Georgia Tech Research Institute
Accessibility Assistant

Accessibility Assistant


Headphone Jacks (4 of 5)

Issue: Users may have difficulty inserting a plug into a headphone jack.

Inserting a small headphone plug into a headphone jack can be difficult, especially for users with visual impairments and users lacking fine motor control. The problem may be exacerbated if the headphone jack is located in a cramped space or if it is covered.

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

Potential Solutions:
  • Do not cover the headphone jack. Avoiding a cover on the headphone jack eliminates the requirement for users to open the cover before plugging in headphones, and also enhances visual and tactile discernability of the headphone jack.

  • If a cover is necessary, ensure that it does not interfere with use of the plug. Consider using a cover that remains in the open position after the user opens it, so that the user does not have to hold the cover open while plugging in headphones.

  • Avoid placing the jack too close to other controls, or in an area where access is obstructed. Users lacking fine motor control may find it easier to insert a plug if they are able to brace their hands while inserting the plug. Ensure that there are no obstructions around the headphone jack (for example, avoid placing the jack in an interior corner where two or more panel surfaces meet). Ensure that there are no controls near the headphone jack that may be accidentally activated when a user braces his or her hand.

  • Design the jack to help guide the plug into the jack. For example, provide a concave area around the headphone jack that helps to funnel the plug into the jack.

Applicable Guidelines:
ADA-ABA - 309.4
Section 508 - 1194.31(f)
HFDS -,,