Designing for the disabled

We may throw an occasional temper tantrum at the machine that has taken over from the human in public places, but in fact, we take for granted how easy these terminals are to use. The difference between a well designed and badly designed public access terminal is often the amount of thought that has gone into the ergonomics of the interface. What is surprising, however, is how little thought is spared for the elderly, infirm or disabled user, particularly since we are living in a society with an increasingly large number of elderly people.

In a move to try to redress the imbalance, the Include Consortium has been funded by the EU Commission to advise projects on how to incorporate the requirements of disabled and elderly users in the design of telematic systems. The consortium has produced a free booklet to explain the range of disabilities that make access difficult, and to provide information on how terminals can be designed to be as accessible as possible.

Copies of the booklet are available free of charge from Dr John Gill of the Royal National Institute for the Blind.

RNIB

Tel: 0171-388 1266