impairments. Users with upper-mobility impairments judged accessibility features associated with remote controls as being most useful.

                                    Table52: Usefulness of Television Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants with Upper-Mobility Impairments

                                     

                                    Participants with lower-mobility impairments ranked voice-activated remote controls (average score = 2.8; SD = 1.4) and talking remote controls (average score = 2.4; SD = 1.3) slightly to moderately useful.

                                    Voice Recognition Software

                                    Voice recognition software was defined to include both software that can be installed on computers as an alternative input device and software that is embedded within other applications, such as automatic telephone attendants and kiosks. Most respondents had very little experience with using voice recognition software, although respondents who are blind seemed to have slightly more experience with this technology than people in the other disability groups. Tasks associated with voice recognition were deemed fairly difficult to accomplish by respondents in all disability groups, especially using it in public settings and over a headset. Respondents who are deaf rated all of the associated tasks as especially difficult.

                                    Level of Experience

                                    Respondents were asked to indicate their level of experience using voice recognition software on a four-point scale. Results are presented in Table 53. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = no experience, 2 = little experience, 3 = some experience, 4 = very experienced. Users who are blind had the most experience using voice recognition software. Users who are deaf, in general, had little or no experience with voice recognition software.

                                    Table53: Level of Experience with Voice Recognition Software by Disability Type

                                    Difficulty Completing Device-Related Activities

                                    Respondents estimated the difficulty they had in personally accomplishing activities in the previous year due to physical or cognitive limitations caused by a disability. Results are presented in Table 54. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = little or no difficulty, 2 = some difficulty, 3 = great difficulty. Users who are blind reported little difficulty in using automatic voice recognition phone attendants and understanding computerized voices, perhaps because they tended to rely on voice interfaces as an alternative user interface more than other user groups. Most users reported difficulty in using voice recognition software to control the computer or in public settings. Users who are deaf in general could not use the software.

                                    Table54: Reported Difficulty in Completing Voice Recognition Software Activities by User Type

                                    Usefulness of Features

                                    Participants were asked to estimate the usefulness of accessibility features associated with the device on a four-point scale. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = not useful, 2 = slightly useful, 3 = moderately useful, 4 = extremely useful. Features differed by disability type and therefore are presented as such.

                                    Table 55 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of voice recognition software accessibility features for users who are blind. Users who are blind indicated that adjustable volume and the ability to control the parameters of voice playback were desirable accessibility features. Users also suggested that assistance with error correction was a very desirable accessibility feature with voice recognition software.

                                    Table55: Usefulness of Voice Recognition Software Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants Who Are Blind

                                     

                                    Table 56 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of voice recognition software accessibility features for users with low vision. The desirability of accessibility features reported by low-vision users for voice recognition software was similar to that reported by users who are blind. Notably the ability to adjust the volume and playback speed were ranked lower by users with low vision than by users who are blind, perhaps because of less experience with voice recognition software.

                                    Table56: Usefulness of Voice Recognition Software Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants with Low Vision

                                     

                                    Table 57 presents the results of the assessment of the usefulness of voice recognition software accessibility features for users who are hard of hearing. Users who are hard of hearing ranked accessibility features associated with playback control as very useful. The ability to adjust the volume of the voice was also ranked as a desirable feature.

                                    Table57: Usefulness of Voice Recognition Software Accessibility Features as Reported by Participants Who Are Hard of Hearing

                                     

                                    Users with upper-mobility impairments rated the automatic suggestion of alternatives for voice recognition errors (average score = 3.1; SD = 1.2) as being moderately useful. Users with lower-mobility impairments rated wireless microphones (average score = 3.1; SD = 1.3) and adjustable microphones (average score = 3.0; SD = 1.3) as being moderately useful accessibility features of voice recognition software.

                                    Discussion

                                    The purpose of the user study was to document the use and acceptance of accessibility features in products representative of the product lines selected for study. Table 58 summarizes the reported level of experience with each product line by disability type, as documented in the analysis of the Georgia Tech Universal Design Survey. Values represent the mean value on the following scale: 1 = no experience, 2 = little experience, 3 = some experience, 4 = very experienced. Standard deviations are presented in parentheses.

                                    Table58: User Experience with Each of the Product Lines by Disability Type

                                     

                                    In general, users were very experienced with using ATMs, cellular phones, and televisions. Users who are blind were less familiar with ATMs that were all other user groups. Recently, many banks have added voice display functionality to ATMs. The talking ATM design has greatly increased the accessibility of ATMs to users who are blind; however, many users who are blind are still reluctant to use ATMs.

                                    Users who are deaf reported less experience with cellular phones than other user types. Users who are deaf reported in the Georgia Tech Universal Design Survey that TTY compatibility (average score = 3.5, out of a maximum score of 4.0) is an extremely useful accessibility feature; however, few users reported making TTY calls with their cellular phone. According to the focus group participants, users who are deaf are much more likely to make use of text messaging features offered by their cellular service provider than to connect their TTY device to their cellular phone. Fifty-nine percent of the users who are deaf or hard of hearing who used cell phones reported in the Wireless RERC survey that text messaging was at least somewhat important to them.

                                    Users were less familiar with distance learning software, PDAs, and voice recognition software. In some cases, unfamiliarity with a device is directly attributable to the accessibility of the device. For example, users who are blind were not very familiar with using PDAs because the technology is largely inaccessible to them. Likewise, users who are deaf are not likely to use voice recognition software. Familiarity with a product line is also dependent on its demand and availability. Most participants in the user study reported that they did not have a need to take distance learning courses and therefore had very little experience in using the software. The availability of distance learning courses is also somewhat limited compared with the other product lines. Finally, familiarity with voice recognition software is limited by the perceived utility of the software. Most focus group participants reported negative experiences with using voice recognition software packages designed for computer input. Users are less likely to use the software if the perceived utility is low.

                                    ATM. Users with visual impairments find ATMs difficult to use. Table 59 indicates the reported use difficulty by disability type from the Wireless RERC survey. All values in the table are percentages of users indicating a particular use difficulty category. Users who are deaf or hard of hearing reported little difficulty using ATMs. Users with mobility impairments reported moderate levels of difficulty using ATMs.

                                    Table59: ATM Use Difficulty by Disability Type

                                     

                                    Talking ATMs have increased the accessibility of ATMs to users who are blind; however, many important issues have not yet been resolved.

                                    Although accessibility issues encompass social as well as technological barriers, manufacturers tend to focus on solving only the latter, without due consideration of the entire user experience. In the focus group, users who are blind indicated that although talking ATMs are likely to be an improvement in terms of accessibility, they may still be reluctant to use these devices. First, users who are unfamiliar with the technology may be reluctant to try it out if other bank customers must wait while they learn to use the device. Second, users who are blind and users with lower-mobility impairments are concerned about security. Users who are blind have no way of knowing if someone is watching them enter their PIN. Users with lower-mobility impairments cannot adequately mask their fingers as they enter their PIN code. In designing accessibility solutions, it is necessary to consider the entire user experience and keep these types of accessibility solutions in mind.

                                    Cellular Phone. Table 60 shows the proportion of responses associated with three major disability types on an ease-of-use scale employed in the Wireless RERC survey. Overall, users who are deaf or hard of hearing find cellular phones rather difficult to use. Users who are visually impaired report considerable difficulty in using the advanced features of cellular phones. Users with mobility impairments report moderate levels of difficulty.

                                    Table60: Cellular Phone Use Difficulty by Disability Type

                                     

                                    A large number of cellular phone options are available. New cell phones are constantly introduced, and users have difficulty keeping up with the available options.

                                    Users have difficulty finding devices that match their functional capabilities.

                                    Cellular service provider sales associates are unlikely to be familiar with the accessibility features of cellular phones. Therefore, users have a difficult time finding phones that match their functional capabilities. Users often rely on recommendations from their peers or on "trial and error" when selecting a new phone. The lack of useful information about accessibility features contributes to the perception that cellular phones are more inaccessible than they are in reality.

                                    Accessibility features seem to be present on phones that are more expensive. For example, voice technologies that increase the accessibility of cellular phones for people who are blind are typically available only on high-end business model phones.

                                    Users dislike paying more for equal access or paying for features that are inaccessible.

                                    Users in the focus groups expressed discontent with being expected to pay high prices for accessibility features. Users with disabilities are also often asked to pay high prices for phones with feature sets that are not useful to them.

                                    Distance Learning Software. Most users reported little or no experience using distance learning software. For most user groups, most tasks could be accomplished with little difficulty. Users who are blind reported greater levels of difficulty than other groups, especially in using chat software, viewing PowerPoint presentations, and reading PDF files.

                                    In general, developers of distance learning software have been successful at building accessibility features into their products. However, once the software is delivered, it is the responsibility of the instructor or professor to develop course materials in an accessible manner.

                                    Content providers must adhere to accessibility standards during content production.

                                    The effort required to produce accessible course materials is great, and many instructors do not have the experience or the resources to produce accessible content. For example, WGBH, the PBS affiliate in Boston, reports that it can take an experienced technician 14 hours to add closed captioning to a one-hour television program. Instructors simply do not have the skill sets or the time to produce accessible content, even though accessibility is technically achievable.

                                    PDA. Users who are blind, users with low vision, and (to a lesser extent) users with upper-mobility impairments found PDAs difficult or impossible to use. Table 61 indicates the reported use difficulty by disability type from the Wireless RERC survey. All values in the table are percentages of users indicating a particular use difficulty category. For users with visual impairments, reading and manipulating the touchscreen is an extremely difficult or impossible task. In addition, operating the device often requires two hands, making simultaneous use of some forms of assistive technology (e.g., a magnifier) impossible. Users with upper-mobility impairments stated that the two-hand requirement could usually be avoided by placing the device on a suitable surface. Users who are deaf or hard of hearing reported difficulty in using the PDA alerting function if the PDA does not support the vibrating alert feature.

                                    Table61: PDA Use Difficulty by Disability Type

                                     

                                    Most users in the focus group reported that they were reluctant to invest in a technology until the accessibility of the product was sufficiently demonstrated.

                                    Users are reluctant to invest in technologies that have an unproven accessibility record.

                                    Incremental increases in accessibility are unlikely to generate large increases in sales within the disability community. Substantial increases in accessibility will be required before increased sales to members of the disabled community are realized.

                                    Television. Most users found televisions fairly easy to use. Table 62 indicates the reported use difficulty by disability type from the Wireless RERC survey. All values in the table are percentages of users indicating a particular use difficulty category.

                                    Table62: Television Use Difficulty by Disability Type

                                     

                                    Users who are deaf or hard of hearing reported some frustration with closed captioning services. Users complained that captioning should be available on a greater proportion of programs and wished that existing captioning would match audio content more closely. Some remarked that accessibility could be improved by allowing the user to select the size, color, style, and position of the captioning.

                                    Users who are blind reported difficulty in interacting with on-screen menus, using electronic program guides, and understanding some television programming that is not audio described.

                                    Some television accessibility features seem to have been implemented without complete consideration of the needs of users. For example, audio description services often provide descriptions that are not necessary. One user recalled a movie where the sound of a door being slammed was accompanied by a narrator's voice saying that a door was slammed. The slammed door was immediately apparent to the user, so the narrator's audio description was not necessary.

                                    Accessibility solutions must consider the needs of the individual with disabilities.

                                    On-screen menus and electronic program guides are largely inaccessible to people who are blind.

                                    Rapid changes in technology often cause decreases in accessibility.

                                    Satellite television providers rely on on-screen menus for channel selection and device configuration. Many cable providers, as they move toward digital television, also utilize electronic program guides and complex on-screen menus. As a result, some television receivers are becoming less accessible to users who are blind.

                                    Voice Recognition. Users had only limited experience with voice recognition technology. Most users in the focus group who had experiences with natural language voice recognition recalled accuracy problems and difficulties in configuring the software. For these reasons, most considered this technology a last resort, preferring the accuracy and ease of use of the keyboard. Users who are deaf or hard of hearing found many tasks associated with this technology difficult or impossible to complete. Natural language voice recognition software has continued to evolve, and software manufacturers have made great advances in improving the accuracy and efficiency of the voice recognition algorithms; however, users reported a reluctance to purchase additional software.

                                    Users are reluctant to adopt technologies that have proven frustrating in the past.

                                    Voice recognition technology must mature before it will be considered a viable option to replace keyboard input.

                                    Section H: Product Analysis: Breakdown by Disability Groups

                                    This section documents the results of a detailed product line analysis for each of the product lines selected for study. The purpose of this research is to document accessibility issues that prevent people with disabilities from fully accessing the selected products and to document accessibility features that are either currently offered or could be offered by manufacturers.

                                    The accessibility of a given product is based primarily on the determination of access to core features of a product, with some consideration for additional features that enhance the product but which are not necessary for use of the product for its primary purpose. For the purpose of this research, both accessible and universal design features are considered. Accessible design is defined to be the design of products such that they are accessible to people with disabilities without requiring the purchase of additional equipment or specialized training. Universal design, or design for inclusion, is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. A disability is considered any restriction or lack of ability (resulting from an impairment) to perform an activity in the manner or within the range of activity considered normal for a human being.

                                    Under Section 508, when developing, procuring, maintaining, or using electronic and information technology, each federal department or agency, including the United States Postal Service (USPS), shall ensure, unless an undue burden would be imposed, that the E&IT allows, regardless of the type of medium of the technology, that—

                                    • Federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of the information and data by federal employees who do not have disabilities.
                                    • Individuals with disabilities who are members of the public seeking information or services from a federal department or agency have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of the information and data by such members of the public who are not disabled.In general, Section 508 requires that products be available that are—
                                    • Usable without visionUsable with low vision without relying on audioUsable with little or no color perception
                                    • Usable without hearing
                                    • Usable with limited hearing
                                    • Usable with limited manual dexterity, reach, and/or strength
                                    • Usable with time-dependent controls or displays
                                    • Usable without speech Usable with limited cognitive or memory abilities
                                    • Usable with language or learning disabilities
                                    • Available with audio cut-off (private listening)
                                    • Designed to prevent visually induced seizures
                                    • Available with biometric identification/activation bypassing
                                    • Usable with upper-extremity prosthetics
                                    • Hearing aid compatible
                                    • Usable from a wheelchair or similar personal vehicleAlso, Section 508 requires compatibility with peripheral devices and accessibility of information, documentation, labeling, and support provided to customers. Section 508 provides guidelines for software applications and operating systems, Web-based Internet information and applications, telecommunications products, video and multimedia products, self-contained closed products, desktop and portable computers, and functional performance criteria.

                                    Product designers should consider features that facilitate the following capabilities: Users with visual impairments need to be able to identify, differentiate, and operate all controls and displays, without accidentally activating undesired controls; they should be able to detect control activation and outcome; they should not be required to depend on color to differentiate control and display states to successfully use the device. Users who are deaf or hard of hearing need to be able to acquire information via a nonauditory format, detect control activation and outcome, and use assistive listening devices. Users with mobility impairments need to be able to view, reach, and activate all controls and displays; manipulate levers, drawers, panels, and all controls; activate controls without accidentally activating adjacent controls; activate controls with the use of an assistive device; and have sufficient time to enter commands. Finally, users with cognitive disabilities need to be able to understand the controls and displays and have sufficient time to enter commands.

                                    Product Line Assessment Methodology

                                    The product line assessment provides an identification of accessibility issues within each product line and an assessment of accessibility features designed to address specific issues. The assessment of accessibility issues involves the calculation of an "impact score" for each issue and target population. The impact score is an estimation of the effect of a particular accessibility issue on a particular target population. The score is calculated at the task level based on two separate dimensions. The first dimension, task priority, is defined as a measure of task importance. High-priority tasks are those that are essential to the device, and low-priority tasks are defined as those that are not essential or that would not be expected to be performed by the end-user. The second dimension, accessibility, is defined as an estimation of the ability of a user with a given set of functional capabilities and limitations to complete a given task satisfactorily.

                                    Task Priority

                                    Tasks were prioritized based on an estimate of the essential or core features of the device, versus advanced features, product enhancements, and features related to device set-up and maintenance. There are three levels of priority:

                                    • PRIORITY 1—Core functionality
                                    • PRIORITY 2—Secondary functionality
                                    • PRIORITY 3—Set-up of maintenance functionality

                                    Priority 1 tasks must be able to be successfully completed, irrespective of impairment, in order for the product to be usable for all users. An inability to perform a priority 1 task because of an impairment would likely severely limit the accessibility of the product under evaluation for users with that impairment. Priority 2 tasks are secondary tasks that may be performed on an occasional basis to access advanced functionality. The inability to perform a priority 2 task because of an impairment, while not critical to the basic use of the product, may negate the value of advanced features of the product. Priority 3 tasks are tertiary tasks that are not necessarily performed by all users of the device, but must be performable by some operator on occasion. These tasks include initial set-up tasks that are not ordinarily repeated, major troubleshooting tasks, and major maintenance tasks that users are expected to perform, albeit infrequently. The inability to perform a priority 3 task because of an impairment would not affect the basic accessibility of the product unless all users had the same impairment. Maintenance tasks may be associated with any priority level. Some simple maintenance tasks expected to be performed by the end-user, such as charging a cell phone, are judged to be priority level 1. Most maintenance tasks, however, are judged to be priority level 3.

                                    Estimates of Accessibility

                                    Each task was assigned an estimate of accessibility based on empirical observations of similar tasks in the Accessibility Evaluation Facility and expert judgment. Three levels of accessibility were considered:

                                    • Little or no difficulty—Users with a given set of functional limitations are likely to complete the task.
                                    • Some difficulty—Users with a given set of functional limitations will experience some difficulty in completing the task.
                                    • Great difficulty—Users with a given set of functional limitations are not likely to be able to complete the task.

                                    Impact Score Calculation

                                    Accessibility impact score is an indicator of the importance of a given accessibility issue for the overall accessibility of the device. The accessibility impact scale reflects the joint influence of task priority and accessibility level for tasks. Task priority is the strongest component of the impact score. The accessibility impact score for a given task is set by determining the task priority (high, medium, and low) and accessibility level (likely, some difficulty, and unlikely). Table 63 shows the accessibility impact score for each combination of these three values.

                                    Table63: Accessibility Impact Associations

                                     

                                    As is indicated in the table, if a task is likely to be able to be performed despite consideration of a given accessibility issue, the accessibility impact of that issue is judged to be zero, irrespective of the task priority. The highest impact score is defined by a high-priority task that is not likely to be performed by the user with a given impairment because of the given accessibility issue. The lowest impact score is for a low-priority task that can be performed with some difficulty. Between these two extremes, impact scores at a given task-priority level differ by a factor of two for Great Difficulty versus Some Difficulty. For a given accessibility level, impact scores differ for task-priority levels by a factor of four per level. The formula that was used to produce these values is as follows:

                                    I = P * L

                                    Where I = accessibility impact

                                    P = 16 for priority 1 tasks, 4 for priority 2 tasks, and 1 for priority 3 tasks

                                    L = 0 for accessibility level "Little or no Difficulty," 1 for accessibility level "Some Difficulty," and 2 for accessibility level "Great Difficulty"

                                      The overall accessibility grade for a product line is an index of the cumulative impact of all accessibility issues. The accessibility grade is a letter grade on the familiar scale of A, B, C, D, and F. The following definitions are offered for each grade:

                                      A = Excellent accessibility. Users with an impairment are generally able to make full use of the product, with few limitations.

                                      B = Good accessibility. Users with an impairment are able to make good use of the product, but some areas of product functionality are not accessible.

                                      C = Fair accessibility. Users with an impairment can access some of the functionality of the device, but many aspects of product functionality are not accessible.

                                      D = Poor accessibility. Users with an impairment can make use of a small proportion of the functionality of a device, but most aspects of product functionality are not accessible.

                                      F = Accessibility Failure. Users with an impairment are generally not able to use the product.

                                        The accessibility letter grades are assigned as follows:

                                        • A—No impact scores above a 12
                                        • B—One or two impact scores of 48, no impact scores of 96
                                        • C—Three or more impact scores of 48, no impact scores of 96
                                        • D—One or two impact scores of 96
                                        • F—Three or more impact scores of 96

                                        Product Line Assessments

                                        The sections below describe the results of the product line assessments for each of the six product lines: ATMs, cellular phones, distance learning software, PDAs, televisions, and voice recognition software. Each product line section will be organized as follows: background, task-based accessibility analysis, accessibility features, compliance with government regulations, and conclusions.

                                        The task-based accessibility analysis consists of identifying the core functionality (tasks) for the product line; identifying the priority level for each task; and then for each task for each disability type, assigning a task-accessibility estimation. The task accessibility score is derived from expert evaluations, a Georgia Tech survey on universal design, and user testing. The combination of the task-priority levels and the task-accessibility estimation is used to calculate an impact score, which is then used to create an accessibility grade for the product line for each disability type.

                                        ATMs

                                        ATMs allow individuals to make transactions independently and privately without requiring human interaction at times that are convenient for the individual. They are used for banking purposes: making cash withdrawals, making deposits, checking balances, and printing statements. Eventually, they are likely to be used for transactions other than banking, such as purchasing stamps or transit cards. Despite their popularity and their capabilities, ATMs are not available to everyone. People who have a visual disability may have difficulty reading the display and providing accurate inputs. People who have a mobility disability may have difficulty approaching the device, reaching the controls, and reading the display. People who have a cognitive disability may have difficulty reading the display and understanding the options. Each of these challenges can be overcome, to some extent through proper design.

                                        Task-Based Accessibility Analysis

                                        The core functionality considered to be necessary to effectively use an ATM consists of the following:

                                        • Locating an ATM
                                        • Locating an accessible ATM
                                        • Inserting the bank card
                                        • Remembering a PIN
                                        • Entering a PIN
                                        • Making a cash withdrawal
                                        • Making a deposit
                                        • Checking account balances
                                        • Transferring money
                                        • Printing a statement
                                        • Retrieving a receipt
                                        • Retrieving the bank card
                                        • Reading a receipt

                                        People may have difficulty accomplishing these basic tasks, depending on functional limitations resulting in an impairment, environmental or situational factors that create barriers, and the design of the ATM. Accessibility issues for each disability population are identified, along with an impact rating for each issue. The disability populations include people who have an impairment resulting from environmental or situational factors.

                                        Low Vision

                                        Individuals with low vision may be unable to use an ATM or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They cannot read printed materials (receipts) because transaction records are not available in alternative formats or they are not printed with adequate foreground/background contrast. They cannot locate or identify controls, because button labels are small, not all labeling on mechanical buttons has contrast (e.g., recessed labels), auditory/voice output is not available, they cannot read text on the screen (glare, no large print option, or no contrast adjustment), or they have difficulty determining how options map to controls because they are not well aligned. They may have difficulty receiving visual information, because the screen text is small with no large print option, there is no or inadequate contrast adjustment, or auditory/voice output is not available or auditory indicators are not easily differentiable (for retrieval of ATM card, cash, receipt, etc.).

                                        Table 64 lists the tasks identified as important for ATM use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                        Table64: Derivation of Impact for Low-Vision ATM Users

                                         

                                        Individuals who have low vision may have difficulty locating an accessible ATM because the machines are not widespread or they are not available through their banking institutions. They may have difficulty inserting the bank card because they cannot find the slot or are not sure which slot to use. Difficulty for the high-impact tasks of entering a PIN, making a cash withdrawal or deposit, checking account balances, transferring money, and printing a statement may result because of the use of small print, insufficient contrast, or glare. Users with low vision will have difficulty reading the receipt because it is not available in large print and often has poor contrast.

                                        Blind

                                        Individuals who are blind may be unable to use an ATM or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They cannot read printed materials (instruction manuals) because documentation is not available in alternative formats. They cannot locate or identify controls because documentation is not available in alternative formats, Braille is not available on buttons, auditory/voice output is unavailable, there is no nib on the "5" key, or mapping of options is not standardized across ATM devices (for a given bank). They cannot read text on the screen, receive graphics and video information or visual alerts and signals, or verify the transaction because auditory/voice output is unavailable. They have difficulty inserting the ATM card or the deposit envelope because the slots are not differentiable by touch or the proper orientation cannot be determined.

                                        Table 65 lists the tasks identified as important for ATM use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                        Table65: Derivation of Impact for ATM Users Who Are Blind

                                         

                                        Note that this analysis is based on an evaluation of ATMs without talking features. Talking ATMs may greatly improve accessibility for people who are blind. Individuals who are blind may have difficulty locating an accessible ATM because the machines are not widespread or they are not available through their banking institutions. They may have difficulty locating any ATM because the machines are always in different locations at banking institutions and other public facilities. Individuals who are blind may have difficulty making a deposit, transferring money, printing a statement, entering a PIN, making a cash withdrawal, and checking account balances because there is no audio output, they cannot read the screens, and screens vary from one ATM to another, preventing memorization. People who are blind cannot read an ATM receipt because it is only available in print. Those who are blind may have difficulty inserting the bank card because they cannot find the slots or the slots are not differentiated by tactile indicators. Retrieving the receipt and bank card may be difficult because the locations vary by machine and it may take some extra time to feel around the ATM to find the items to retrieve.

                                        Hard of Hearing

                                        Individuals who are hard of hearing may be unable to use an ATM or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They cannot receive acoustic alerts and signals because volume level is not adequately adjustable, alerts for different things are not differentiable by tone or frequency level, or alerts are not available in either a visual or tactile format.

                                        Table 66 lists the tasks identified as important for ATM use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                        Table66: Derivation of Impact for Hard-of-Hearing ATM Users

                                         

                                        Users who are hard of hearing should have little difficulty using an ATM, though they may not benefit from the auditory reminders for bank card and money retrieval.

                                        Deaf

                                        Individuals who are deaf may be unable to use an ATM or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They are unable to receive any auditory information because alerts are not available in either a visual or a tactile format.

                                        Table 67 lists the tasks identified as important for ATM use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                        Table67: Derivation of Impact for ATM Users Who Are Deaf

                                         

                                        Users who are deaf should have little difficulty using an ATM, though they may not benefit from the auditory reminders for bank card and money retrieval.

                                        Upper Mobility

                                        Individuals who have an upper-mobility impairment may be unable to use an ATM or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They have difficulty making inputs because the force required to activate the controls is too great, or voice recognition is not available, or they cannot reach the controls (because inputs are not mapped to the numeric keypad or machine height is not standardized for a given bank). They have difficulty inserting the ATM card or the deposit envelope because of the precision, arm movement, or force required. They have difficulty retrieving transaction items such as envelopes, money, receipts, or ATM cards, because simultaneous actions are required (e.g., lifting envelope lid and removing envelope), the object for retrieval does not protrude enough to grasp, the force required to release the item is too great, or they cannot retrieve the item within the allotted time.

                                        Table 68 lists the tasks identified as important for ATM use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                        Table68: Derivation of Impact for Upper-Mobility Impaired ATM Users

                                         

                                        Users with upper-mobility impairments have difficulty locating accessible ATMs because while there are guidelines, there is no standard height or configuration for placing ATMs. Some, but not all, ATMs allow equivalent inputs via the number pad, and the keys adjacent to the display may be difficult for people with limited reach to access. Talking ATMs may increase the accessibility for some upper-mobility impaired users, but talking ATMs are not widespread and are not available at all banking institutions. Voice display controlled ATMs are typically controlled through the keypad or other simplified control mechanisms. The idea is that the primary beneficiaries of the voice display (those without vision) should have the benefit of a centralized control that is easy to find and use. Users with upper mobility impairment may benefit from the voice display simplified control as well because the controls (typically the keypad) are easier to reach and operate. All other tasks rated a high impact—inserting the bank card, entering a PIN, making a cash withdrawal, making a deposit, checking account balances, transferring money, printing a statement, retrieving a receipt, and retrieving the bank card may be difficult because of the reach requirements and, in some cases, because of the force requirements to activate the controls. Some people with upper-mobility impairments may also have difficulty retrieving items and inserting the bank card because of the need to grasp the items.

                                        Lower Mobility

                                        Users with lower-mobility impairments may be unable to use an ATM or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They have difficulty locating or identifying controls because they cannot read text on the screen (glare or no contrast adjustment), or they have difficulty determining how options map to controls because they are not well aligned or are aligned from the perspective of a standing person. They have difficulty making inputs because they cannot reach the control panel (from a wheelchair or similar device) because of the machine configuration or physical obstacles, or height is not standardized (for a given bank). They cannot receive visual information, because of either glare on the screen or orientation of the screen with respect to their lower perspective.

                                        Table 69 lists the tasks identified as important for ATM use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                        Table69: Derivation of Impact for Lower-Mobility Impaired ATM Users

                                         

                                        Users with lower-mobility impairments have difficulty locating accessible ATMs because, although there are guidelines, there is no standard height or configuration for placing ATMs. Not all ATMs have knee space for seated individuals. While an ATM itself may be within the height guidelines, the height of the controls and display vary across machines and may be too high to reach or see from a seated position. Glare is a problem for many people in a seated position, as is determination of alignment of menu options with controls. The remaining high impact tasks—inserting the bank card, entering a PIN, making a cash withdrawal, making a deposit, checking account balances, transferring money, printing a statement, retrieving a receipt, and retrieving the bank card—may all be difficult because of reach limitations.

                                        Cognitive

                                        Users with cognitive disabilities may be unable to use an ATM or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They may have trouble reading text or interpreting graphics presented on the screen, either because the graphical metaphors or the language is too complex, or because verbal output is unavailable. They may have difficulty entering information because they do not understand how the options map to the controls.

                                        Table 70 lists the tasks identified as important for ATM use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                        Table70: Derivation of Impact for ATM Users Who Have a Cognitive Disability

                                         

                                        Individuals who have a cognitive disability may have difficulty remembering a PIN because of reduced memory function or confusion of one PIN with another security code they may need to use. They may have difficulty making a cash withdrawal or deposit, checking account balances, transferring money, or printing a statement because of limited reading ability and comprehension or lack of clarity in instructions or menu options.

                                        Accessibility Features

                                        A review of various ATM manufacturers' marketing data identified a number of features identified as accessible design components. Each of these components is listed, along with a description of the component and an assessment of the usefulness of the feature for disability groups. Some of these features may have been designed with a particular disability population in mind; others may have been designed simply as desirable features. In many cases, the accessibility features benefit or are used by a variety of people, and they may be considered to provide universal access.

                                        Large, sunlight-readable color display: ATM displays can be very difficult for the average person to use simply because of lighting issues, natural or otherwise. Sunlight often creates glare on electronics displays, sometimes making it impossible to even discern that any text appears on the display. In some cases this can be overcome by shifting the viewing orientation, but this is not an option for all people. These sunlight-readable displays can increase accessibility by preventing glare. With the exception of people who are blind, this will have a medium impact for all users and will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                        Touchscreen displays: Touchscreens allow the manufacturer to present a dynamic display, providing more information in less space. Touchscreens can be designed with large, high-contrast buttons or icons, which can provide an alternative solution for those with partial visual impairment or with motor disabilities. Selection via large touch areas on the screen may be preferable to some users as an alternative to keyboard or function-key input. Additionally, for users with complete vision loss, touchscreen functions can be mapped—or directed—down to the tactile keyboard. But unless the functions are mapped in this way, or an alternate audio interface is provided, touchscreens are not accessible to people who are blind. If implemented in design, touchscreens will have a high negative impact for people who are blind, unless keyboard mapping or an alternative audio interface is also provided, in which case they will have no impact. They will have a medium impact for those with low vision and mobility impairments if implemented with large touch areas and text or graphics. If good graphical metaphors are used, touchscreens will have a medium positive impact for people who have a cognitive disability. It will help solve the issue of making inputs and possibly of receiving and interpreting visual information.

                                        Talking ATM: A talking ATM is one with voice displays. Talking ATMs are useful in circumstances in which it is difficult to read the text display because of a visual impairment, low reading ability, significant glare on the screen, or possibly having to view the screen from a seated position. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those who are blind, a medium impact for those with low vision or cognitive disability, and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of receiving and interpreting visual information.

                                        Private headphone jacks for talking ATMs: Voice instructions can be provided publicly or privately through use of headphones. Voice instructions can help guide the user through the transaction and provide information such as feedback on keypress entries and account balance (things that would typically be presented visually). This would allow a person who is blind to perform an ATM transaction independently; however, it is likely that audio feedback would not be available for PIN entry for security reasons, which would probably only inconvenience the user and not prevent use of the ATM. Implementation in design will have a high impact for people who are blind, a medium positive impact for users with low vision, and a neutral impact for other users. Choice of private audio will help solve the issues of not being able to receive visual information.

                                        Mapping of the function keys to the keypad: This is a software feature that allows the function keys that are at the side of the ATM display to be mapped, or directed, down to the keyboard. This means that the user can perform the entire transaction from the keyboard, which minimizes the extent a user has to stretch to reach the keys. It also assists people who are blind by providing a more familiar key layout to use for input. Function key mapping will have a medium impact for people who are blind and people who have upper- or lower-mobility impairments, and a neutral impact for all others. It will help solve the issues of not being able to locate or identify controls and not being able to make inputs.

                                        Raised tactile symbols: Raised tactile symbols help those with visual impairments, particularly people who are blind, distinguish keys that most people differentiate through a text label or graphic. In some cases, these symbols may include a Braille keypad, though Braille proficiency is not widespread. Other alternatives include protruding key tips, which enable the visually impaired to feel the edge of individual keys and so determine the end of one key and the start of another, and increased character size, to assist those with visual impairments. Implementation in design will have a neutral impact for most users, but a medium impact for those who are vision impaired. It will help solve the issue of not being able to locate and identify controls.

                                        Raised area (nib) on the "5" key: A nib is a raised area that serves to help users identify the location of the center of the keypad. Given a standard telephone keypad layout with the addition of nonnumeric keys, the nib helps the user (particularly the user with a visual impairment) to find the "5" key, from which the remaining numeric keys can be easily identified. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for users who are blind, a medium impact for those with low vision, and a neutral impact for other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to locate and identify controls.

                                        Keys on the keypad that are discernible by touch: Tactile separators typically provide either raised or indented spaces between controls to assist in tactile differentiation of numeric keys from other keys. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those who are blind, a medium impact for those with upper-mobility impairments, and a low impact for all others. It will help solve the issue of not being able to locate and identify controls and not being able to make accurate inputs.

                                        Tactile feedback keypad: Tactile feedback results from the keys springing back to position once pressed, indicating that a key has been pressed and input accepted. Touchscreens, for example, do not have tactile feedback. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for people who are blind, a medium positive impact for those with low vision, and a low impact for other users.

                                        User-controllable playback speed: User-controllable speed allows the user to make adjustments to auditory output to meet information processing needs. Visual output tends to be available until the next selection is made, but auditory output is temporal, and user-control allows review of information as needed. This is particularly beneficial to people who are blind and perhaps some users with low vision or cognitive disabilities. Implementation in design will have a medium positive impact for people who are blind and a low impact for other users. It will help solve the issue of difficulty receiving auditory information.

                                        User-controllable volume: Volume control allows the user to make adjustments to auditory output to meet sound level needs, particularly in noisy environments. This is particularly beneficial to the hard of hearing. Implementation in design will have a high positive impact for the hard of hearing and a low impact for other users. It will help solve the issue of difficulty receiving auditory information.

                                        Visual alerts: Visual alerts may be in the form of a change in text display or a light. They serve as an alternative or supplement to vibrating and auditory alerts. Visual indicators are particularly beneficial for the hearing impaired. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for users who are deaf, a medium impact for those who are hard of hearing, and a low impact for all others. They will help solve the issue of not being able to receive auditory information.

                                        Pause control for talking ATMs: Pause control allows the user to pause the verbal output from the device. This is helpful by giving someone time to write something down or to think about what option might be desired. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for users who are blind and a low impact for all other users. Pause control will help solve the issue of not being able to read text on the screen.

                                        Replay control for talking ATMs: Replay control allows the user to listen to a message more than once. This is helpful if the voice output was not understood or could not be heard over environmental sounds. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for users who are blind and hard-of-hearing users and a low impact for all other users. Pause control will help solve the issue of not being able to read text on the screen.

                                        Voice recognition for talking ATMs: Voice recognition provides the capability for a user to use his or her voice to make inputs to the device. This is useful particularly for those who cannot physically activate the controls or who cannot tactilely differentiate the controls to know, for example, which button to press. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for users who are blind, a medium impact for users with low vision and upper-mobility impairments, and a low impact for all others. Voice recognition will help solve the issues of not being able to locate, identify, and activate the controls.

                                        ATMs that can be controlled by a cell phone or PDA: External control of the ATM allows individuals to use their own personal device, which is accessible to them, to interact with an ATM that may not be accessible for a particular disability type. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for users who are blind, have low vision, or have an upper-mobility impairment and a low impact for all other users. PDA or cell phone control will help solve the issues of not being able to read text on the screen or to locate, identify, and activate the controls.

                                        Large keys for the keypad: Large keys on the keypad increase the ability to accurately press the desired key without inadvertently pressing any adjacent keys. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for those who are blind, have low vision, or have poor fine motor control and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of having difficulty making accurate inputs.

                                        Large fonts on the display: Large fonts on the display increase the text size for circumstances in which small text is difficult to read. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those with low vision, a low impact for users who are blind, and a medium impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to read text on the screen.

                                        Large display screens: Large display screens reduce screen clutter and increase the space available for larger text and graphics. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for low vision users and a low impact for all others. It will help solve the issue of not being able to read text on the screen.

                                        High-contrast displays: High contrast provides the option for users to adjust the color or brightness of the foreground and background colors so that the text stands out from the background, increasing readability. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those with low vision and most users under very bright-or low-light conditions. It will have a low impact for other disability populations. High contrast will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                        Ability to request additional time: Ability to request additional time allows the user to complete a transaction despite the need to use more than the normal amount of allotted time to complete individual transaction components. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for most users, depending on the output mode (visual or auditory) from the device. Additional time will help solve the issues of not being able to receive visual or auditory information, not being able to reach controls, and not being able to grasp objects.

                                        Graphical instructions: When good metaphors are used and display resolution is sufficient, graphical instructions may be easier to see than text instructions, particularly if the font size for text is small. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for those who have low vision and a low impact for all other users. Graphical instructions will help solve the issue of not being able to read text on the screen.

                                        Text equivalents for auditory information: Text equivalents are a means of providing redundant information so that someone who has difficulty with one sense (in this case, hearing) has an alternative method of obtaining the information being provided (in this case, through eyesight). Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those who are deaf or hard of hearing and a low impact for all other users. Text equivalents will help solve the issue of not being able to receive auditory information.

                                        Detachable controls: Detachable controls provide the option for individuals to place the control panel in their lap, for example, limiting the amount of reach required to activate the control, increasing the ability to have the hand and arm supported, and possibly making the difference between being able to use the device or not. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those with those with a lower-mobility impairment or any user operating the ATM while seated in a wheelchair, and a low impact for all other users. Detachable controls will help solve the issue of not being able to reach the controls from a seated position.

                                        More space between keys on the keypad: More space between the keys increases the ability to differentiate the keys by touch and to accurately press the desired key without inadvertently pressing any adjacent keys. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for those who are blind, have low vision, or have an upper-mobility impairment and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of having difficulty locating controls and making accurate inputs.

                                        Concave keys on the keypads: Concave or curved-inward keys help prevent fingers from slipping off the keys, which often results in inadvertent activation of adjacent keys. This type of key also increases the ability to differentiate the keys from each other and from the surrounding area on the device. Inclusion in design will have a medium to high impact for users who are blind, have low vision, or have an upper-mobility impairment and a low impact for all other users. Concave keys will help solve the issue of locating controls and making accurate inputs.

                                        Keys that may be operated without human contact: Some individuals use pointing devices or other mechanisms to help them reach or activate controls. However, some electronic devices require some kind of moisture content or heat (characteristics of touch) to activate the controls; these electronic devices cannot be used by someone who needs to use an alternative input device. Controls that are operable without physical human contact will have a high impact for someone with an upper-mobility impairment and a low impact for all other users.

                                        Rubberized keys: Rubberized keys help prevent fingers from slipping off the keys, which often results in inadvertent activation of adjacent keys. Textured keys also help the user differentiate the key itself from the surface of the device, particularly if the keys are not raised sufficiently. Inclusion in design will have a medium to high impact for users who are blind, have low vision, or have an upper mobility impairment and a low impact for all other users. Concave keys will help solve the issue of locating controls and making accurate inputs.

                                          Additional features that may enhance accessibility include the following:

                                          Type of card reader—swipe, dip, or motorized: Card readers are typically accompanied by tactile indicators and flashing lights to assist in card insertion. People with different capabilities may benefit more from one type of reader versus another. For example, a vertical card swipe may be difficult to operate for someone with limited reach. It may be difficult for users without fine motor control to retrieve a fully inserted card (dip card reader) from the device. Users who are blind may have difficulty finding the card reader or determining the proper orientation of the card. Implementation of a certain style will have a high impact for users who are blind or have upper-mobility impairments. Use of a motorized reader or a horizontal swipe with tactile cues will help solve the issue of having difficulty inserting the ATM card into the machine.

                                          Customer telephone: This can be used to acquire human input if there are customer difficulties using the ATM. A customer telephone will have a low impact for all users. It can help solve the issues of not being able to receive visual information or not being able to locate and identify controls.

                                          Digital video camera: This can be used in conjunction with the customer telephone to provide the customer service representative with a visual of the customer's difficulty. A digital video camera will have a low impact for all users. This can help solve the issues of not being able to receive visual information or not being able to locate and identify controls.

                                          Multilingual capabilities: Multilingual capabilities will assist those who have difficulty with the native language. This will have a medium impact for users with cognitive disabilities and may help solve the issue of not being able to interpret visual information.

                                          LED indicators: LEDs provide a visual indication of status information or they may provide guidance on what to select next or where to insert an object. They serve as an alternative or supplement to vibrating and auditory alerts. Visual indicators are particularly beneficial for the hearing impaired. LED indicators will have a low impact for all users and will help solve the issue of not being able to receive auditory output.

                                          User manuals in alternate formats: Alternate formats consist of large print, Braille, and audio. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for users who are blind or have low vision and a neutral impact for other disability populations. It will help solve the issues of not being able to read or handle printed materials.

                                            Compliance with Government Regulations

                                            The primary parts of Section 508 that are applicable to ATMs address self-contained, closed products (1194.25); functional performance requirements (1194.31); and documentation (1194.41). Many of these regulations have an impact on all users; others have a larger impact on one disability group versus another. More specifically, the regulations that mostly impact users who are blind address issues such as availability of visual information through an alternative sense (i.e., touch or sound), tactilely discernible controls, and voice output. The regulations that mostly impact users with low vision address the issues of font size, audio output, and color and contrast settings. The regulation that mostly impacts users who have a cognitive disability addresses the issue of providing text equivalents for graphical or other nontext elements. The regulations that mostly impact users with upper-mobility impairments address the issues of multiple key entry for a single button press, requirements for grasping and simultaneous input, and force requirements. The regulations that mostly impact users who are deaf or hard of hearing address volume control and sound level output.

                                            The following Section 508 regulations are seen as issues for ATMs:

                                            • Verify that all controls and keys are tactilely discernible without activating the controls or keys. Some ATMs only use touchscreens, which are counter to this regulation.
                                            • Verify that at least one mode of operation and information retrieval is provided that does not require user vision or, alternatively, that support is provided for assistive technology used by people who are blind or visually impaired. The majority of ATM information is provided through a text display, which cannot be seen by a user who is blind.
                                            • At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require visual acuity greater than 20/70 must be provided in audio and enlarged print output working together or independently, or support for assistive technology used by people who are visually impaired must be provided. ATMs do not always provide voice output, and they use fonts smaller than 14 points, which is inadequate for someone with low vision.
                                            • At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require fine motor control or simultaneous actions and that is operable with limited reach and strength must be provided. ATMs are often mounted at a height that is difficult or impossible to access for people in a seated position. The level of the display and control panel varies from one ATM to the next, and some are better suited to individuals in wheelchairs than others.

                                            Conclusions

                                            Based on the normalized impact score data, the calculated accessibility grade for each target population is described in Table 71.

                                            Table71: Accessibility Grade by Target Population for ATMs

                                            Cell Phones

                                            Cell phones allow individuals to keep in contact with friends, family, and business associates. They provide a communication option in case of an emergency. People truly enjoy their portability, and for many people, cell phones have become indispensable. Despite their popularity and their capabilities, though, cell phones are not accessible to everyone. There are limitations that make cell phones either inaccessible or difficult to use (and therefore, possibly, undesirable). People who have a visual disability may have the most difficulty reading the display and accessing visual information. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may have difficulty carrying on a verbal conversation and detecting auditory alerts. People who have a mobility disability may have difficulty making accurate inputs and simultaneously handling the phone and manipulating the controls. People who have a cognitive disability may have difficulty understanding metaphors that are used and remembering how to access information. Each of these challenges can be overcome, to some extent, through proper design.

                                            Background

                                            Digital cellular telephone service is growing rapidly in the United States because of the advantages it offers over older analog service. Digital service allows for more users, less expensive service, higher sound quality, more features, and better security. There are different types of digital cellular technology, including code-division multiple access (CDMA) and several varieties of time-division multiple access (TDMA), global system for multiple communications (GSM), and integrated digital enhanced network (iDen). The particular type of digital technology in use varies by service provider.

                                            The introduction of digital cellular telephone service in the mid-1990s also introduced a new access barrier for people who wear hearing aids. Analog systems work fairly well with teletype devices (TTYs). Some phones have built in modular jacks into which a TTY can be plugged; other phones can be used with an adaptor. Initially, digital systems did not work well with TTYs. Digital wireless transmissions inherently contain errors, but error correction techniques can reduce the problem for speech. Digital networks are less forgiving in the case of the tones generated by TTY devices, however, and the transmission errors can cause characters to be lost or changed, resulting in unintelligible messages.

                                            When digital cellular telephones are in close proximity to hearing aids, interference may be heard through the hearing aid. The interference may be perceived as a buzzing, humming, or squealing inside the hearing aid. This interference does not occur with all combinations of telephone, hearing aid, and cellular service; but when it does occur, it can make use of the telephone annoying, difficult, or impossible. In general, older, larger hearing aids are more susceptible to interference than newer models. Studies have shown that a distance of one to two feet between the phone and the hearing aid will reduce or eliminate the interference in most cases.

                                            The electromagnetic field surrounding the antenna of the telephone is the primary source of interference. Moving the antenna farther from the hearing aid may reduce or eliminate interference. The loudness of the interference also depends on the power of the transmission, which in turn varies based on the distance from the telephone to the cellular base station. "Flip phone" designs may reduce interference by placing the antenna farther from the hearing aid and by shielding the hearing aid from the antenna. But the antenna is not the only source of interference; internal telephone electronics, such as the back light on the screen, can also cause interference.

                                            Possible solutions from the cellular industry may include reducing the required transmission power by adding more base stations, improving antenna technology and shielding the telephone, and providing accessories like neckloops that induce sound into the T-coil of hearing aids without requiring proximity of the telephone to the hearing aid.

                                            Possible solutions from the hearing aid industry include increased shielding of hearing aids and modification of the circuitry and design of hearing aids to minimize interference.

                                            Digital Cell Phone Compatibility with TTY

                                            In 1996, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a requirement that wireless carriers be capable of connecting 911 calls over a digital wireless network for callers using a TTY. The deadline for compliance was subsequently extended repeatedly as various wireless carriers worked to provide a solution.

                                            Since September 1997, the TTY Forum (sponsored by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions, or ATIS) has worked to develop technically feasible solutions that will enable TTY users to make TTY calls over digital wireless systems. The TTY Forum is composed of various stakeholders, including wireless carriers, wireless handset manufacturers, wireless infrastructure manufacturers, manufacturers of TTYs, 911 and telecommunications relay service providers, and consumer organizations representing people with hearing and speech disabilities.

                                            In January 2000, Lucent Technologies announced a solution for TTY access using digital cellular telephones. The solution was developed by the Bell Labs Speech and Audio Processing Technologies group and involves upgrading software both in the network and in the handset. The solution involves detecting the TTY characters being sent and repeatedly transmitting those characters to the receiving end, allowing the receiving end to correctly regenerate the tones corresponding to the characters.

                                            At its meeting on June 4, 2002, the TTY Forum announced that many wireless service providers were prepared to meet the FCC's June 30, 2002, deadline for TTY compatibility, and that testing had shown that digital wireless TTY consistently performed better than TTY over analog circuits. To enable the TTY calls over digital voice channels, digital wireless handsets and networks had to be redesigned to accommodate the speed and tone of TTY Baudot signals. Numerous problems had to be overcome, including setting standards for the interface between TTY devices and digital wireless mobile phones operating with several different digital standards.

                                            However, while wireless TTY compatibility services work well for nonemergency communication, at the time of the announcement there were some remaining issues for emergency situations. Wireless 911 TTY calls may suffer high character error rates when received by some public service answering points (PSAPs). Test results from the ATIS-sponsored TTY Technical Standards Implementation Incubator show that the problem encountered may be related to older and nonstandardized TTY equipment or software used by some PSAPs. The wireless telecommunications industry has performed due diligence to ensure that the digital network will be capable of transmitting TTY calls by the June 30, 2002, deadline and is committed to continue to work to provide access to 911 for their customers using TTYs. There is some indication that wireless networks now support digital TTY with compatible phones, but this cannot be verified since it is illegal to test 911 services. A number of carriers petitioned the FCC for an extension to the 911 requirements.

                                            Hearing Aid Compatibility with Cellular Telephones

                                            The Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988 (HAC Act) required the FCC to ensure that all telephones manufactured or imported for use in the United States after August 1989, and all "essential" telephones, were hearing aid compatible. Secure telephones and mobile telephones were exempt from the HAC Act, however.

                                            In November 2001, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to reexamine the exemption of mobile phones from the requirements of the HAC Act. On August 14, 2003, the FCC released a Report and Order modifying the exemption for wireless phones under the HAC Act to require that digital wireless phones be capable of being effectively used with hearing aids.

                                            The FCC ruling requires digital wireless phone manufacturers to make available within two years at least two HAC-compliant handsets with reduced radio frequency (RF) emissions for each air interface (e.g., CDMA, TDMA, and GSM) it offers. It also requires each carrier providing digital wireless services, except for nationwide (Tier I) wireless carriers, to make available to consumers within two years at least two HAC-compliant handset models with reduced RF emissions for each air interface it offers.

                                            Nationwide (Tier I) wireless carriers must offer within two years two HAC-compliant handset models with reduced RF emissions for each air interface it employs, or ensure that one quarter of its total handset models are HAC-compliant with reduced RF emissions within two years, whichever option yields a greater number of handsets.

                                            Digital wireless phone manufacturers must make available to carriers within three years at least two HAC-compliant models with telecoil coupling for each air interface it produces, and each carrier providing digital wireless access must make available to consumers within three years at least two HAC-compliant handset models with telecoil coupling for each air interface it offers.

                                            Further, one-half of all digital wireless phone models offered by a digital wireless manufacturer or carrier must be compliant with the reduced RF emissions requirements by February 18, 2008, and manufacturers must label packages containing compliant handsets and must make information available in the package or product manual. Service providers must make available to consumers the performance ratings of compliant phones.

                                            In addition, the FCC established an exemption for digital wireless manufacturers and carriers that offer a minimal number of handset models. The FCC encourages digital wireless phone manufacturers and service providers to offer at least one compliant handset that is a lower-priced model and one that has higher-end features, and encourages hearing aid manufacturers to label their precustomization products according to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard.

                                            On September 5, 2003, ATIS established its Hearing Aid Compatibility Incubator. The ATIS HAC incubator consists of a diverse mix of wireless service providers, wireless manufacturers, hearing aid manufacturers, and other parties. The mission of the HAC incubator is to investigate performance between hearing aids and wireless devices to determine methods of enhancing interoperability and usability for consumers with hearing aids.

                                            On October 1, 2003, DAMAX, a manufacturer of cellular telephone antennas, announced a line of directional antennas that show promise in improving the hearing aid compatibility of existing handsets.

                                            Task-Based Accessibility Analysis

                                            The core functionality considered to be necessary to effectively use a cell phone consists of the following:

                                            • Locating the cell phone
                                            • Identifying the current state of the phone: on or off
                                            • Turning the phone on and off
                                            • Locking the phone
                                            • Unlocking the phone
                                            • Dialing numbers on the keypad
                                            • Storing a phone number
                                            • Recalling a stored phone number
                                            • Receiving a phone call
                                            • Receiving caller-ID information
                                            • Accessing voice mail
                                            • Attaching a headset
                                            • Using a headset
                                            • Determining battery status
                                            • Determining signal strength
                                            • Detecting when the phone is in roam mode
                                            • Receiving a text message
                                            • Sending a text message
                                            • Charging the phone

                                            Additional functionality that is typically inherent in cell phone design includes the following:

                                            • Using a calculator
                                            • Playing games

                                            People may have difficulty accomplishing these basic tasks, depending on functional limitations resulting in an impairment, environmental or situational factors that create barriers, and the design of the phone. Accessibility issues for each disability population are identified, along with an impact rating for each issue. The disability populations include people who have an impairment resulting from environmental or situational factors.

                                            Low Vision

                                            Individuals with low vision may be unable to use a cell phone or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They cannot read printed materials (instruction manuals) because documentation is not available in alternative formats. They cannot locate or identify controls because documentation is not available in alternative formats, button labels are small, not all labeling on mechanical buttons has contrast (e.g., recessed labels), auditory/voice output is not available, or they cannot read text on the screen (no large print option or no contrast adjustment). They may have difficulty receiving visual information because the screen and text are small with no large print option, there is no or inadequate contrast adjustment, or auditory/voice output is not available.

                                            Table 72 lists the tasks identified as important for cell phone use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                            Table72: Derivation of Impact for Low-Vision Cell Phone Users

                                             

                                            Users with low vision may have difficulty locking and unlocking the phone because of difficulty reading the display and/or difficulty finding the keys. They tend to rely on their vision, in some cases more than necessary, and as a result may have difficulty reading key labels and finding keys to dial the phone. They may have difficulty receiving caller-ID information or recalling a stored phone number because of the small font size on the display. Users with low vision may have difficulty accessing voice mail because of the difficulty in navigating on-screen menus, particularly those with smaller fonts. Difficulty attaching a headset may result from trouble finding the headset port or aligning connectors. They may have difficulty determining battery status and signal strength because the visual indicators may be small and difficult to perceive. Often small changes in the visual representation of status indicate significant change. Unfortunately, users with low vision may have difficulty perceiving the small changes in the visual appearance of the icons. The same is true for detecting when the phone is in roam mode.

                                            Blind

                                            Individuals who are blind may be unable to use a cell phone or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They cannot read printed materials (instruction manuals) because documentation is not available in alternative formats. They cannot locate or identify controls because documentation is not available in alternative formats, auditory/voice output is unavailable, or there is no nib on the "5" key. They cannot read text on the screen or receive graphics and video information or visual alerts and signals because auditory/voice output is unavailable.

                                            Table 73 lists the tasks identified as important for cell phone use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                            Table73: Derivation of Impact for Cell Phone Users Who Are Blind

                                             

                                            Users who are blind may have difficulty locking and unlocking the phone because of the inability to read the display and/or difficulty finding the keys. They cannot read key labels and may have difficulty finding keys to dial the phone. They may have difficulty receiving caller-ID information or recalling a stored phone number because of the inability to read the display. Users who are blind may have difficulty accessing voice mail because of the difficulty in navigating on-screen menus. Difficulty attaching a headset may result from trouble finding the headset port or aligning connectors. They may have difficulty determining battery status and signal strength because that information is only presented visually. The same is true for detecting when the phone is in roam mode.

                                            Hard of Hearing

                                            Individuals who are hard of hearing may be unable to use a cell phone or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They cannot receive acoustic (verbal) information or understand speech information because TTY compatibility is unavailable, volume level is not adequately adjustable, or the device is incompatible with hearing aids and other assistive mechanisms. They cannot receive acoustic alerts and signals because volume level is not adequately adjustable, frequency ranges for ringer and tone options are unavailable, or alerts are not available in either a visual or tactile format.

                                            Table 74 lists the tasks identified as important for cell phone use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                            Table74: Derivation of Impact for Hard-of-Hearing Cell Phone Users

                                             

                                            Individuals who are hard of hearing may have difficulty locating the phone because of an inability to localize the sound and determine the direction from which the ring is coming. Receiving a phone call is difficult because they may not hear the phone ring or may not be able to differentiate the ringing phone from other background noises. They may have difficulty accessing voice mail because of insufficient volume or lack of clarity in the voice mail messages. Users who are hard of hearing may not perceive the low battery audio indicator when a call is in progress. Similarly, users may not be able to detect when a signal has faded and they are no longer connected without referring to the display screen. Not all hearing aids are compatible with headsets or loopsets, and not all cell phones are hearing aid compatible.

                                            Deaf

                                            Individuals who are deaf may be unable to use a cell phone or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They are unable to receive any auditory information because TTY compatibility is unavailable, speech-to-text conversion is unavailable, or incoming-call notification and other alerts are not available in either a visual or a tactile format. Text devices greatly enhance the communications capability of the community of people who are deaf. One popular device is the Sidekick, which is a text-based device that is also a cell phone. The Sidekick offers many of the features of a typical cell phone as well as additional functionality more common to a PDA. Communications functions of the Sidekick include text messaging, email, chat, and instant messaging.

                                            Table 75 lists the tasks identified as important for cell phone use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                            Table75: Derivation of Impact for Cell Phone Users Who Are Deaf

                                             

                                            Individuals who are deaf are unlikely to be able to access voice mail unless it is translated into text. They may not be able to receive a call unless the phone is TTY compatible. Users who are deaf may have difficulty detecting that the phone is ringing unless the ring is accompanied by vibration or flashing.

                                            Upper Mobility

                                            Individuals who have an upper-mobility impairment may be unable to use a cell phone or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They have difficulty handling printed materials (instruction manuals). They cannot lift or hold the device because it is too heavy, awkward in size, or difficult to grasp because of shape or lack of detents or rubbery material; this is particularly problematic when they must also manipulate the device. They have difficulty making inputs (via a pointing device, keyboard, dial, or other mechanical control mechanism), particularly accurate inputs, because the controls are too close together or too small, or the force required to activate the controls is too great, key-entry requirements are not minimized, or voice recognition is not available.

                                            Table 76 lists the tasks identified as important for cell phone use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                            Table76: Derivation of Impact for Upper-Mobility Impaired Cell Phone Users

                                             

                                            Small controls that are close together, particularly if they have a slippery texture, may cause difficulties for people with upper-mobility impairments when turning the phone on and off, locking and unlocking the phone, dialing numbers on the keypad, recalling a stored phone number, and accessing voice mail. In some cases, typically with the power button, the control requires too much force or extended pressure to activate for some people with upper-mobility impairments. They may have difficulty receiving a phone call because of their inability to quickly access the phone and press the answer button, particularly without a hands-free feature. They may have difficulty attaching a headset and charging the phone because of nonstandard connectors that require pinching or two-handed operation, or ports that have plugs that must be manipulated before and while attaching the headset or charger. Some users with upper-mobility impairments may be unable to lift their arms up to attach a headset.

                                            Lower Mobility

                                            Users with lower-mobility impairments should have no difficulties using a cell phone as a result of their disability, unless they have multiple disabilities.

                                            Table 77 lists the tasks identified as important for cell phone use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                            Table77: Derivation of Impact for Lower-Mobility Impaired Cell Phone Users

                                            Cognitive

                                            Users with cognitive disabilities may be unable to use a cell phone or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They may have trouble responding with an input in the allotted amount of time, possibly because the time provided is too short; the input mechanism is difficult to use; or the menu structures are too complex, in terms of the language or graphical metaphors used or the navigation required. They may have trouble reading text or interpreting graphics presented on the screen, because the graphical metaphors or the language are too complex and verbal output is unavailable. They may have trouble finding desired features because the menu structures, language, or graphical metaphors are too complex. They may have difficulty entering information because they cannot spell to make text inputs or do not understand how to use an input device.

                                            Table 78 lists the tasks identified as important for cell phone use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                            Table78: Derivation of Impact for Cell Phone Users Who Have a Cognitive Disability

                                             

                                            Individuals who have cognitive disabilities may have difficulty locking and unlocking the phone, recalling a stored phone number, and accessing voice mail because they cannot remember the commands or sequence of operations, or the instructions or menu options may be unclear. They may have difficulty detecting when the phone is in roam mode because the icon is difficult to interpret or they do not remember what the icon means.

                                            Accessibility Features

                                            A review of various cell phone manufacturers' marketing data found a number of features identified as accessible design components. Each of these components is listed, along with a description of the component and an assessment of the usefulness of the feature for disability groups. Some of these features may have been designed with a particular disability population in mind; others may have been designed simply as desirable features. In many cases, the accessibility features benefit or are used by a variety of people, and they may be considered to enhance universal access.

                                            Loopsets for hearing aids: A loopset is an accessory that increases clarity and reduces background noise when translating from sound over the telephone line to a hearing aid device. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for users who are hard of hearing and who use T-coil equipped hearing aids and will help solve the issue of not being able to receive verbal information. Availability of loopsets will have no impact for other disability populations.

                                            Voice dialing: Voice dialing provides users with the option to speak the name of the person they want to call rather than using numeric dialing or accessing a name from the directory. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for people who are blind and a medium positive impact for users with low vision and upper-mobility impairments. It will have a low impact for other disability groups. All users (except perhaps the speech impaired) may find the feature useful; but it is not likely to increase accessibility under general circumstances, though it will in some situational contexts in which the user's hands are unavailable. This is an example of a feature that is nearly universally usable, but it should not replace traditional dialing methods; voice dialing may be problematic for people without speech, people with laryngitis, or people in noisy environments. Voice dialing will help solve the issues of not being able to locate or identify controls and not being able to make accurate inputs.

                                            Adjustable contrast: Adjustable contrast provides the option for users to adjust the color or brightness of the foreground and background colors on the display screen to increase clarity and readability. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those with low vision and most users under very bright- or low-light conditions. It will have a low impact for other disability populations. Adjustable contrast will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                            Roller key: The roller key provides an alternative to successive button presses, allowing the user to slide the thumb or finger over a roller in order to scroll through contents on a screen. This is an example of a feature that is nearly universally usable, but it should not replace traditional navigation methods. Inclusion in design will have a low impact for all disability groups.

                                            User manuals in alternate formats: Alternate formats consist of large print, Braille, and audio. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those who are blind or have low vision and a neutral impact for other disability populations. It will help solve the issues of not being able to read or handle printed materials.

                                            One-touch dialing: One touch dialing provides the option to map phonebook entries to numeric keys; once programmed, the key can be held for an extended period of time to dial the number rather than dialing it in full or navigating through the phonebook. This is a desirable feature for all people, regardless of disability. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for people with upper-mobility impairments (if they can sustain the key press) and visual impairments and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issues of locating or identifying controls and making accurate inputs.

                                            Customized ring tones/alerts: Ring-tone options provide the user with a choice of the ring sound that is heard when there is an incoming call. In some cases, the phone can be set to ring differently for different callers. Customized alerts provide the user with a choice of the sound or tone that is heard when different alerts (e.g., reminders) are triggered. This user profiling is particularly useful for individuals who are blind who may not otherwise be able to determine the source of an incoming call, and inclusion in design will have a medium high positive impact. Some ring tones may be more perceptible than others for the hard of hearing, and inclusion of ring-tone options in design will have a medium impact for this group; it will help solve the issue of not being able to receive acoustic alerts and signals. While inclusion for other disability groups does not impact accessibility, ring-tone options are a highly desirable feature. Different ring tones also help users distinguish their cell phone ring from someone else's.

                                            Text-based functionality: Similar to sending email, text messaging via cell phone provides a mobile communication mechanism and has become highly popular. It allows individuals to communicate in environments in which verbal conversations are inappropriate or in which the environment is noisy. It is particularly beneficial for the hearing impaired, who may not be able to hold a verbal conversation. Cell phones with text messaging and dedicated text-messaging devices are very popular among users who are hearing impaired. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for the hearing impaired and low impact for other population groups (higher, depending on the environment in which they use the cell phone). Text messaging is a somewhat slower communication method, and it is difficult to share and perceive emotion accurately from text messaging. Text messaging will help solve the issue of not being able to receive auditory information by providing a viable alternative.

                                            Vibrating alerts and visual indicators: Vibrating alerts are an alternative to auditory alerts. Vibrating alerts are valuable for all users in various situational contexts, such as a business meeting, but they really enhance accessibility for the hearing impaired and deaf, who may not otherwise be able to detect an incoming call. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for users who are deaf, a medium impact for users who are hard of hearing, and a low impact for all other users. Vibrating alerts will help solve the issue of not being able to receive auditory information. Visual indicators may be in the form of a change in text display or a light. They serve as an alternative or supplement to vibrating and auditory alerts. Visual indicators are particularly beneficial for the hearing impaired. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for users who are deaf, a medium impact for those who are hard of hearing, and a low impact for all others. Visual indicators will help solve the issue of not being able to receive auditory information.

                                            Cradle that attaches to mobility aid: A mobile holder is a mounting mechanism that can be attached to a wheelchair or other mobility aid or installed in a car to provide a consistent, secure place to store the cell phone. It also facilitates one-handed dialing by removing the requirement to simultaneously hold the phone and manipulate the controls. Mobile holders are particularly useful for the people with upper-mobility impairments. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for this group and a low impact for other groups, and it will help solve the issue of not being able to lift and hold the device.

                                            Raised area (nib) on the "5" key: A nib is a raised area that serves to help users identify the location of the center of the keypad. Given a standard telephone keypad layout with the addition of nonnumeric keys, the nib helps the user (particularly the user with a visual impairment) to find the "5" key, from which the remaining numeric keys can be easily identified. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for users who are blind, a medium impact for those with low vision, and a neutral impact for other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to locate and identify controls.

                                            Keypress feedback: Tactile feedback results from the keys springing back to position once pressed, and it is typically accompanied by a clicking sound, both of which are indicators that the key has been pressed and input accepted. Touchscreens, for example, do not have tactile or tonal feedback. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those who are blind, a medium impact for those with low vision, and a low impact for other users.

                                            TTY compatibility: A TTY is a small device with a keyboard that allows the user to type input rather than speak. This is then transmitted to the person on the other end of the line, who must also have a TTY device. If only one individual in the conversation has a TTY device, a relay service can be used to translate from text to voice. Inclusion of TTY compatibility in design will have a high impact for the hearing impaired and a neutral impact for other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive auditory information. Text messaging is a good alternative to TTY if all parties have access to it.

                                            Voice tags for menu navigation: Voice tags are spoken commands that can be used to bypass keypress inputs to control the phone. Voice tag use is quite common, although it is most beneficial for those with vision and mobility impairments who might otherwise not be able to make accurate inputs. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for these groups and a low impact for all others. It will solve the issues of not being able to locate and identify controls, not being able to receive visual information, difficulty with inputting information, and difficulty finding desired features.

                                            Zoom displays: A zoom display provides the option to increase the predefined text size, reducing the number of lines of text available at any given time. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for users with low vision and a low impact for others. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                            Brightly backlit displays: Backlighting provides the option to adjust the screen lighting to accommodate low-light conditions. This is useful for all individuals in some contexts and can also be useful for users with low vision in a wider variety of conditions. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for users with low vision and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                            Adjustable volume: Volume control is important for both auditory alerts and conversation. It is particularly important for hard-of-hearing people, but it is useful for all. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for hard-of-hearing people and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive auditory information.

                                            Icon/graphic menus: Pictorial representations as text alternatives generally allow for more information to be presented on a single screen. They are particularly useful for people who might have a reading impairment. They also provide the opportunity to unclutter the screen, which is useful for users who have low vision or cognitive disabilities (if good metaphors are used). Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for users with low vision and users with cognitive disabilities (unless implemented with poor metaphors, in which case it may have a negative impact for users with cognitive disabilities). This will help solve the accessibility issue of difficulty reading text.

                                            Audio cue capability: Audio alerts are typically used for something like providing an audio cue for a low battery, and they are most useful for those with vision impairments and others in low-light conditions. Other people enjoy auditory displays and will use them, although they do not enhance accessibility. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for people who are blind, a medium impact for those with low vision and upper-mobility and cognitive disabilities, and a low impact for all others. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                            External audio output (via headset): External audio output allows the user to carry on a conversation without needing to hold the phone. Amplified headsets enhance the sound output to increase the clarity of the information. Amplification is not strictly volume level; it is more an intensity of different signals. Headsets help to concentrate the sound at the ear while blocking out some environmental noises. External audio is particularly useful for people who have an upper-mobility disability, and if implemented in design will have a high impact. If the headset is amplified, it will have a high impact for hard-of-hearing users and will help solve the issue of not being able to understand speech information. It will have a low impact for other users and will help solve the issue of not being able to receive auditory information.

                                            Keys on the keypad that are discernible by touch: Tactile separators typically provide either raised or indented spaces between controls to assist in tactile differentiation of numeric keys from other keys. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those who are blind, a medium impact for those with upper-mobility impairments, and a low impact for all others. It will help solve the issues of not being able to locate and identify controls and not being able to make accurate inputs.

                                            Voiced menu options: Voiced menu options provide verbal output of the different menu screens, allowing the user to make appropriate inputs without having to see the display. This greatly increases the number of features that a visually impaired user, in particular, can benefit from. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those who are blind or have low vision, a medium impact for those with upper-mobility impairments, and a low impact for all others. It will help solve the issues of not being able to read text on the screen or to locate and identify controls.

                                            Screen magnifiers: Screen magnifiers increase the size of the text on the display. Inclusion in the design will have a high impact for those who have low vision and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to read text on the screen.

                                            Larger keys on the keypad: Larger keys on the keypad increase the ability to accurately press the desired key without inadvertently pressing any adjacent keys. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for those who are blind, have low vision, or have poor fine motor control and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of having difficulty making accurate inputs.

                                            More space between keys on the keypad: More space between the keys increases the ability to differentiate the keys by touch and to accurately press the desired key without inadvertently pressing any adjacent keys. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for those who are blind, have low vision, or have an upper-mobility impairment and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of having difficulty locating controls and making accurate inputs.

                                            Talking battery-level indicators: Talking battery-level indicators provide users who cannot see the screen with necessary information about the criticality of charging the phone. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those who are blind or have low vision and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to read the display.

                                            Talking signal-strength indicators: Talking signal-strength indicators provide users who cannot see the screen with necessary information about the availability of coverage to successfully make and receive calls. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those who are blind or have low vision and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to read the display.

                                            Talking caller-ID: Talking caller-ID provides users, particularly those with visual impairments, with information about an incoming call. Caller-ID allows users to identify the caller before they answer the call, providing the opportunity to decide to not answer a call without worrying about missing an important call. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those who are blind or have low vision and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to read text on the screen.

                                            Large fonts on the display: Large fonts on the display increase the text size for circumstances in which small text is difficult to read. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those with low vision, a low impact for users who are blind, and a medium impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to read text on the screen.

                                            Large display screens: Large display screens reduce screen clutter and increase the space available for larger text and graphics. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for low-vision users and a low impact for all others. It will help solve the issue of not being able to read text on the screen.

                                            Simplified connector for power: Simplified connectors for power allow the user to use a single hand with minimal pinching or grasping to connect the power cord to the device. Simplified connectors are not limited to insertion in a single orientation. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for users who are blind, have low vision, or have an upper-mobility impairment and a low impact for all other users.

                                            Simplified connector for headsets: Simplified connectors for headsets allow the user to use a single hand with minimal pinching or grasping to connect the headset cord to the device. Simplified connectors are not limited to insertion in a single orientation. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for users who are blind, have low vision, or have an upper-mobility impairment and a low impact for all other users.

                                            Hearing aid compatibility: Hearing aid compatibility includes the ability for someone using a hearing aid to both use the cell phone without interference and to be in proximity of someone else using a cell phone without experiencing interference. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for users who are hard of hearing and a low impact for all others. Hearing aid compatibility will help solve the issue of not being able to receive auditory information.

                                            Concave keys on the keypads: Concave or curved-inward keys help prevent fingers from slipping off the keys, which often results in inadvertent activation of adjacent keys. This type of key also increases the ability to differentiate the keys from each other and from the surrounding area on the device. Inclusion in design will have a medium to high impact for users who are blind, have low vision, or have an upper-mobility impairment and a low impact for all other users. Concave keys will help solve the issue of locating controls and making accurate inputs.

                                            Keys that may be operated without human contact: Some individuals use pointing devices or other mechanisms to help them reach or activate controls. However, some electronic devices require some kind of moisture content or heat (characteristics of touch) to activate the controls; these electronic devices cannot be used by someone who needs to use an alternative input device. Controls that are operable without physical human contact will have a high impact for someone with an upper-mobility impairment and a low impact for all other users.

                                            Rubberized keys: Rubberized keys help prevent fingers from slipping off the keys, which often results in inadvertent activation of adjacent keys. Textured keys also help the user differentiate the key itself from the surface of the device, particularly if the keys are not raised sufficiently. Inclusion in design will have a medium to high impact for users who are blind, have low vision, or have an upper-mobility impairment and a low impact for all other users. Rubberized keys will help solve the issue of locating controls and making accurate inputs.

                                            Speakerphone: A speakerphone allows the user to carry on a conversation without needing to hold the phone. This is particularly useful for people who have an upper-mobility disability, and if implemented in design will have a high impact. It will have a low impact for other users, and will help solve the issue of not being able to receive auditory information via hand-held phone.

                                            Additional features that may enhance accessibility are described in a discussion of accessible phones athttp://www.trace.wisc.edu/docs/phones/tcrd1/summary/index.htm. These features include:

                                            Key shape: Keys can be shaped to be associated with their function. This can help someone relying on the tactile sense to better differentiate keys, and may help those with cognitive disabilities to learn the appropriate use of various controls. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for people who are blind, a medium impact for people who have a cognitive disability, and a low impact for all others.

                                            Help-request key: A help-request key allows the user to press a designated key and then press another key to get information (verbal output), such as the status of a function or the function name for the selected key. Implementation in design will have a medium impact for those who are blind and a neutral impact for all other users. It will help solve the issues of not being able to locate and identify controls or not being able to receive visual information.

                                            Key confirmation: Key confirmation provides feedback about the selected option before activation of the control. It then requires the user to confirm the selection to implement activation. Key confirmation helps to prevent accidental activation, which is common particularly for those who are blind or have upper-mobility impairments. Implementation in design will have a medium impact for both of these groups and a neutral impact for others. (If it is not optional, however, it might have a negative impact for other users by slowing their transactions.) It will help solve the issue of having difficulty locating controls and making accurate inputs.

                                              Compliance with Government Regulations

                                              The primary parts of Section 508 that are applicable to cell phones address telecommunications (1194.23); self-contained, closed products (1194.25); functional performance requirements (1194.31); and documentation (1194.41). Many of these regulations have an impact on all users; others have a larger impact on one disability group versus another. More specifically, the regulations that mostly impact users who are blind address issues such as availability of visual information through an alternative sense (i.e., touch or sound), tactilely discernible controls, and voice output. The regulations that mostly impact users with low vision address the issues of font size, audio output, and color and contrast settings. The regulation that mostly impacts users who have a cognitive disability addresses the issue of providing text equivalents for graphical or other nontext elements. The regulations that mostly impact users with upper-mobility impairments address the issues of multiple key entry for a single button press, requirements for grasping and simultaneous input, and force requirements. The regulations that mostly impact users who are deaf or hard of hearing address volume control and sound level output.

                                              The following Section 508 regulations are seen as issues for cell phones:

                                              • TTY compatibility
                                              • Verify that all controls and keys are tactilely discernible without activating the controls or keys. Many of the keys on cell phones do not have adequate tactile separators or a sufficient nib on the "5" key to facilitate tactile differentiation.
                                              • The status of all locking or toggle controls or keys must be visually discernible and discernible through either touch or sound. The locked status of the phone is not discernible other than visually.
                                              • When products provide auditory output, the audio signal must be provided at a standard signal level through an industry standard connector that will allow for private listening. Some cell phones use proprietary connectors.
                                              • Verify that at least one mode of operation and information retrieval is provided that does not require user vision or, alternatively, that support for assistive technology used by people who are blind or visually impaired is provided. The majority of information is provided through a text display on the
                                              • cell phone, which cannot be seen by a user who is blind.
                                              • At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require visual acuity greater than 20/70 must be provided in audio and enlarged print output, working together or independently, or support for assistive technology used by people who are visually impaired must be provided. Cell phones do not provide voice output and they typically do not use more than a 10-point font, which is inadequate for someone with low vision.
                                              • Where audio information is important for the use of a product, at least one mode of operation and information retrieval must be provided in an enhanced auditory fashion, or support for assistive hearing devices must be provided. While many cell phones are designated as hearing aid compatible and loopsets are available for some phones, they do not work for all people with hearing aids. Some cell phones also provide insufficient volume control to assist those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

                                              Conclusions

                                              Based on the normalized impact score data, the calculated accessibility grade of each target population is described in Table 79.

                                              Table79: Accessibility Grade by Target Population for Cell Phones

                                              Distance Learning

                                              Distance learning is a means of providing educational content via audio, video, or computer technologies, whether for a university program or a business setting. The content may be live or prerecorded. The types of technologies for implementing distance learning include "two-way video with two-way audio (two-way interactive video), one-way video with two-way audio, one-way live video, one-way prerecorded video (including prerecorded videotapes provided to students, and TV broadcast and cable transmission using prerecorded video), two-way audio transmission (e.g., audio/phone conferencing), one-way audio transmission (including radio broadcast and prerecorded audiotapes provided to students), Internet courses using synchronous (i.e., simultaneous or 'real time') computer-based instruction (e.g., interactive computer conferencing or Interactive Relay Chat), Internet courses using asynchronous (i.e., not simultaneous) computer-based instruction (e.g., e-mail, listservs, and most World Wide Web-based courses), CD-ROM, multimode packages (i.e., a mix of technologies that cannot be assigned to a primary mode), and other technologies" (Tabs, 2003, p. 11). Online education is now offered at more than 56 percent of the nation's two- and four-year colleges and universities, and distance learning is beginning to extend to high schools and lower. It is an excellent option for people with limited mobility, restricted schedules, those not colocated with the educational provider, and slower learners. There are some human limitations, however, that make distance learning either inaccessible or difficult to use. People who have a visual disability may have difficulty accessing visual information and making accurate inputs. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may have difficulty accessing auditory information. People who have a mobility disability may have difficulty making accurate inputs and responding quickly enough to prompts. People who have a cognitive disability may have difficulty understanding the language and responding quickly enough to prompts. Each of these challenges can be overcome, to some extent, through proper design (Tabs, 2003).

                                              Streaming media is audio and video distributed in real time over the Internet. "Streaming" means the file can be viewed and heard before it is fully downloaded. An initial portion of the file is downloaded, or buffered, and begins playing while the remainder of the file arrives in a continuous stream. In addition, "streaming media" often refers not only to media distributed in real time, but also to any media downloaded from the Internet.

                                              In general, there are two sets of users who will benefit the most from having streaming video made accessible: people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and those who are blind or have low vision. People who are deaf or hard of hearing rely on captions to understand the audio content. People who are blind or have low vision rely on an audio description of the video content. However, as with all universal design, everyone benefits when streaming media is made accessible, even the provider of the streaming media. For example, captions may be made searchable, allowing for a much more elaborate video clip search-and-retrieval system. Captions also make streaming media more accessible for individuals who do not speak English, those for whom English is their second language, or those for whom printed English is more accessible than spoken English. Captions have also been shown to consistently improve reading retention of presented material.

                                              Background

                                              There are two main pieces of legislation that dictate accessibility of streaming media. The most obvious is the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which requires that all public programs and services be accessible to people with disabilities. The second, and most relevant, piece of legislation is an amendment to the Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973, "Section 508." Section 508 was signed into law in August 1998 and became effective in June 2001. Section 508 provides for a binding, enforceable standard that requires E&IT that is developed, procured, maintained, and used by the Federal Government to be accessible by people with disabilities, unless it poses an undue burden to do so. Section 508 also requires that individuals with disabilities have access to and use of electronic information and data that is comparable to that provided to the public without disabilities.

                                              The provision of captioning for Internet video streams is still in its infancy compared with the captioning of television programming, and in some ways it is a more challenging problem because of the number of different video formats that must be considered. There is not at present any single predominant standard for the captioning of Internet video streams. Several similar but distinct techniques are used for captioning Internet video streams; the techniques that are available depend on the format of the video stream. Three major formats are Apple's Quicktime, Microsoft's Windows Media Player, and Real's RealPlayer. Each format has software bugs and some level of unreliability with respect to captioning.

                                              Windows Media Player

                                              Windows Media Player adds captions using Microsoft's Synchronized Accessible Media Interchange (SAMI). SAMI is an extensible markup language (XML)-based text language. SAMI files contain the actual captions as well as information about when and how the captions should display. SAMI is structured very similarly to hypertext markup language (HTML), and many HTML formatting tags are allowed in SAMI. Broadly speaking, SAMI files consist of caption text with tags specifying the appearance of the text, and time tags that control when each caption should be displayed (in terms of elapsed milliseconds from the start of the media file). SAMI files can be created in any text editor, although using a captioning program like MAGpie to enter caption times simplifies the process.

                                              There are two ways of adding captions to a media file. If the media file is embedded in a Web page (a practice that is not recommended for accessibility), code can be added to the Web page to display the captions along with the video. The recommended method, however, involves creating a third file, called an active streaming XML (ASX) file. The ASX file is a pointer file that contains details about the media presentation and tells Windows Media Player which files (media and captions) to retrieve and play.

                                              RealPlayer

                                              RealPlayer uses the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL), developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), to choreograph the presentation of video and captions. SMIL is written as an XML application.

                                              To caption a RealPlayer file, first a RealText file containing caption text as well as timing and formatting information is created. The RealText file can be created in any text editor, but using a captioning program like MAGpie to enter caption times simplifies the process. Next, an SMIL file must be created that links the video (RealPlayer) file and the caption (RealText) file, and creates the screen regions in which the video and caption files will be played. Links to the SMIL files must be provided in the form of real audio movie (RAM) files. The links point to the RAM file, which in turn points to the SMIL file, which in turn points to the RealPlayer and RealText files. The video file can also be embedded in a Web page, but this practice is not recommended because of accessibility problems that it creates.

                                               

                                              • Quicktime

                                                There are two methods for captioning Quicktime movies. The first involves creating a Quicktime text track and making it a part of the Quicktime movie. The result is a single file that contains audio, video, and captions. Quicktime Pro is required for this method. The second method involves creating a text track movie as a separate file, which is then synchronized with the movie with SMIL (as described above for RealPlayer).

                                                In either case, a caption file must be created. This file can be created using any text editor or by using MAGpie. In the first method, Quicktime Pro is used to convert the caption file to a text track and merge it with the video file. In the second method, a separate SMIL file is created. There are a number of ways to access captioned Quicktime movies. If the captions are embedded in the movie, a direct link to the movie can be provided. Quicktime movies (or SMIL files) can be embedded into Web pages; this is an accessible option for Quicktime, because there is an option to make the control bar visible on the screen. Code can also be included in a Web page that will open a Quicktime movie or SMIL presentation in the Quicktime player.

                                                Task-Based Accessibility Analysis

                                                The core functionality considered to be necessary to effectively use distance learning programs consists of the following:

                                                • Logging into the system

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                              • Navigating the system
                                              • Obtaining content—text, auditory, visual (graphics, videos)
                                              • Filling out forms
                                              • Reading email messages
                                              • Using instant messaging software
                                              • Reading documents in Microsoft Word format
                                              • Reading documents in Adobe PDF format
                                              • Viewing presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint format
                                              • Using chat software

                                               

                                               

                                                Additional functionality that is typically inherent in distance learning design includes the following:

                                                • Participating in audio or video conferencing

                                                 

                                                  People may have difficulty accomplishing these basic tasks, depending on functional limitations resulting in an impairment, environmental or situational factors that create barriers, and the design of the distance learning program. Accessibility issues for each disability population are identified, along with an impact rating for each issue.

                                                  Low Vision

                                                  Individuals with low vision may be unable to use distance learning or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They may have difficulty receiving visual information because the system is incompatible with screen-readers or enlargement utilities, the size of multimedia presentations (videos) is too small, there is visual clutter, there is inadequate contrast, an audio description is not available for video presentations, text equivalents are not available for Flash files, or linked files (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PDF) are not available in an accessible format. They may have difficulty making inputs because either form fields are not well associated with their respective labels or keyboard input is not available for all mouse actions.

                                                  Table 80 lists the tasks identified as important for distance learning use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                  Table80: Derivation of Impact for Low-Vision Distance Learning Users

                                                   

                                                  Individuals who have low vision may have difficulty logging into the distance learning system, navigating the system, obtaining content, filling out forms, and using instant messaging and software because of an inability to obtain visual information and an incompatibility with screen-readers.

                                                  Blind

                                                  Individuals who are blind may be unable to use distance learning or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They may have difficulty receiving visual information because the system is incompatible with screen-readers, an audio description is not available for video presentations, audio output cannot be controlled and replayed, sufficient descriptions are not provided for images, or linked files (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PDF) are not available in an accessible format. They may have difficulty making inputs because either keyboard input is not available for all mouse actions or navigation is unclear.

                                                  Table 81 lists the tasks identified as important for distance learning use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                  Table81: Derivation of Impact for Distance Learning Users Who Are Blind

                                                   

                                                  Individuals who are blind may have difficulty obtaining distance learning content, reading documents in Adobe PDF format, viewing presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint format, using chat and instant messaging software, logging into and navigating the system, and filling out forms because information is only available visually and is there is an incompatibility with screen-readers.

                                                  Hard of Hearing

                                                  Individuals who are hard of hearing may be unable to use distance learning or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They cannot receive auditory information or understand speech information because a visual equivalent is not provided for audio output, the quality of audio presentations is poor, or captioning is unavailable for video or Flash files.

                                                  Table 82 lists the tasks identified as important for distance learning use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                  Table82: Derivation of Impact for Hard-of-Hearing Distance Learning Users

                                                   

                                                  Individuals who are hard of hearing may have difficulty obtaining distance learning content that is available only in an auditory fashion.

                                                  Deaf

                                                  Individuals who are deaf may be unable to use distance learning or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They cannot receive auditory information or understand speech information because a visual equivalent is not provided for audio output, the quality of audio presentations is poor, or captioning is unavailable for video or Flash files.

                                                  Table 83 lists the tasks identified as important for distance learning use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                  Table83: Derivation of Impact for Distance Learning Users Who Are Deaf

                                                   

                                                  Individuals who are deaf may have difficulty obtaining distance learning content that is available only in an auditory fashion (e.g., multimedia that is not available with closed captioning).

                                                  Upper Mobility

                                                  Individuals who have an upper-mobility impairment may be unable to use distance learning or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They have difficulty making inputs (via a pointing device, keyboard, dial, or other mechanical control mechanism), particularly accurate inputs, because the controls are too close together or too small, key-entry requirements are not minimized (short cut keys are not available), voice recognition is not available, the time allotted is too short, keyboard input is not available for all mouse actions, or there is a significant requirement for physical activity or repetitive actions.

                                                  Table 84 lists the tasks identified as important for distance learning use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                  Table84: Derivation of Impact for Upper-Mobility Impaired Distance Learning Users

                                                   

                                                  Individuals who have an upper-mobility impairment may have difficulty navigating the distance learning system, filling out forms, using chat software, and using instant messaging software because of difficulties with input devices or because the selection areas are small and require fine motor control.

                                                  Lower Mobility

                                                  Table 85 lists the tasks identified as important for distance learning use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                  Table85: Derivation of Impact for Lower-Mobility Impaired Distance Learning Users

                                                   

                                                  Users with lower-mobility impairments should have no difficulties using distance learning.

                                                  Cognitive

                                                  Users with cognitive disabilities may be unable to use distance learning or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They may have trouble responding with an input in the allotted amount of time, possibly because the time provided is too short, the input mechanism is difficult to use, or the menu structures are too complex, in terms of the language or graphical metaphors used or the navigation required. They may have trouble reading text or interpreting graphics presented on the screen because the graphical metaphors or the language is too complex, verbal output is unavailable, or content (e.g., for Flash presentations) is not repeatable. They may have trouble finding desired features because the menu structures, language, or graphical metaphors are too complex or not well organized. They may have difficulty entering information because they cannot spell to make text inputs or do not understand how to use an input device.

                                                  Table 86 lists the tasks identified as important for distance learning use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                  Table86: Derivation of Impact for Distance Learning Users Who Have a Cognitive Disability

                                                   

                                                  Individuals who have a cognitive disability will have difficulty with distance learning if they have language limitations. They may have a reading level that is below that necessary for obtaining the essential content and reading documents. They may not comprehend graphic depictions provided in PowerPoint presentations. Logging onto the system may be difficult if they cannot remember their user ID or password. Navigation may be difficult if the language is unclear or ambiguous, particularly if the pages are cluttered. Forms may be difficult to fill out because it may be unclear what is being asked for, and they may not be able to provide clear inputs. Written language may be inadequate to participate in instant messaging/chat software, or the simultaneous nature of the software may be distracting to the cognitively disabled user.

                                                  Accessibility Features

                                                  A review of various distance learning providers' marketing data found few features identified as accessible design components. Each of these components is listed, along with a description of the component and an assessment of the usefulness of the feature for disability groups. Some of these features may have been designed with a particular disability population in mind; others may have been designed simply as desirable features. In many cases, the accessibility features benefit or are used by a variety of people, and they may be considered to provide universal access. Each of the accessibility features listed below is a function of the distance learning software, as well as the content developed by an administrative user of the software. Each of the features has the capability to be implemented in distance learning if the content developers include them in the course materials. Distance learning vendors provide guidance for course developers that addresses many of these issues.

                                                  Use of alt tags: Alt tags provided with images allow screen-reader users to obtain information about the images that are present on the page. Without alt tags, for example, someone who is blind using a screen-reader may know only that an image is present, but will have no idea what it represents. In addition, alt tags can be used as a means to ignore images that exist for aesthetic reasons and do not provide important information by providing blank or null alt text for the image, which simplifies the process of obtaining information through a screen-reader. Implementation in design will have a high impact for those who are blind, a medium impact for those who have low vision, and a low impact for all others. It will help solve the issues of being unable to receive important visual information and, in some cases, of having difficulty interpreting visual information.

                                                  Synchronized multimedia: Multimedia can consist of text, video, audio, and other content. Sometimes multiple sensory outputs are provided, but not directly in parallel, which can be confusing for the individual performing multiple sensory processing. Multimedia should be synchronized with the material, or there should be linked multimedia files containing synchronized equivalent alternatives to assist those who may benefit from redundant information sources. Synchronized multimedia will have a medium impact on most users.

                                                  All information conveyed with color is also available without color: Color is a very good tool for grouping controls/information or identifying important information, as long as the viewer can see and differentiate color. Color provides a means to create contrast, code objects, and provide meaning without words. However, some people with visual impairments cannot benefit from the use of color, and the meaning may be lost to some people with cognitive disabilities. Therefore, although color is useful and should be used, it should not be the only means to differentiate objects, provide structure, or provide useful information. Anything represented with color should also be available without color. Following this guideline in design will have a high impact for users who are blind or have low vision, a medium impact for users with cognitive difficulties, and a low impact for other users. Ensuring that no information is conveyed with color alone will help solve the issues of not being able to receive important visual information and not being able to interpret some visual information.

                                                  Documents are organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet: When documents require style sheets, individuals may not be able to control the appearance (font size, etc.) of the information on the page or to use their own customized style sheet, and it may create problems for those who use screen-readers. Implementing pages that are readable without style sheets will have a high impact for those with visual impairments. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                  Only client-side image maps are used (or redundant text links are provided for each active region of a server-side image map): Client-side image maps make information available to people browsing with nongraphical user agents and offer immediate feedback as to whether or not the pointer is over an active region. Implementation of only client-side image maps in design will have a high impact for users who are blind and a medium impact for those with low vision. There will be a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                  Row and column headers are provided for data tables in order to take advantage of newer screen-reader capabilities to read this additional information: Tables that are not constructed in an organized fashion with headers to describe the row and column contents are very difficult to interpret for someone relying on a screen-reader. Headers can help the individual determine the organization of the information being presented. This facilitates navigation through the table and comprehension of the information contained in the table. Implementation in design will have a high impact for those who are blind, a medium impact for those who have low vision, and a neutral impact for all others. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                  Framesets are titled to facilitate identification and navigation: Frame titles let users know, for example, whether they are in the navigation frame or the content frame. Providing titles helps a person using a screen-reader to distinguish the organization of the information and facilitates navigation. Implementation in design will have a high impact for people who are blind and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                  Pages are designed to avoid causing the screen to flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz:Some flicker frequencies can induce visual seizures. Flicker is most often an issue for animations, and pages should be designed such that only appropriate animations are used. Moving content can cause difficulty for people with low vision and cognitive disabilities, particularly if they must react at the same speed to click an object, for example. In addition, screen-readers cannot read moving text. Implementation in design will have a high impact for those who are susceptible to visual seizures; a medium impact for those who have low vision, cognitive disabilities, or upper-mobility impairments; and a low impact for other users. It will help solve the issues of not being able to receive visual information, having difficulty interpreting visual information, and having difficulty making inputs, particularly when there is a time constraint.

                                                  Dynamic scripting is not used for content presentation: Dynamic scripting can be problematic for screen-readers, which will sometimes provide an inaccurate description of the page content and prevent the user from receiving the same information that can be obtained visually. Implementation in design will have a high impact for users with no vision, a medium impact for users with low vision, and a neutral impact for other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                  Plug-ins are supported as embedded content or as automatically launched files: Some plug-ins that require interaction will only work with mouse input, which excludes a large number of users. Appropriately applied plug-ins implemented in design will have a high impact for those who are blind or have upper-mobility impairments, a medium impact for those with low vision, and a neutral impact for the remainder of users. It will help solve the issues of not being able to receive visual information and make appropriate inputs.

                                                  Form labels are placed next to the form input elements that are referenced, including input boxes and radio buttons:This allows screen-reader users to appropriately associate labels with the form elements. A user should be able to fill out the form with either keyboard or mouse input. Implementation in design will have a high impact for those who have visual or cognitive disabilities and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issues of not being able to receive visual information and of having difficulty interpreting visual information.

                                                  For navigation links located in the body of the main content page, code exists to allow screen-readers to detect and skip the navigation links: When navigation links are in the main content page, they are read each time the page is accessed. This can be very time consuming and unnecessary for someone using a screen-reader to find or review a part of the page. Providing code for the user to skip over the navigation links allows the user to read through the page and get to the information he or she needs more easily and quickly. Implementation in design will have a high impact for those who are blind and a medium impact for those with other visual impairments. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                  Session timeout settings can be modified by the system administrator to allow for more time, if necessary: Some systems require an input within a certain amount of time before they end the session; this provides security and helps to free up access to others. However, some people cannot respond within appropriate time limits, possibly because they are using a screen-reader, which takes longer than expected to process the page; they themselves are slow to process the page content; or they have difficulty with fine motor control and making appropriate inputs. If time-dependent settings can be controlled as needed for individuals, it will have a high impact for those who are blind or have cognitive disabilities or upper-mobility difficulties. It will help solve the issues of not being able to receive visual information and having difficulty making inputs.

                                                  Online help documentation is provided describing layout, context, functionality of each feature, and instructions for using the features: Some systems may use functionality that is atypical or not intuitive, particularly for those who cannot visually explore the contents. Implementation of online help documentation will have a medium impact for those with visual or cognitive disabilities and a low impact for all other users.

                                                  Additional features we feel would make an accessible distance learning program include the following:

                                                  Screen-reader compatibility: Screen-readers allow users to obtain information without requiring them to perceive it visually. Visual information is translated into auditory output that is read to the user. The most common users of screen-reading technology are those who are blind and have low vision. Implementation in design will have a high impact for those who are blind, a medium impact for those with low vision, and a neutral impact for all others. Screen-reading compatibility will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                  Printed materials available in alternative formats: Alternate formats consist of large print, Braille, and audio, and they mostly benefit users with visual impairments, providing a high impact for that user group. Distribution of documents in an accessible electronic format that is convertible is often preferred. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                  Uncluttered pages, pages that are well organized, and pages that don't have backgrounds that interfere with processing foreground information: Pages with a lot of information, colors, patterns, and movement can be very difficult for some people to process. Avoiding these things in design will have a medium impact on those with low vision and cognitive disabilities. It will help solve the issues of having difficulty receiving and interpreting visual information and of having difficulty finding desired features.

                                                  Consistent layouts from page to page: Information that is organized in a similar fashion from one page to the next helps the user to quickly find the items of interest. Implementation in design will have a medium impact for those who have a cognitive disability and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issues of having difficulty receiving and interpreting visual information and of having difficulty finding desired features.

                                                  Closed captioned video: Videos, audio clips, and live presentations naturally have audio output, but they do not readily have comparable visual output available. Graphics and text to describe the audio information, particularly direct transcriptions, can greatly enhance the accessibility of this information for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, having a high impact for this population of users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive auditory information.

                                                  A text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, should be provided when accessibility cannot be achieved in any other way: The content of the text-only page should be updated whenever the primary page changes. This will have a high impact for those who are blind, a medium impact for those with low vision, and a low impact for other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                  User manuals in alternate formats: Alternate formats consist of large print, Braille, and audio. Inclusion in design will have a high positive impact for users who are blind or have low vision, possibly the same for those who are deaf or hard of hearing (depending on the original format), and no impact for other disability populations. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual (and possibly auditory) information.

                                                  Screen magnifier compatibility: A screen magnifier increases the size of the display and button labels to enhance the readability for those with low vision. It is an alternative, particularly if adjustable screen resolution and font size are unavailable. Implementation in design will have a medium impact for those with low vision and a neutral impact for other users. It will help solve the issues of not being able to receive visual information and not being able to locate and identify controls.

                                                  Adjustable font sizes: Small fonts are very difficult to read for users with low vision, who typically need to squint or use a magnifying glass to read them. They are also more difficult to read under low-light conditions and when users are fatigued. Implementation in design of adjustable font sizes will have a high impact on users with low vision and, with the exception of people who are blind, a low impact on all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                  Adjustable contrast: Adjustable contrast provides the option for users to adjust the color or brightness of the foreground and background colors to increase clarity. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those with low vision and most users under very bright- or low-light conditions. It will have a low impact for other disability populations. Adjustable contrast will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                  Graphics that are described in detail: Graphics may be impossible to see for a person who is blind, difficult to see and interpret for those who have low vision, and difficult to understand for those who do not learn well from pictures. Inclusion of detailed descriptions will have a high impact for those who are blind or have low vision and a low to medium impact for all other users. Described graphics will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                  Video that is described in detail: Video is impossible to see for a person who is blind, and may be difficult to see for those who have low vision or are limited to small video screens with insufficient resolution. Inclusion of detailed descriptions will have a high impact for those who are blind or have low vision and a low impact for all other users. Described video will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                  Adjustable volume: Volume control is important for auditory information and alerts. This is particularly important for hard-of-hearing people, but it is useful for all. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for hard-of-hearing people and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive auditory information.

                                                  Ability to request additional time: Ability to request additional time allows the user to be able to complete a transaction despite the need to use more than the normal amount of allotted time to complete individual transaction components. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for most users, depending on the output mode (visual or auditory) from the device. Additional time will help solve the issues of not being able to receive visual or auditory information and having difficulty with control inputs.

                                                  Voice recognition: Voice recognition offers the option to provide inputs verbally rather than through mechanical keypresses. This is particularly useful for those who cannot see to make the correct inputs or who cannot reach or have difficulty activating mechanical controls. Implementation in design will have a high impact for those who are blind, a medium impact for those who have low vision or an upper-mobility impairment, and a low impact for other users. It will help solve the issues of difficulty entering/inputting information, difficulty making accurate inputs, difficulty lifting and holding the device, and possibly the difficulties of finding desired features and interpreting visual information.

                                                    Compliance with Government Regulations

                                                    The primary parts of Section 508 that are applicable to distance learning address software applications and operating systems (1194.21), Web-based Intranet and Internet information and applications (1194.22), video and multimedia products (1194.24), functional performance requirements (1191.31), and documentation (1191.41). Many of these regulations have an impact on all users; others have a larger impact on one disability group versus another. More specifically, the regulations that mostly impact users who are blind address issues such as availability of visual information through an alternative sense (i.e., touch or sound), tactilely discernible controls, and voice output. The regulations that mostly impact users with low vision address the issues of font size, audio output, color and contrast settings, and text equivalents for graphical or other nontext elements. The regulation that mostly impacts users who have a cognitive disability addresses the issue of providing text equivalents for graphical or other nontext elements. The regulations that mostly impact users with upper-mobility impairments address the issues of multiple key entry for a single button press, requirements for grasping and simultaneous input, and force requirements. The regulations that mostly impact users who are deaf or hard of hearing address volume control and sound-level output.

                                                    The following Section 508 regulations are seen as issues for distance learning:

                                                    • Sufficient information about a user interface element, including the identity, operation, and state of the element, must be available to assistive technology. When an image represents a program element, the information conveyed by the image must also be available in text. The creators of distance learning content do not always provide text equivalents for graphical information. Some features of the software interface are not recognized by screen-readers.

                                                    • A text equivalent for every nontext element must be provided (e.g., via "alt," "longdesc," or in element content). The creators of distance learning content do not always provide text equivalents for graphical information.

                                                    • Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation must be synchronized with the presentation. Equivalent alternatives are often not provided and typically are not synched when they are available.

                                                    • Verify that at least one mode of operation and information retrieval is provided that does not require user vision or, alternatively, that support is provided for assistive technology used by people who are blind or visually impaired. Much content is provided in a graphical fashion that cannot be seen by those with visual limitations or that cannot be read by a screen-reader.

                                                    • At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require user hearing must be provided, or support for assistive technology used by people who are deaf or hard of hearing must be provided. Distance learning content is often provided in an auditory fashion without closed captioning or text to accompany the output.

                                                      Conclusions

                                                      Based on the normalized impact score data, the calculated accessibility grade of each target population is described in Table 87.

                                                      Table87: Accessibility Grade by Target Population for Distance Learning Software

                                                      Personal Digital Assistants

                                                      PDAs provide "anywhere access," allowing individuals to keep track of and organize information relevant to their day-to-day activities. PDAs are portable, allowing individuals to possess information in a variety of contexts. They can be used as a calculator, address book, calendar, memo pad, expense tracker, and electronic information storage device. While PDAs are particularly useful in the business world, they serve as an excellent memory aid for any individual. Information can be transferred between the PDA and a personal computer, providing portable access to information. However, despite their popularity and their capabilities, PDAs are not accessible to everyone. There are some human limitations that make PDAs either inaccessible or difficult to use (and consequently, perhaps, undesirable). People who have a visual disability may have difficulty accessing visual information and providing accurate inputs. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may have difficulty detecting auditory alerts. People who have a mobility disability may have difficulty simultaneously handling the PDA and manipulating the controls. People who have a cognitive disability may have difficulty understanding metaphors and jargon and remembering how to access information. Each of these challenges can be overcome, to some extent, through proper design.

                                                      Background

                                                      Personal digital assistants, or PDAs, are popular for both personal and business use. There are thousands of applications available for PDAs, many of them free, that support a wide range of activities. Although they have the potential to provide benefits to individuals with disabilities, PDAs are not currently accessible to all users. Users generally interact with PDAs by use of a small stylus for input and a small screen for output, producing barriers for users with visual or mobility impairments in particular.

                                                      Text Input and Output

                                                      To assist people who are unable to use the stylus, nearly all PDAs support the attachment of various types of keyboards, including those that support one-handed typing, such as the halfkeyboard.

                                                      The AlphaPad is a software application for PalmOS and Windows CE that uses a 12-key keyboard along with word prediction software. The keyboard is displayed on a touchscreen, so fine motor control is necessary, but it could be useful for low-mobility users. Thumbscript is another text-entry system that uses gestures on a nine-button grid to produce characters. It is compatible with any device having eight actuation points arranged radially around a center, and it may be useful for users with mobility impairments. There are a number of other variations on stylus-based text entry, as well.

                                                      There are several products that provide some degree of voice interaction with PDAs. IBM has released a version of its ViaVoice application for Pocket PCs. This application serves as a text-to-speech screen-reader and also allows user input using a limited command vocabulary. ScanSoft's Dragon PDsay provides similar functionality for Pocket PCs. Both of these products are command-based and don't support dictation or application-specific functionality beyond a basic core set of popular applications.

                                                      Display Features

                                                      TealMagnify is a screen magnifier for PalmOS that may be of use to people with visual impairments, although it requires users to touch a button on the PDA to activate it and apparently produces rather pixilated results.

                                                      For users with low vision, many PDAs are now available with bright color displays. Palm claims that some (but not all) of its color models provide a variety of color and contrast adjustments for users with visual impairments, and there are also a number of third-party applications that allow customization of display colors. Pocket PCs apparently can also be modified to provide a higher contrast color scheme.

                                                      PDAs Designed Specifically for Users with Disabilities

                                                      Enkidu makes a line of portable communication devices known as the IMPACT family that is designed specifically for users with various disabilities. These devices provide speech output and support input via touchscreen, integrated buttons, keyboard, or external switches.

                                                       

                                                      Task-Based Accessibility Analysis

                                                      The core functionality considered to be necessary to effectively use a PDA consists of the following:

                                                      • Locating the PDA

                                                      • Turning the PDA on and off

                                                      • Storing an appointment

                                                      • Recalling an appointment

                                                      • Viewing the calendar

                                                      • Using the calculator

                                                      • Making and retrieving a memo or notes

                                                      • Storing contact information

                                                      • Recalling contact information

                                                      • Reading/composing/sending email

                                                      • Making and retrieving a TO DO list entry

                                                      • Syncing with computer

                                                      • Adjusting screen contrast

                                                      • Adjusting font sizes

                                                      • Receiving an alert

                                                      • Detecting battery status

                                                      • Charging or replacing batteries

                                                      • Installing software

                                                        Additional functionality that is typically inherent in PDA design includes the following:

                                                        • Tracking expenses

                                                          People may have difficulty accomplishing these basic tasks, depending on functional limitations resulting in an impairment, environmental or situational factors that create barriers, and the design of the PDA. Accessibility issues for each disability population are identified (taken in part from http://www.techdis.ac.uk/PDA/front.htm), along with an impact rating for each issue. The disability populations include people who have an impairment resulting from environmental or situational factors.

                                                          Low Vision

                                                          Individuals with low vision may be unable to use a PDA or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They cannot read printed materials (instruction manuals) because documentation is not available in alternative formats. They cannot locate or identify controls because documentation is not available in alternative formats, button labels are small, not all labeling on mechanical buttons has contrast (e.g., recessed labels), auditory/voice output is not available, or they cannot read text on the screen (no large print option or no contrast adjustment). They may have difficulty receiving visual information because the screen and text are small with no large print option, there is no or inadequate contrast adjustment, the interface is cluttered, or auditory/voice output is not available.

                                                          Table 88 lists the tasks identified as important for PDA use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                          Table88: Derivation of Impact for Low-Vision PDA Users

                                                           

                                                          Individuals who have low vision may have difficulty turning the PDA on and off because the button label is small or hard to distinguish if it is an icon. Storing and recalling an appointment, viewing the calendar, making and retrieving a memo or notes, storing and recalling contact information, reading/composing/sending email, making and retrieving a TO DO list entry, adjusting screen contrast, adjusting font sizes, receiving an alert, and detecting battery status all may be difficult because of the small font sizes used on PDAs. Poor contrast can also be a problem. In addition, those who use magnifiers may have difficulty using the stylus for inputs while also holding the magnifier. Screen contrast may not be a problem if a hardware control is provided rather than a software control. Alerts will not be problematic if they are provided by some means other than visual. While font sizes are sometimes adjustable, it is typically only for a limited number of applications, and users must first navigate through the small font size menus to get to the option to increase the font size. A similar concept applies for contrast that is controlled by software.

                                                          Blind

                                                          Individuals who are blind may be unable to use a PDA or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They cannot read printed materials (instruction manuals) because documentation is not available in alternative formats. They cannot locate or identify controls because documentation is not available in alternative formats or auditory/voice output is unavailable. They cannot read text on the screen or receive graphics and video information or visual alerts and signals because auditory/voice output is unavailable. They cannot make inputs because the PDA is based on a touchscreen (controls are not static and they cannot be differentiated tactilely), keyboard input is not available, and voice input is not available.

                                                          Table 89 lists the tasks identified as important for PDA use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                          Table89: Derivation of Impact for PDA Users who are Blind

                                                           

                                                          Users who are blind may have difficulty with all high-impact tasks because of their inability to see the screen in conjunction with the lack of voice output. In addition, controls are not tactilely differentiable. While some voice input is available, it is very limited in the applications that it works with.

                                                          Hard of Hearing

                                                          Individuals who are hard of hearing may be unable to use a PDA or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They cannot receive acoustic alerts and signals because adjustable volume level is unavailable or is inadequate, frequency range for tone options is unavailable, or alerts are not available in either a visual or tactile format.

                                                          Table 90 lists the tasks identified as important for PDA use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                          Table90: Derivation of Impact for Hard-of-Hearing PDA Users

                                                           

                                                          Individuals who are hard of hearing should have no problems using a PDA except for receiving any alerts that are provided in an auditory fashion. Alerts may not be detectable because of a lack of volume control, a lack of sufficient volume control, or the inability to change the frequency of the auditory output to accommodate an individual's needs.

                                                          Deaf

                                                          Individuals who are deaf may be unable to use a PDA or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They are unable to receive any auditory information because alerts are not available in either a visual or a tactile format.

                                                          Table 91 lists the tasks identified as important for PDA use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                          Table91: Derivation of Impact for PDA Users Who Are Deaf

                                                           

                                                          Individuals who are deaf should have no problems using a PDA except for receiving any alerts that are provided in an auditory fashion. Users who are deaf have no way to receive auditory alerts, and not all PDAs provide alerts in an alternate mode (visual or tactile).

                                                          Upper Mobility

                                                          Individuals who have an upper-mobility impairment may be unable to use a PDA or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They have difficulty handling printed materials (instruction manuals). They cannot lift or hold the device because it is too heavy, awkward in size, or difficult to grasp because of shape or lack of detents or rubbery material; this is particularly problematic when they must also manipulate the device. They have difficulty making inputs (via a pointing device, keyboard, dial, or other mechanical control mechanism), particularly accurate inputs, because the controls are too close together or too small, or the force required to activate the controls is too great, key-entry requirements are not minimized and keyboard input is unavailable, voice recognition is not available, or the stylus is not large enough.

                                                          Table 92 lists the tasks identified as important for PDA use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                          Table92: Derivation of Impact for Upper-Mobility Impaired PDA Users

                                                           

                                                          Individuals who have an upper-mobility impairment may have difficulty making and retrieving memos or notes and reading/composing/sending email because of the need to use the stylus for data entry, which can be difficult for this user population to grasp. The fine motor control movements that are required make other tasks difficult as well, including storing an appointment, recalling an appointment, viewing the calendar, using the calculator, storing and recalling contact information, making and retrieving a TO DO list entry, adjusting screen contrast and font sizes, and receiving an alert. While external keyboards are available and may increase the accessibility of control inputs, attaching the external keyboard creates another difficulty for the upper-mobility impaired user, who may have difficulty connecting the keyboard to the PDA because of a pinching action or needing to use two hands. The PDA can be difficult to turn on and off because the buttons are slick and are often recessed.

                                                          Lower Mobility

                                                          Table 93 lists the tasks identified as important for PDA use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                          Table93: Derivation of Impact for Lower-Mobility Impaired PDA Users

                                                           

                                                          Users with lower-mobility impairments should have no difficulties using a PDA.

                                                          Cognitive

                                                          Users with cognitive disabilities may be unable to use a PDA or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They may have trouble responding with an input in the allotted amount of time, possibly because the time provided is too short or the input mechanism is difficult to use. The menu structures may be too complex, both in terms of the language or graphical metaphors used and the navigation required. Users may have trouble reading text or interpreting graphics presented on the screen because the graphical metaphors or the language are too complex, verbal output is unavailable, screen and font size are small, or the interface is cluttered. They may have trouble finding desired features because the menu structures, language, or graphical metaphors are too complex. They may have difficulty entering information because they cannot spell to make text inputs, they do not understand how to use an input device, or the input requirements are not intuitive.

                                                          Table 94 lists the tasks identified as important for PDA use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                          Table94: Derivation of Impact for PDA Users Who Have a Cognitive Disability

                                                           

                                                          Individuals who have a cognitive disability may have difficulty because of poor reading and writing skills when storing an appointment, making and retrieving a memo or notes, and reading/composing/sending email. Navigation of the menus may also contribute to these difficulties. The terminology may be unclear, as may be the actions required to perform various inputs (e.g., clicking on "OK" to close an application). The concept of syncing with the computer may be difficult to grasp, and the wording and icons used for this feature may be too complex for the user with a cognitive disability.

                                                          Accessibility Features

                                                          A review of various PDA manufacturers' marketing data identified few features identified as accessible design components. Each accessibility feature is listed, along with its description, a determination of availability in the product line, and an assessment of whether the feature actually improves accessibility.

                                                          Screen-reader compatibility: Screen-readers allow users to obtain information without requiring them to perceive it visually. Visual information is translated into auditory output that is read to the user. The most common users of screen-reading technology are people who are blind or have low vision. Implementation in design would have a high impact for these groups and a neutral impact for other groups. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information. Jaws and other screen-readers are not available for mainstream PDAs. ViaVoice is available, but it is designed more for voice input than output, and output is very limited. ViaVoice provides some options for a person who is blind trying to use a PDA, but it is not a substitute for a screen-reader.

                                                          Additional features that would make an accessible PDA include the following (taken in part fromhttp://www.techdis.ac.uk/PDA/front.htm):

                                                          Adjustable display resolution: Display resolution impacts quality of the visual images provided as well as the amount of information that can be seen at a single time. Someone with low vision, for example, may need a lower display resolution, which increases the size of the images, in order to clearly interpret the information provided. Thus, allowing the display resolution to be adjusted enhances accessibility for various individuals. If implemented in design, it will have a high impact on those with low vision and, with the exception of people who are blind, a medium impact on other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                          Adjustable font size: Small fonts are very difficult to read for users with low vision, who typically need to squint or use a magnifying glass to read them. They are also more difficult to read under low-light conditions and when users are fatigued. Implementation in design of adjustable font sizes will have a high impact on users with low vision and, with the exception of people who are blind, a low impact on all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                          Adjustable contrast control: Adjustable contrast provides the option for users to adjust the color or brightness of the foreground and background shades to increase clarity. Ease of contrast adjustment—for example, through a hardware control—greatly improves the accessibility for many individuals, but for a low-vision user it could mean the difference between being able to use the PDA and not. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those with low vision and most users under very bright- or low-light conditions. It will have a low impact for other disability populations. Adjustable contrast will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                          Ability to adjust screen colors: Adjustable color provides the option for users to adjust the color or brightness of the foreground and background colors to increase clarity. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those with low vision and most users under very bright- or low-light conditions. It will have a low impact for other disability populations. Adjustable color will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                          Good screen lighting: Adjustable screen lighting provides the option to modify the screen lighting to accommodate low-light conditions. This is useful for all individuals in some contexts, and it can be useful for users with low vision in a wider variety of conditions. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for users with low vision and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                          Buttons with good tactile quality: Buttons that have texture and are not slick are easier to distinguish by feel and to use without slipping and accidentally activating an adjacent control. Implementation in design will have a medium impact on those who are blind and those with upper-mobility impairments. It will help solve the issues of having difficulty locating and identifying controls and difficulty making accurate inputs.

                                                          Adequately sized button labels and symbols: Users with low vision may have difficulty reading small labels or interpreting small symbols, particularly under low-light conditions. Implementation in design of adequately sized text and graphics will have a high impact on users with low vision and, with the exception of people who are blind, a low impact on all other users. It will help solve the issues of not being able to receive visual information and not being able to locate and identify controls.

                                                          Voice recognition: Voice recognition provides the option to make inputs verbally rather than through mechanical keypresses. This is particularly useful for those who cannot see to make the correct inputs, who cannot reach, or who have difficulty activating mechanical controls. Implementation in design will have a high impact for those who are blind, a medium impact for those who have low vision or an upper-mobility impairment, and a low impact for other users. It will help solve the issues of having difficulty entering/inputting information, difficulty making accurate inputs, difficulty lifting and holding the device, and possibly the difficulties of finding desired features and interpreting visual information.

                                                          Screen magnifier compatibility: An external screen magnifier increases the size of the display and button labels to enhance readability for those with low vision. It is an alternative, particularly if adjustable display resolution and font size are unavailable. Implementation in design will have a medium impact for those with low vision and a neutral impact for other users. It will help solve the issues of not being able to receive visual information and not being able to locate and identify controls.

                                                          Good use of visual metaphors; simple graphical navigational aids: Graphics are very useful for people who have difficulty reading text. Graphics can help unclutter a display by reducing the need for text. Implementation in design will have a high impact on the cognitively disabled, a medium impact for those with low vision, a neutral impact for people who are blind, and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issues of not being able to receive or understand visual information and of not being able to find desired features.

                                                          Clear menu structures: Simple menus and information organization help all users find the information they are looking for in a timely fashion. They require fewer inputs, which can be very beneficial for those who have trouble finding or manipulating controls. Implementation in design will have a high impact for all users. It will help solve the issues of not being able to receive or understand visual information and of not being able to find desired features.

                                                          Auditory, visual, and vibrating alerts: Alerts provided in a redundant fashion assist users with specific physical impairments as well as those who encounter a situation in which the normal alerting mode is insufficient. Implementation in design will have a high impact for users who are visually or hearing impaired and a medium impact for all other users. This will help solve the issues of not being able to receive visual or auditory information.

                                                          Use of simple language (not PDA-specific technical jargon): Some individuals may have difficulty using a device simply because they do not understand the terms that are used to refer to various features. Implementation of simple language will have a high impact on users who are have a cognitive disability and a medium impact on all other users. This will help solve the issues of not being able to respond in the allotted period of time or not being able to interpret visual information.

                                                          Minimal force requirement for activating controls: The effort required to activate a control may be more than an individual can provide, preventing that individual from using the device. Implementation of minimal force will have a high impact for users with upper-mobility impairments and a low impact for all other users. This will help solve the issue of not being able to make inputs.

                                                          Input alternatives other than stylus and touchscreen controls (e.g., keyboard): Users who cannot see or who have difficulty controlling certain input devices benefit from having an alternative input mechanism. Implementation in design will have a high impact for users who are blind, have a visual impairment, or who have an upper-mobility impairment. It will have a low impact for all other users. This will help solve the issue of not being able to provide inputs.

                                                          Choice of stylus size and style: A stylus is typically a very thin, smooth-surfaced pointing device, which can be difficult for some individuals to hold on to. Implementation of choice of styli will have a high impact on those with upper-mobility impairments and a neutral impact on all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to make accurate inputs.

                                                          PDA cases designed with materials that increase friction and grip: A PDA case typically houses the PDA device, even while in use. The case adds to the size and potentially awkward shape of the device itself, which can be cumbersome for some users. Implementation in design of friction will provide a medium impact for users with upper-mobility impairments and a neutral impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to lift and hold the device.

                                                          An overall shape and size (weight) that allows the device to be comfortably held in the average adult hand: The shape and size of a PDA can impact the ability to hold the device, in general, and more specifically, to hold and manipulate the device simultaneously. A lightweight, contoured shape will have a high to medium impact on users with upper-mobility impairments and a low impact on all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to lift and hold the device.

                                                          The availability or feasibility of mounting brackets for use with a desk or a wheelchair, or in a fixed location: A mobile holder is a mounting mechanism that can be attached to a wheelchair or other mobility aid or installed in a car to provide a consistent, secure place to store the PDA. When using a PDA, people often hold the device with one hand and make inputs with the other. This is problematic for people who may be unable to hold and manipulate the device simultaneously. If the device can be secured to another surface to handle the "holding component" of using the PDA, it will increase the accessibility for those with an upper-mobility impairment. If implemented in design, it will have a high impact for those with upper-mobility impairments and a low impact for other groups. It will help solve the issue of not being able to lift and hold the device.

                                                          Adjustable zoom: A zoom display provides the option to increase the predefined text size, reducing the number of lines of text available at any given time. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for users with low vision and a low impact for others. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                          Availability of user-defined sounds: Auditory alerts sometimes accompany visual alerts, which can serve to help differentiate one from another. For those who cannot see, however, or for the hearing impaired, a way to make the alerts more distinct and meaningful for each user will increase the ability to process and make use of the auditory alerts by themselves. Implementation in design will have a high impact for those who are hard of hearing or have visual impairments and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issues of not being able to receive visual information and difficulty receiving auditory information.

                                                          User manuals in alternate formats: Alternate formats consist of large print, Braille, and audio. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for users who are blind or have low vision, a medium impact for users with upper-mobility impairments, and no impact for other disability populations. It will help solve the issues of not being able to read or handle printed materials.

                                                          Large fonts on the display: Large fonts on the display increase the text size for circumstances in which small text is difficult to read. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those with low vision, a low impact for users who are blind, and a medium impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to read text on the screen.

                                                          Large display screens: Large display screens reduce screen clutter and increase the space available for larger text and graphics. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for low-vision and cognitively disabled users and a low impact for all others. It will help solve the issue of not being able to read text on the screen.

                                                          High-contrast displays: High contrast provides the option for users to adjust the color or brightness of the foreground and background colors so that the text stands out from the background, increasing readability. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those with low vision and most users under very bright- or low-light conditions. It will have a low impact for other disability populations. High contrast will help solve the issue of not being able to receive visual information.

                                                          Large keys: Large keys on the keypad increase the ability to accurately press the desired key without inadvertently pressing any adjacent keys. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for those who are blind, have low vision, or have poor fine motor control and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of having difficulty making accurate inputs.

                                                          More space between keys: More space between the keys increases the ability to differentiate the keys by touch and to press the desired key accurately without inadvertently pressing any adjacent keys. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for those who are blind, have low vision, or have an upper-mobility impairment and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issues of having difficulty locating controls and making accurate inputs.

                                                          Keys that are discernible by touch: Tactile separators typically provide either raised or indented spaces between controls to assist in tactile differentiation of numeric keys from other keys. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for those who are blind, a medium impact for those with upper-mobility impairments, and a low impact for all others. It will help solve the issues of not being able to locate and identify controls and not being able to make accurate inputs.

                                                          Simplified connector for power: Simplified connectors for power allow the user to use a single hand with minimal pinching or grasping to connect the power cord to the device. Simplified connectors are not limited to insertion in a single orientation. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for users who are blind, have low vision, or have an upper-mobility impairment and a low impact for all other users.

                                                          Simplified connector for headsets: Simplified connectors for headsets allow the user to use a single hand with minimal pinching or grasping to connect the headset cord to the device. Simplified connectors are not limited to insertion in a single orientation. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for users who are blind, have low vision, or have an upper-mobility impairment and a low impact for all other users.

                                                          Adjustable timeouts: Adjustable timeouts allow the individual to set the amount of time for features that have timeout settings. This accommodates those who may be slower in making inputs or who prefer to minimize the number of inputs, which may increase when a setting times out. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for those who are blind, have low vision, or have upper-mobility impairments. Adjustable timeouts will help solve the issues of not being able to receive visual information or not being able to respond within an allotted period of time.

                                                          Ability to request additional time: Ability to request additional time allows the user to be able to complete a transaction, despite the need to use more than the normal amount of allotted time to complete individual transaction components. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for most users, depending on the output mode (visual or auditory) from the device. Additional time will help solve the issues of not being able to receive visual or auditory information, not being able to reach controls, and not being able to grasp objects.

                                                          Adjustable volume: Volume control is important for auditory alerts. It is particularly important for hard-of-hearing people, but it is useful for all. Inclusion in design will have a medium impact for hard-of-hearing people and a low impact for all other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to receive auditory information.

                                                          Concave keys on the keypads: Concave or curved-inward keys help prevent fingers from slipping off the keys, which often results in inadvertent activation of adjacent keys. This type of key also increases the ability to differentiate the keys from each other and from the surrounding area on the device. Inclusion in design will have a medium to high impact for users who are blind, have low vision, or have an upper-mobility impairment and a low impact for all other users. Concave keys will help solve the issues of locating controls and making accurate inputs.

                                                          Keys that may be operated without human contact: Some individuals use pointing devices or other mechanisms to help them reach or activate controls. However, some electronic devices require some kind of moisture content or heat (characteristics of touch) to activate the controls; these electronic devices cannot be used by someone who needs to use an alternative input device. Controls that are operable without physical human contact will have a high impact for someone with an upper-mobility impairment and a low impact for all other users.

                                                          Rubberized keys: Rubberized keys help prevent fingers from slipping off the keys, which often results in inadvertent activation of adjacent keys. Textured keys also help the user differentiate the key itself from the surface of the device, particularly if the keys are not raised sufficiently. Inclusion in design will have a medium to high impact for users who are blind, have low vision, or have an upper-mobility impairment and a low impact for all other users. Rubberized keys will help solve the issues of locating controls and making accurate inputs.

                                                            Compliance with Government Regulations

                                                            The primary parts of Section 508 that are applicable to PDAs address self-contained, closed products (1194.25); functional performance requirements (1191.31); and documentation (1191.41). Many of these regulations have an impact on all users; others have a larger impact on one disability group versus another. More specifically, the regulations that mostly impact users who are blind address issues such as availability of visual information through an alternative sense (i.e., touch or sound), tactilely discernible controls, and voice output. The regulations that mostly impact users with low vision address the issues of font size, audio output, color and contrast settings, and text equivalents for graphical or other nontext elements. The regulation that mostly impacts users who have a cognitive disability addresses the issue of providing text equivalents for graphical or other nontext elements. The regulations that mostly impact users with upper-mobility impairments address the issues of multiple key entry for a single button press, requirements for grasping and simultaneous input, and force requirements. The regulations that mostly impact users who are deaf or hard of hearing address volume control and sound level output.

                                                            The following Section 508 regulations are seen as issues for PDAs:

                                                            • Verify that all controls and keys are tactilely discernible without activating the controls or keys. Because the system is primarily touchscreen based, it is not possible to have tactilely discernible controls unless they are redundant with hardware controls.

                                                            • Verify that this self-contained product is usable by people with disabilities, without requiring the end-user to attach assistive technology to the product. There is very little a user who is blind can accomplish with a PDA without the assistance of voice output. Unfortunately, screen-reader software is not yet available for a PDA.

                                                            • Verify that at least one mode of operation and information retrieval is provided that does not require user vision or, alternatively, that support is provided for assistive technology used by people who are blind or visually impaired. As indicated above, there is very little a user who is blind can accomplish with a PDA without the assistance of voice output. Unfortunately, screen-reader software is not yet available for a PDA.

                                                            • At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require visual acuity greater than 20/70 must be provided in audio and enlarged print output, working together or independently, or support for assistive technology used by people who are visually impaired must be provided. PDAs do not provide voice output, and they typically do not use more than a 10- or 12-point font, which is inadequate for someone with low vision. Increased font size is available only for a limited application set.

                                                              Conclusions

                                                              Based on the normalized impact score data, the calculated accessibility grade of each target population is described in Table 95.

                                                              Table95: Accessibility Grade by Target Population for PDAs

                                                              Televisions

                                                              TVs allow individuals to acquire news and other information, and they serve as a source of entertainment for those interested in sports, comedy, music, and other areas of interest. TVs are a particularly good source of information for people who cannot read. There are some human limitations that make TVs either inaccessible or difficult to use. People who have a visual disability may have difficulty perceiving visual information and providing accurate inputs. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may have difficulty perceiving auditory information. People who have a mobility disability may have difficulty activating controls. People who have a cognitive disability may have difficulty understanding control options.

                                                              Background

                                                              Television is the medium that entertains, informs, and educates; it can also serve as a companion to people who, due to circumstances beyond their control, are limited to their homes. Traditionally, people have used TVs to get news reports and watch movies, sports events, and sitcoms. However, televisions are not currently accessible to all users. Certain services have become available to make television more accessible to users with disabilities. Closed captioning and real-time captioning for live broadcasts has made televisions more accessible to users who are deaf or hard of hearing by allowing them to understand the auditory portion of television programs. Descriptive video services (DVSs) have increased accessibility for users with visual impairments by allowing them to better understand the visual portion of television programs. New challenges to accessibility have been posed with the rise of digital television and interactive services, but accessible design solutions have been proposed to overcome the barriers associated with this new technology.

                                                              History of Closed Captioning

                                                              In 1970, the National Bureau of Standards began investigating the possibility of using a portion of the network television signal not used for picture information to broadcast time information. The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) network took part in this project; and although the project didn't work, ABC suggested that it might be possible to send captions in the unused bandwidth.

                                                              In 1971, two captioning technologies were demonstrated at the First National Conference on Television for the Hearing Impaired. A second demonstration was held at Gallaudet College on February 15, 1972. In the second demonstration, ABC presented closed captions embedded in the normal broadcast of The Mod Squad. The Federal Government agreed to fund the development and testing of captioning.

                                                              In 1973, engineers at the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) started working on the project under contract to the Bureau of Education for the Handicapped of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The closed captioning system was successfully tested that year in Washington, D.C., with the captions broadcast using Line 21 of the vertical blanking interval. In 1976, the FCC set aside Line 21 for the transmission of closed captions in the United States.

                                                              The first closed captioned television series was broadcast on March 16, 1980. In 1982, the National Captioning Institute (NCI) developed real-time captioning for use in newscasts, sports events, and other live broadcasts.

                                                              NCI partnered with the ITT Corporation in the late 1980s to develop the first caption-decoding microchip that could be built directly into new television sets in 1989. In 1990, the Television Decoder Circuitry Act was passed. This act mandated that, by mid-1993, all new television sets 13 inches or larger manufactured for sale in the United States must contain caption-decoding technology.

                                                              In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed. Title III of ADA requires that public facilities such as hospitals, bars, shopping centers, and museums (but not movie theaters) provide access to verbal information on televisions, films, or slide shows. (Captioning is considered one way of making this information available.) Federally funded public service announcements must also be captioned.

                                                              To implement the closed captioning requirements of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the FCC established rules and implementation schedules for the captioning of television programming. These rules went into effect on January 1, 1998, and established an eight-year transition period for new programming. (At the end of the transition period, 100 percent of nonexempt new programs must be captioned.) A similar schedule was established for the captioning of Spanish-language programming.

                                                              Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, as strengthened by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, requires that federal agencies make their E&IT accessible to people with disabilities, including employees and the general public. The requirements of Section 508 apply to an agency's procurement of E&IT as well as to the agency's development, maintenance, or use of E&IT. All training and informational video and multimedia productions that support the agency's mission, regardless of format, must be open or closed captioned if they contain speech or other audio information necessary for the comprehension of the content. All training and informational video and multimedia productions that support the agency's mission, regardless of format, must include an audible description of the video content if they contain visual information necessary for the comprehension of the content.

                                                              As of 1998, new standards for captioning in high definition television were being created. These new standards greatly expanded the capabilities of captioning for HDTV, including—

                                                              • Variable size captions

                                                              • Multiple fonts and colors

                                                              • Different font and background styles

                                                              • More information bandwidth

                                                              • A larger symbol set

                                                                In addition to the obvious benefits to persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, captioned television is also a valuable tool for young children who are learning to read, illiterate adults who are learning to read, children and adults with learning disabilities, and people learning English as a second language.

                                                                A 1984 NCI study showed that hearing children who watched captioned TV were able to significantly improve their vocabulary and oral reading fluency.

                                                                Numerous studies on teaching ESL have shown that captioned television improves reading and listening comprehension, vocabulary, word recognition, and overall motivation to read among people who are learning English as a second language.

                                                                For children and adults with learning disabilities, captioned television helps improve comprehension and increases self-confidence.

                                                                Descriptive Video Service

                                                                DVS, also known as descriptive video information, is a service that enables visually impaired people to better understand the visual portions of television programs. A TV program with DVS has an additional audio track with a narrator describing the setting, what actions are taking place, who is talking, and any other important information that a visually impaired person would not be able to see. The narration is timed so it does not interfere with the dialogue.

                                                                The roots of DVS date back to the 1960s, when some attempts were made to fill in the gaps for Star Trek episodes through audio cassettes. In the 1970s, a former radio broadcaster began describing movies on a radio station in Philadelphia. In 1981, Margaret Pfanstiehl began describing live theatrical performances in Washington, D.C., and later developed descriptive techniques and described some programs that were broadcast over the radio reading service.

                                                                In 1985, stereo television broadcasting began. WGBH, a Boston public television station, began exploring possible ways to use the secondary audio program (SAP) channel to carry narrated descriptions of a program's key visual elements. The goal was to eliminate the need for a specially developed assistive device in order to receive the descriptions.

                                                                In 1988, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting awarded WGBH a grant to develop a complete business and operational plan for the permanent establishment of DVS. At the same time, WGBH funded all aspects of a national test of the service that was conducted in conjunction with PBS and other groups.

                                                                In 2000, spurred by the major networks' failure to offer DVS voluntarily, the FCC mandated the provision of DVS from broadcasters. But various groups (including the National Association of Broadcasters, the Motion Picture Association of America, and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association) challenged the mandate in court, claiming that the FCC exceeded its authority and, by compelling speech, violated the First Amendment. The core of the issue appeared to be one of cost.

                                                                The FCC measure required that network affiliates offer four hours a week of prime time or children's shows with DVS by June 2002; cable and satellite operators were to have a similar requirement for top networks. Certain programming, including live news, sports, and talk shows, would be exempt.

                                                                A number of legal decisions between 2000 and 2002 variously upheld and overturned the FCC mandate. In mid-June 2003, Senator John McCain introduced a bill (S. 1264, FCC Reauthorization Act of 2003) to reinstate the FCC mandate. The bill was approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and is now awaiting approval by the full Senate. There is no House bill as of this printing.

                                                                The application of DVS is still somewhat more limited than closed captioning. On television, it is available mainly in programming on PBS and a few other networks. Certain movies with descriptions added are available by direct mail, in libraries, and in video rental stores.

                                                                Real-Time Captioning

                                                                In 1982, NCI developed real-time captioning, a process for captioning newscasts, sports events, specials, and other live broadcasts as the events are being televised. In real-time captioning, court reporters with special training type at speeds of more than 225 words per minute to give viewers instantaneous access to live information. The viewer sees the captions within two to three seconds of the words being spoken, with the delay resulting from the time it takes the captioner to hear the words and key them using a stenotype machine, and for the captions to be encoded.

                                                                Real-time captioners write what they hear phonetically. The steno machine (also known as a shorthand machine) has only 24 keys and a number bar. The basic concept behind machine shorthand is phonetics, where combinations of keys represent sounds, but the actual theory used is much more complex than straight phonetics. Multiple keys can be depressed simultaneously on steno machines to create different word combinations. No two captioners write exactly the same way, so each has a custom dictionary (typically containing 50,000 to 100,000 entries) composed of the phonetics and the corresponding English, which the captioner uses to build words and to create punctuation. The steno then goes into a computer system, where it is translated into text and commands. The captioning software on the computer formats the stream of text into captions and sends it to a caption encoder.

                                                                Accessibility of Digital Television and Interactive Services

                                                                Interacting with a modern television set, even for an action as basic as selecting a program, has become far more complex with the advent of digital television. The digital set-top boxes (STBs) used to access digital programming offer access to a large amount of information, entertainment, and services via electronic program guides (EPGs), which require users to scroll through lots of on-screen text and graphics to select programs, as well as to access advanced features like parental controls and advance scheduling. The highly visual nature of this style of interface has created serious barriers for blind or low-vision consumers.

                                                                These barriers are similar in nature to those that were created by graphical user interfaces for computer operating systems and by the rise of the World Wide Web. Over time, screen-readers and other technologies emerged to provide access to these environments, but those solutions have not yet been applied to STBs for digital television. The automatic conversion of EPGs to synthesized speech has proven problematic.

                                                                In February 2001, the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) at Boston public broadcasting station WGBH partnered with America Online to explore ways to make interactive TV accessible to audiences who are blind or visually impaired. They focused initially on making the EPG more accessible, with the idea that the majority of the solutions required to make the EPG accessible will also apply to making other content accessible with the STB. Funding for the research was provided by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

                                                                In August 2003, NCAM published A Developer's Guide to Creating Talking Menus for Set-top Boxes and DVDs. This document discusses the accessibility problems posed by the EPG and presents possible technological solutions to the problems and guidelines for content development.

                                                                According to the guide, there are challenges in finding the best strategy for translating on-screen visual information into a spoken equivalent, and there are also technological challenges in actually delivering the spoken information. The primary technological challenges result from the operating constraints of current STB hardware. The computers inside American STBs are too primitive to support the additional capability needed to provide voice output.

                                                                The guide states that speech synthesis is a far more feasible solution than the use of prerecorded speech, because the number of audio samples that would be required in the latter case would be unworkable. A system could be designed where the synthesized speech is provided from a central server along with the current program guide information, but the bandwidth and storage requirements of this approach make it unfeasible. The STB itself could perform the speech synthesis, which is a trivial task for most modern computers, but until the computing power of STBs catches up with that of desktop systems, this approach is not possible.

                                                                Other alternatives include using a more powerful third-party STB, such as a TiVO or other personal digital recorder, to do the speech synthesis, or to dispense with the STB altogether and route the cable signal through a desktop computer.

                                                                For users with low vision and/or other disabilities, the ability to adjust various aspects of the display (such as font sizes and text/background contrast settings) would be beneficial. In the article "Interactive Digital Television Services for People with Low Vision," Sylvie Perera (n.d.) advocates the use of a smart card identification system to allow low-vision users to set personal preferences for such features as text size, content layout, speech output, audio description, color combinations, timeouts, reminders and alerts, and so forth. This scheme could also be extended to assist users with other disabilities by allowing the smart card preferences to include subtitles, signing, and other features.

                                                                Task-Based Accessibility Analysis

                                                                The core functionality considered to be necessary to effectively use a TV consists of the following:

                                                                • Turning the TV on and off

                                                                • Changing the input source

                                                                • Changing the channel

                                                                • Adjusting the volume

                                                                • Activating closed captioning (CC)

                                                                • Accessing the EPG

                                                                • Activating DVS

                                                                • Adjusting picture quality settings

                                                                • Using picture-in-picture (PIP) features

                                                                  Additional functionality that is typically inherent in TV design includes the following:

                                                                  • Setting the time

                                                                  • Automatically or manually adding/deleting channels

                                                                  • Setting the TV to turn on and off automatically

                                                                    In many cases, these functions require or are facilitated by use of the remote control.

                                                                    People may have difficulty accomplishing these basic tasks, depending on functional limitations resulting in an impairment, environmental or situational factors that create barriers, and the design of the TV. Accessibility issues for each disability population are identified, along with an impact rating for each issue. The disability populations include people who have an impairment resulting from environmental or situational factors.

                                                                    Low Vision

                                                                    Individuals with low vision may be unable to use a TV or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They cannot read printed materials (instruction manuals) because documentation is not available in alternative formats. They cannot locate or identify controls because documentation is not available in alternative formats, button labels are small, not all labeling on mechanical buttons has contrast (e.g., recessed labels), or auditory/voice output is not available. They may have difficulty receiving visual information because the text is small with no large print option, there is no or inadequate contrast adjustment, or the screen resolution (picture quality) is poor.

                                                                    Table 96 lists the tasks identified as important for TV use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                                    Table96: Derivation of Impact for Low-Vision TV Users

                                                                     

                                                                    Individuals who have low vision may have difficulty changing the channel because the text labels on the remote is small, there is no verbal output to verify the selected channel, and they cannot read the text on the TV screen, which is at a distance. They may also have difficulty activating DVS because there is no dedicated button on the remote control and the font size of the menus to activate the feature is too small.

                                                                    Blind

                                                                    Individuals who are blind may be unable to use a TV or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They cannot read printed materials (instruction manuals) because documentation is not available in alternative formats. They cannot locate or identify controls because documentation is not available in alternative formats, auditory/voice output is unavailable, or there is no nib on the "5" key (on the remote control). They may have difficulty receiving visual information because there is no audio output for TV set-up.

                                                                    Table 97 lists the tasks identified as important for TV use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                                    Table97: Derivation of Impact for TV Users Who Are Blind

                                                                     

                                                                    Individuals who are blind may be unable to activate DVS because there is no dedicated button for those services on the remote control or because there is no auditory output for the menus, which users who are blind are unable to read.

                                                                    Hard of Hearing

                                                                    Individuals who are hard of hearing may be unable to use a TV or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They have difficulty receiving auditory information or understanding speech information because CC is not available or is difficult to activate; the quality of CC is poor; or CC is not available with sound output (i.e., CC is only available when the TV is muted), which may be desired by a companion who is not hearing impaired.

                                                                    Table 98 lists the tasks identified as important for TV use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                                    Table98: Derivation of Impact for Hard-of-Hearing TV Users

                                                                     

                                                                    Individuals who are hard of hearing may have difficulty adjusting the volume because the volume does not go high enough or the sound becomes distorted as the volume increases. They may have difficulty using CC because the quality is poor.

                                                                    Deaf

                                                                    Individuals who are deaf may be unable to use a TV or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They are unable to receive any auditory information because CC is not available or is difficult to activate; the quality of CC is poor; or CC is not available with sound output (i.e., CC is only available when the TV is muted), which may be desired by a companion who is not hearing impaired.

                                                                    Table 99 lists the tasks identified as important for TV use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                                    Table99: Derivation of Impact for TV Users Who Are Deaf

                                                                     

                                                                    People who are deaf may have difficulty using CC because closed captioning is unavailable or the quality is poor.

                                                                    Upper Mobility

                                                                    Individuals who have an upper-mobility impairment may be unable to use a TV or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They have difficulty handling printed materials (instruction manuals). They cannot lift or hold the remote control because it is too heavy, awkward in size, or difficult to grasp because of shape or lack of detents or rubbery material; this is particularly problematic when they must also manipulate the device. They have difficulty making inputs, particularly accurate inputs, because the controls are too close together or too small, or the force required to activate the controls is too great, key-entry requirements are not minimized, or voice recognition is not available.

                                                                    Table 100 lists the tasks identified as important for TV use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                                    Table100: Derivation of Impact for Upper-Mobility Impaired TV Users

                                                                     

                                                                    Users may have difficulty handling large remotes or pressing keys on the remote that require fine motor control.

                                                                    Lower Mobility

                                                                    Table 101 lists the tasks identified as important for TV use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                                    Table101: Derivation of Impact for Lower-Mobility Impaired TV Users

                                                                     

                                                                    Users with lower mobility impairments should have no difficulties using a TV.

                                                                    Cognitive

                                                                    Users with cognitive disabilities may be unable to use a TV or portions of the core functionality for one or more of the following reasons: They may have trouble responding with an input in the allotted amount of time, possibly because the time provided is too short; the input mechanism is difficult to use; or the menu structures are too complex, in terms of both the language and graphical metaphors used and the navigation required. They may have trouble reading text or interpreting graphics presented on the screen because the graphical metaphors or the language is too complex and verbal output is unavailable. They may have trouble finding desired features because the menu structures, language, or graphical metaphors are too complex.

                                                                    Table 102 lists the tasks identified as important for TV use. For each task, the priority is given, along with a task accessibility score and the resulting impact score. The tasks are arranged according to impact score.

                                                                    Table102: Derivation of Impact for TV Users Who Have a Cognitive Disability

                                                                     

                                                                    Individuals who have a cognitive disability should have no difficulties using the TV.

                                                                    Accessibility Features

                                                                    A review of various TV manufacturers' marketing data found a single feature identified as an accessible design component. This component is listed along with its description and an assessment of the usefulness of the feature for disability groups. While this feature was designed with a particular disability population in mind, it benefits and has been used by a much wider variety of people than anticipated and may be considered a universal design feature.

                                                                    Closed captioning: TV supplies information both visually and acoustically. But for some programs—news broadcasts, for example—the visual information is very limited, which inhibits hearing-impaired people from benefiting from the TV as an information source. The Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990 requires decoder chips in U.S. TVs; as of 1993, all 13-inch or larger TVs are required to have decoder circuitry built in to provide CC. A phase-in is underway to make CC available for all TV programming. In addition to helping the hearing impaired, CC benefits those whose native language differs from the programming language, and children or others learning to read (http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/closedcaption.html). CC has greatly enhanced the accessibility of TVs for the hearing impaired, having a high impact if implemented in design, and serves as a useful feature for the population as a whole (low impact). It helps solve the issue of not being able to receive auditory information.

                                                                    Additional features that would make a TV more accessible include the following:

                                                                    Selection of SAP via a dedicated button on the remote control: SAP is an often-used program, most commonly used for translation of English programming into Spanish, or less commonly to provide sign language interpretation. Access to this programming option is often nonintuitive and cannot be done quickly. Access through a dedicated remote control button would greatly enhance accessibility for those challenged by sound or cognition, having a medium impact for these groups if implemented in design, and a neutral impact for other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to interpret auditory or visual information.

                                                                    Selection of DVS via a dedicated button on the remote control: Access to DVS is typically through a menu structure that is often nonintuitive and cannot be done quickly. Access through a dedicated remote control button would greatly enhance accessibility for those who are blind or have low vision, having a high impact for these groups if implemented in design, and a neutral impact for other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to interpret visual information.

                                                                    Selection of CC via a dedicated button on the remote control: Access to CC is typically through a menu structure that is often nonintuitive and cannot be done quickly. Access through a dedicated remote control button would greatly enhance accessibility for those challenged by sound, having a medium impact for this group if implemented in design, and a neutral impact for other users. It will help solve the issue of not being able to interpret auditory information.

                                                                    Vivid picture for clarity of CC: CC is typically provided in all capital letters, which is harder to read than mixed caps. In addition, the readability varies with the quality of the television on which it is viewed. For example, HDTV sets offer a higher resolution image and typically greater clarity of CC material. Good picture quality can greatly enhance accessibility of information provided textually. Implementation in design will have a high impact for those with visual and hearing impairments and a low impact for all others. It will help solve the issues of not being able to receive auditory and visual information.

                                                                    High-quality audio system: For those people who depend on the auditory output of the TV to obtain information, quality of audio output can have a large impact on ability to perceive information accurately, especially for those who have a visual disability and cannot benefit from the redundancy provided by the images. Implementation in design will have a high impact for those who are hard of hearing and a medium impact for all other users, with the exception of those who are deaf. It will help solve the issue of having difficulty receiving auditory information.

                                                                    User manuals in alternate formats: Alternate formats consist of large print, Braille, and audio. Accessible electronic formats are also often acceptable. Inclusion in design will have a high impact for users who are blind or have low vision and a neutral impact for other disability populations. It will help solve the issues of being unable to read or handle printed materials.

                                                                    Voice-activated remote controls: A voice-activated remote control will allow the user to provide all inputs via voice rather than through mechanical keypresses. If implemented in design, this will have a high impact for people who are blind and those with upper-mobility impairments, a medium impact for those with low vision, and a neutral impact for other users. It will help solve the issues of not being able to locate or identify controls, not being able to lift and hold the remote control, or not being able to make accurate inputs, and it may help with not being able to find desired features or respond within the allotted time.