Georgia Tech Research Institute
Accessibility Assistant

Accessibility Assistant


Pointing Devices: Issue 3 of 5

Issue: A free-moving cursor is inaccessible to some users with visual impairments.

A free-moving cursor is an on-screen pointer that is typically controlled by mouse, track ball, or similar devices. Users move the pointer over an on-screen control, and click a button to activate the control. Because placement of the pointer typically relies on user vision, users with visual impairments may be unable to interact with an interface in this way.

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

Potential Solution:
  • Provide an alternative interface that does not require the use of a free-moving cursor. An example of this type of interface is a set of hardware controls that allows users to use arrow keys to move a highlight cursor among the various on-screen controls and provides a button for selection of the highlighted item, combined with voice output that announces the name of the highlighted control.

  • A user who is blind is using an alternative control interface on the front edge of the device to interact with the device.  The alternative interface provides up, right,left, and down arrows surrounding an enter key, with a help button in the lower left corner of the interface panel, and provides an alternative to a free-moving cursor.
Applicable Guidelines:
Section 508 - 1194.31(a), 1194.31(b)
Section 255 - 1193.41(a)(3)(f)
HFDS -, 9.6.1, 9.6.8