Georgia Tech Research Institute
Accessibility Assistant

Accessibility Assistant


Control Panel Buttons (3 of 11)

Issue: Buttons are not identifiable as operable controls.

A button intended to activate an accessibility mode is so stylized that it is not recognizable as a control.  The button is merely a contact sensitive area on the front of the machine labeled only with an ADA wheelchair icon.

Buttons that are designed to appear "sleek" or "modern" may not be readily recognizable as operable controls. For example, users may interact with the device by touching backlit areas of the control panel surface that use electrostatic touch detection, rather than traditional mechanical controls. While these sorts of designs may be visually appealing, users may have difficulty identifying the operable controls on the device - particularly users with cognitive impairments, or users who are blind and rely on touch to perceive the presence and location of controls.

Populations Impacted: Users who are blind; users with cognitive impairments.

Potential Solution:
  • Ensure that buttons are readily identifiable as operable controls to all users. Buttons should be easily identifiable as operable controls through their appearance, tactile characteristics, and/or labels. Buttons should stand out from the control panel by virtue of visual or physical characteristics so that users can identify them by sight or touch. Clear labeling and instructions ("Press here") may make it easier for users to identify non-traditional types of buttons.

  • A button intended to activate an accessibility mode is more readily identifable as a control.  A physical button that is distinct from the surrounding surface is provided, and the button is labeled 'Press for ADA mode'.
Applicable Guidelines:
ADA-ABA - 707.3, 707.6.1
Section 508 - 1194.23(k)(1), 1194.25(c), 1194.31(a)
Section 255 - 1193.41(a)(3)(b)
HFDS -,,,, 6 4.1.23