Technology advancements are driving the rapid adoption of interactive kiosks in a number of verticals, including the restaurant, retail, and hospitality industries. In fact, Grandview Research valued the interactive kiosk market at $28.45 billion in 2021 and forecasts even more growth, at a 7.1 percent CAGR, through 2030.
Since most consumers are accustomed to using touchscreen personal devices, businesses can extend that same ease of use to interactive kiosks. Using familiar gestures like swipe and pinch, touchscreen kiosks provide convenient ways for customers to find items, order products, pay bills, shorten frustrating long lines at checkout, and make buying decisions simple and painless. These positive user experiences can lead to customer loyalty and higher customer lifetime value.
However, the same quality of user experiences needs to be offered to everyone. Unfortunately, many legacy solutions still have gaps in accessibility. Laws and regulations, such as Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), include information on how kiosks can be more accessible.
What the industry needs now are innovators willing to step up to develop solutions and advance the self-service and interactive kiosk space with more accessible solutions. Solutions providers must consider alternative ways to interact with their systems, for example, with voice interfaces. Many consumers use Siri, Alexa, and other voice-based systems in their everyday lives, and using similar types of interaction can enhance kiosk use for people with visual impairments. A screen reader and the ability to respond with a spoken “yes” or “no” can make it easier to confirm data, rather than having to key information or use buttons to complete tasks.
However, it’s important to recognize that simply adding a headphone jack to a kiosk isn’t enough to make it accessible. The system should guide users through steps to complete tasks and provide all the details other users can access, such as disclaimers and legal notices.
Another option to make interactive touchscreens more accessible for people with visual impairments is to enhance the interface with tactile responses. Haptics technologies can provide a way to navigate an interactive kiosk by directing users with vibrations, pulses, roughness, or raised shapes, even creating braille. This enhancement can help users navigate accurately and complete tasks more quickly.
Innovators also need to remember that not every consumer can easily use a touchscreen, for example, those with prosthetics or limited use of their hands. Innovators can make kiosks more accessible to these users by integrating a machine vision system that recognizes gestures, like pointing or swiping, so users wouldn’t need to touch the screen to use the kiosk.
How Will You Advance Kiosk Accessibility?
No doubt, solution builders have a challenge ahead of them when it comes to designing more accessible kiosks. But success will come to companies that take a big-picture approach. Businesses still need technologies that work together seamlessly, and that also means any integrations to enhance accessibility.
Explore how you can offer a solution that provides convenient, efficient experiences to all users and allows businesses to manage them as a part of their total IT environment. Innovators who achieve these goals will find a market eager to deploy practical kiosk solutions that address the needs of all users.