• Kat Fenton

Assistive Technologies for Disabled Peoples

Updated: Jun 2



In my last article, I went over the disabilities listed in the CPACC guide as well as the barriers people with those disabilities face. Today, I'll be going over the assistive technologies that correspond with each disability. I'd also like to go over etiquette.


Visual Disabilities

  • Screen readers

  • Audio description

  • Assistive tech compatible markup

  • Canes

  • Service animals

  • GPS with audio

  • Braille

  • Raised indicators on walkways

  • Tactile building models

  • Software that increases screen contrast

Auditory Disabilities

  • Sign language

  • Live captioning

  • Transcripts

  • Visual alerts

  • Teletype

  • Assistive listening devices

  • Hearing aids

  • Cochlear implants

  • Frequency modulation systems

  • Infrared systems

Deaf-blindness Disabilities

  • Screen reader

  • Braille keyboard

  • Cane

  • Service animal

  • Tactile navigation

  • Tactile sign language

  • Deaf-blind translator

Speech Disabilities

  • Text to speech programs

  • Articulation aids

  • Voice carryover

Mobility Disabilities

  • Switch devices

  • Adaptive keyboards

  • Voice control

  • Eye tracking

  • Speech to text software

  • Mouth stick

  • Head wand

  • Sip and puff switch

  • Oversized mouse or keyboard

  • Wheelchair

  • Walkers and crutches

  • Elevators

  • Large buttons

  • Velcro closures

Cognitive Disabilities

  • Word prediction

  • Simple content and navigation

  • Visual and audio alternatives

  • Additional time for comprehension

  • Computer assistance

  • Video and audio assistance

  • Pens with scanning capabilities

  • Voice output technologies

  • Special fonts

  • Dictation

Seizure Disabilities

  • Flicker free monitors

  • Monitor glare guards

  • No glare glasses

  • Service animals

  • Alert wearables

Psychological Disabilities

  • Text-to-speech

  • Mood management software

  • Voice recognition

  • Noise monitoring

Multiple Disabilities

  • Programmable keyboards

  • Writing support tools

  • Communication aids

  • Text to braille translation

Each disability comes with its own unique set of barriers. That's why it's important to be familiar with all of them and the technologies and strategies they use to overcome them. With that being said, it's also important to follow basic etiquette rules to avoid offending or potentially hurting anyone.

  1. Speak directly to the person, not anyone who may be accompanying them

  2. Do not make assumptions about what a person can or cannot do

  3. Offer assistance only if the person requests it or after asking permission

  4. Acknowledge the individual's ability to make decisions on their own

  5. Use language that puts people first

  6. Don't refer to people by their disability

When not speaking to a person but instead designing for the web, there's also rules that should be followed to achieve beautiful and accessible design. Follow the rules of POUR. All content should be Perceivable (with text alternatives and captioning), Operable (functional from a keyboard and non-time based), Understandable (readable and predictable), Robust (compatible with past and future tools). These core traits form the basis for all WCAG 2.1 materials.


For a more tangible environment, it's important to make sure you're following 7 rules for accessibility:

  1. Equitable use

  2. Flexibility in use

  3. Simple and intuitive

  4. Perceptible information

  5. Tolerance for error

  6. Low physical effort

  7. Size and space for approach and use

In the next article, I'll go over standards, laws, and management strategies. This will include local, national, and regional laws and regulations. You'll also probably want to do a bit of your own research to see if your local county or city has any further specifics.