Design Motivation for the Proposed CMHR Kiosk Keypad -- or -- Let's Make the Keypad so Fabulous that Everyone Wants to Try it


Our proposed keypad designs are based on research into previous work on accessible keypads and keyboards.  Much of this previous work focused specifically on computer keyboards but can be applied to other keypad configurations, such as the CMHR kiosk keypads.

The addition of a keypad to the CMHR kiosks was proposed by the museum exhibit designers (Ralph Appelbaum and Associates, New York, NY) as a way to provide user accessibility to the kiosks and associated exhibits.  Our goal is to work within this proposed framework in order to make the keypad (and therefore the kiosk) as accessible as possible.

While the motivation for the use of a keypad may have been to provide touch-screen kiosk accessibility for blind users and users with low vision, we believe that many other aspects of accessibility should be taken into account when designing the kiosks. Not only must we consider users with multiple disabilities (e.g. low vision + reduced co-ordination, or a wheelchair user with reduced strength who uses the keypad because she cannot reach all features on the touchscreen) -- we believe that in order to achieve a successful design, the definition of disability must be reframed as a mismatch between the user and the user interface.  In this sense a successful design is one that meets the usability needs of as many users as possible, thus providing a fully functional and an entirely enjoyable experience for everyone (that is, why not make the keypad so fabulous that everyone wants to try it?).  The earlier in the design cycle that accessibility features are considered, the more integrated these features will be, and the more likely we are to achieve a successful design.

Gap Analysis - Keypad and Interactives

At present, we have limited information about the content of the touch-screen interfaces and therefore of the requirements for the keypad-interface interaction.  We were provided with a number of images and storyboards on which we have based our keypad designs, but a number of open questions remain.

Other questions/gaps regarding kiosks and associated exhibits: 

Additional Gap Analysis

Though we are moving forward with the keypad as an accessibility solution, we have identified a number of limitations of the keypad concept:

In addition, we have identified some limitations in the existing kiosk design:

Keypad Design

Much of the detailed design features for our proposed keypad concepts are based on the information provided in the European Telecommunications Standards Institute document entitled "Characteristics of telephone keypads...requirements of elderly and disabled people". The following list highlights the main points found in that document as well as recommendations taken from various sources listed under Keypad Design References and from our own brainstorming.  These points are reflected in our proposed keypad designs .

Overall Keypad Design

Key Design

Keypad Layout


*Source: Characteristics of telephone keypads...requirements of elderly and disabled people (European Telecommunications Standards Institute)

Usability Testing

Useability Testing will be carried out on the selected keypad designs in order to determine which keypad designs and which features within each design are successful.  Evaluation will be based not only on the useability of the keypad itself but also on how well it serves the useability of the touch-screen interface  The final keypad design will be determined based on the results of the useability testing.


Useability testing will be both directed and undirected. 

Directed Testing

In directed testing, users will be given specific tasks to complete based on a given kiosk/exhibit scenario.  Specific features of the keypad can be tested in this way. 

The following is one example of a directed useability test scenario.  The complete testing protocol (in progress) can be found here.

Format: individual kiosk (Insight Station)

Interactive: Human Rights Defenders

What is being tested: keypad functionality in allowing user to: engage audio description, get information, reset the interactive, navigate

You walk up to the Human Rights Defenders kiosk and notice that the kiosk has been left running in the middle of a session by the last user.  You wish to know more about the information available at this kiosk and you want to start from the beginning of the session.  




Turn on audio description


Get information about this kiosk/installation 


Navigate to first screen of this session 


Start the session 


Navigate through one of the screens in the series 


Close the session and choose another

Undirected Testing

In undirected testing, users will be presented with a kiosk screen mock-up and will be asked to use the keypad to control their interaction with the kiosk, but will not be given any specific task to complete.

See Also:

Keypad Design References

Considerations for Keypad Design

Keypad Concepts (Final 3)

Wrist support concepts

User Testing Protocol - CMHR Keypad

CMHR Kiosk and Keypad Gap Analysis