How To Increase Accessibility Of Digital Kiosks

Published July 10, 2023

Interactive, self-service kiosks have revolutionized everyday transactions in this increasingly digitized world. Ordering a meal at a fast-food restaurant checking in for a flight, paying for groceries: these digital standpoints are central to the customer experience across various industries. But despite their widespread utility, a key concern often remains under-addressed: accessibility. 

The importance of accessible kiosks

Designing digital kiosks and self-service terminals inclusively doesn’t just enhance user experience. It also aligns with legal requirements. Laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require businesses to make reasonable accommodations to make their services accessible to all, including those with disabilities. Similar regulations exist in other parts of the world, such as the European Accessibility Act in the European Union and the Disability Discrimination Act in Australia. Non-compliance can lead to penalties, litigation, and damage to a business's reputation.

Moreover, providing accessible kiosks sends a powerful message about your business's values. It shows that your organization cares about all its customers and is committed to providing equitable service. 

Tips for making your kiosks accessible

With some advanced planning and thoughtful execution, it is possible to make your digital kiosks more accessible. Here are a few proven tips that can help you achieve this objective effectively.

Accommodate a broad range of disabilities

When planning for automated touchpoints, consider the diverse range of potential users. Not every customer has the same abilities or limitations. For instance, someone with vision impairment might need a screen reader or braille input, while someone with a spinal cord issue could benefit from an adjustable-height kiosk. By integrating such features in the design phase, you can avoid retrofitting kiosks later, which can be both costly and time-consuming.

Adjustable settings

Incorporate features that allow users to control the audio output volume, display brightness, and text size. For instance, a movie ticket kiosk could provide options to enlarge text size or increase the volume of voice prompts. 

Additionally, include a headphone jack so users with hearing aids that have direct audio input can connect directly to the kiosk for clearer audio, which can be essential in noisy environments.

Provide clear instructions

Not all users have the same level of familiarity with digital interfaces. Clear instructions help bridge the knowledge gap and make the kiosk accessible to a wider range of users, including older adults, individuals with disabilities, and those with limited technological expertise.

Instructions should be written in plain language, avoiding technical jargon or complex terminology. This way, users with varying language proficiency levels can understand and follow them effectively. You may also want to think about cultural sensitivities in the wording for an inclusive experience for users from diverse backgrounds. 

Your kiosk’s instructions should also be available in multiple formats, such as visual, tactile, and auditory, to accommodate different learning styles and accessibility needs. Some people may prefer reading on-screen instructions, while others may rely on auditory cues. 

Error handling

Design interactive displays to handle user errors effectively. If a user makes a mistake, the system should provide explicit feedback about the error instead of generic error messages or codes that may confuse users further. For example, if you enter an invalid password, the kiosk should clearly state that the password is incorrect rather than just displaying a generic error message.

Along with the explanation, the kiosk should offer guidance on how to correct the error. This can be in the form of specific instructions or suggestions to guide users through the correct steps. If a required field was left empty, the kiosk could instruct the user to fill in the missing information. And whenever possible, the system should use visual cues, such as highlighting the erroneous input or displaying a visual indicator of the error. 

Implement multiple input methods

Self-service terminals should not exclusively rely on one type of input, like touchscreens, which may not be usable for all customers. Implementing different input options, like tactile keypads and voice recognition, can make the kiosk more accessible. 

Tactile keypads allow users to interact with the terminal by pressing physical buttons instead of relying on touchscreens, and voice recognition technology enables interaction with the kiosk by speaking commands or providing verbal responses. 

Ensure physical and digital accessibility

The placement of your kiosk matters just as much as its digital interface. Place it in an area that is accessible to everyone, including wheelchair users. The controls should be within reach, and the interface should be intuitive, avoiding complex menus that could confuse users or make the kiosk difficult to navigate.

Prioritize user testing

Regular user testing with people of varying abilities can help uncover accessibility issues that might go unnoticed otherwise. It's a crucial part of the design process that shouldn't be skipped. Feedback and test results can guide improvements and ensure that a kiosk functions well for everyone.

Closing thoughts

Making accessibility a priority when implementing self-service kiosks can be a game-changer for your business. By ensuring that your products and services are available to a broader range of people, including those with disabilities or unique needs, you open your doors to a whole new world of customers. This inclusivity creates a ripple effect that goes beyond numbers on a balance sheet.

Imagine how empowered customers feel when they can independently engage with a kiosk, regardless of their ability status. It's a transformative experience that fosters a deep sense of satisfaction and loyalty. With the tips provided in this post, you can work towards creating an environment where every customer feels seen, heard, and valued.


Accessibility Services for Small to Medium-Sized Businesses - Free Online Event!

Join us on Wednesday, May 1st, at 1 PM ET for a free online event to explore how to evaluate and select accessibility services for your small to medium-sized business. Click here to learn more about this event and to register.

Click here to see our Events Calendar.'s 2024 events will utilize the Zoom Events platform, offering a virtual expo hall for attendees to meet with prospective vendors. If your company is interested in being part of the expo hall, don't hesitate to get in touch with

Vendor Directory offers the premier impartial listing of digital accessibility vendors.  Search for products and services by category, subcategory, or company name.  Check out our new Vendor Directory here.