Software Systems Architecture

The Accessibility Perspective

In recent years, enlightened corporations have come to recognize the contributions that disabled people can make, and many have high-profile programs to encourage their active participation in business operations. Furthermore, many countries have passed legislation that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and obliges employers to provide facilities suitable to their needs.

For systems directly exposed to customers (e.g., Internet- or mobile communications-based systems, public kiosks, or automated teller machines), failing to address the needs of the disabled population can significantly reduce the systems’ reach and effectiveness, in addition to reflecting unfavorably on the organization in the eyes of the public.

Accessibility should take into account not only the direct users of the system – i.e.,those sitting at terminals – but the indirect users as well. For example, a financial system may need to provide bank statements in Braille for blind customers.

Consideration of disability aside, addressing accessibility concerns brings benefits in many cases by making systems more usable and efficient in their operation.

It is also important to assess architectures for compliance with legislative requirements and internal standards, as we discuss under the Regulation perspective.

Desired Quality The ability of the system to be used by people with disabilities
Applicability Any system which may be used or operated by people with disabilities, or may be subject to legislation regarding disabilities
  • types of disability
  • functional availability
  • disability regulation
  • identification of system touch points
  • device independence
  • content equivalence
  • assistive technologies
  • specialist input devices
  • voice recognition
  • ignoring these needs until too late
  • lack of knowledge about regulation and legislation
  • lack of knowledge about suitable solutions

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