Georgia Tech Research Institute
Accessibility Assistant

Accessibility Assistant


Control Panel Buttons (4 of 11)

Issue: Buttons that are small and close together may be difficult to differentiate or activate without activating adjacent controls.

A numeric keypad and other control panel buttons are shown.  The buttons are very small and close together.

If control panel buttons are small and are placed too close together, they may be difficult for users without fine motor control to activate without accidentally activating adjacent controls. Small, tightly spaced control panel buttons are also more difficult for users who are blind to differentiate by feel.

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

Potential Solution:
  • Ensure that buttons are large and are spaced far enough apart to minimize the possibility of accidental activation of adjacent buttons and to enhance tactile differentiation. When designing the control panel for a kiosk, provide adequate space between buttons. According to the Human Factors Design Standard (HFDS), minimum spacing of 0.5" (with 2" preferred) is recommended for buttons that are not part of keyboards. Make sure that the diameter of the buttons is large enough (up to a maximum diameter of 1") that a user who does not have fine motor control is able to activate a button even if he or she does not hit the button directly in the center. Increasing button size and spacing will also aid those who need to differentiate the buttons by feel. Buttons with very little separation can be problematic for those who depend on the tactile quality of the buttons to find the ones they need.

  • A numeric keypad and other control panel buttons are shown.  The buttons are large and have around half an inch of space between them.
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