People with mobility impairment have physical impairments that substantially limit movement and fine motor controls, such as lifting, walking, and/or typing. Mobility impaired individuals may experience difficulties in using the computer’s input devices and in handling storage media.

Solutions can include switches, latches, and controls that are easy to manipulate, and diskettes and media that are easy to insert and remove. Other solutions include alternate input capabilities, such as voice input or the ability to enter information at the their own pace.

One example from the W3C is: Sequences of keystrokes can be typed, one at a time, rather than simultaneously as in Ctrl+Alt+Del.

Assistive Technology, operating systems, and hardware platforms can help support these needs. Additionally, creating or retrofitting an accessible website will make the site more compatible with voice input and control technologies.

Motor Disabilities

Individuals with motor disabilities may have weakness, limitations of muscular control (such as involuntary movements, lack of coordination, or paralysis), and limitations of sensation, joint problems, pain or missing limbs. Additionally, these conditions can affect the hands and arms as well as other parts of the body.

Individuals with motor disabilities that affect the hands or arms may use any of the following or a combination:

  • Specialized mouse
  • Keyboard with a layout of keys that matches their range of hand motion
  • Pointing Device (head-mouse, head-pointer or mouth-stick)
  • Voice-Recognition Software
  • Eye-Gaze System
  • Other Assistive Technologies (That would help access and interact with the information on a web page)

Individuals with motor disabilities may activate commands by typing single keystrokes in sequence with a head pointer rather than typing simultaneous keystrokes to activate commands. Additionally, individuals with motor disabilities may need more time when filling out interactive forms. Generally, they need to concentrate and maneuver carefully to select each keystroke.

Here are some examples of accessibility barriers that people with motor disabilities affecting the hands or arms may encounter:

  • Time-limited response options on Web pages
  • Browsers and authoring tools that do not support keyboard alternatives for mouse commands
  • Forms that cannot be tabbed through in a logical order

article courtesy Debra Ruh, formerly of TecAccess.net, now of RuhGlobal.com

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