Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

How to Make Keypads More Accessible to the Blind and Partially Sighted

by Donna J. Jodhan

How can companies make their keypads more accessible to those who are blind and partially sighted? It is really not too difficult and the answer has indeed been around for many years.

If you were to pay attention to such things as telephone keypads and calculators as an example, you will notice that in almost all cases, there is a small raised bump on the #5 key. In some cases, there may also be a raised bump on the #0 key. These bumps enable a blind person to quickly orient themselves to the keypad.

Of course, there are other tricks to the trade. Some keypads may have small cuts to certain keys that enable a blind person to find their way around quickly. Some keypads have keys that are a bit larger than normal and if you expand this topic, you will find that some keyboards also employ other types of strategies.

I recently came across a keyboard that has a sunken circle to indicate the Windows key. Some keyboards also have spaces between groups of keys to help orientation. Example; after the f1, f2, f3, and f4 keys on an IBM keyboard, there is a space. Then the pattern is repeated after the f8 key, and again after the f12 key. On this same keyboard, the f and j keys have raised cuts on their bottom edges.

This is how it is done. This is how one can make their keypad more user friendly to blind and partially sighted users.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all:
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility:
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns:

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