Georgia Tech Research Institute
 
Accessibility Assistant

Accessibility Assistant

Issues

Headphone Jacks (2 of 5)

Issue: Locating the headphone jack may be difficult for users with visual impairments.

A user, who is blind, is interacting with a kiosk.  The user is not wearing headphones, because the headphone jack is located in a hard-to-find location on the side of the machine.

Headphone jacks are often used by users with visual impairments, who may have difficulty locating the headphone jack if it is not prominently located and tactilely discernible.

Populations Impacted: Users who are blind; users with low vision.

Potential Solutions:
  • Locate the headphone jack prominently on the device. Place the headphone jack in a prominent location where users are likely to look or feel when searching for the jack. Avoid placing the jack in an obscure location (too low or too high on the device, on the side of the device, etc.).

  • A user, who is blind, is interacting with a kiosk.  The user is wearing headphones that are plugged into a jack that is prominently located on the front of the machine.
  • Ensure that the headphone jack is tactilely discernible. The headphone jack should be identified with a Braille label or other raised marking. The jack itself should be raised above the surface of the machine (for example, surrounded by a raised ring). The jack should not be obscured behind a cover.

  • Ensure that the headphone jack is visually discernible. The headphone jack should be located in plain view on the device, and not hidden in an obscure location or behind a cover. Marking the headphone jack with a distinctive, high contrast color will also help users with low vision locate the jack.

  • Provide support for wireless headphone connectivity. The 3.5 mm connector (and to a lesser extent the 2.5 mm connector) are still the most common methods for connecting headphones. However, wireless technologies such as Bluetooth are becoming more prominent, and providing support for wireless headphone connectivity would help to eliminate many of the accessibility problems associated with headphone jacks.

Applicable Guidelines:
ADA-ABA - 707.5
Section 508 - 1194.31(a), 1194.31(b)
HFDS - 6.4.1.15, 6.4.1.18, 6.4.1.22, 6.4.1.28