Georgia Tech Research Institute

Card Readers (4 of 7)

Issue: Users may have difficulty swiping cards through the full length of the card reader slot.

A swipe-style card reader on a kiosk is shown.  The card reader slot is located along the top of the display on the machine.  The slot is oriented horiztonally, and is about 12 inches long.

Some card readers require users to swipe cards through a slot that is several inches long. Users with limited reach (due to upper mobility impairments, or due to interacting with the machine from a wheelchair) may be unable to swipe the card through the entire slot in one continuous movement, which may result in a card reader error.

Populations Impacted: Users with upper mobility impairments; users with lower mobility impairments.

Potential Solutions:
  • Ensure that the card reader slot is fully within the reach envelope of users. Avoid using card readers with long swipe distances (longer than 6 to 7 inches). Orient the card slot vertically, which reduces the amount of lateral reach that is required. Locate the card slot in accordance with the reach ranges defined in section 308 of the ADA-ABA guidelines.

  • A swipe-style card reader on a kiosk is shown.  The card reader slot is located along the right side of the machine.  The slot is oriented vertically, and is about 6 inches long.
  • Provide a card reader that can be repositioned by the user. A card reader that can swivel or slide towards the user may allow users to adjust the card reader into a usable position without having to reposition themselves.

  • Provide a reader that requires the user to insert, rather than swipe, the card. Inserting a card into the reader requires less range of motion than swiping a card.

  • Provide support for contactless card reading. Contactless cards (which use barcodes or RFID technology to store data) eliminate the need for the user to swipe the card.

Applicable Guidelines:
ADA-ABA - 308.2.1, 308.2.2, 308.3.1, 308.3.2
Section 508 - 1194.25(j), 1194.31(f)
HFDS -,,,,