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Section 508 Reference Guide 1194.26 Desktop and Portable Computers

Overview

Desktop and portable computers have become an enabling tool in our society. The computer has evolved from a desktop machine, to a laptop machine, and now in many cases to a notebook or hand-held device. They can be used to perform a wide range of tasks, from information gathering, processing, and retrieval to real-time facility environment control or machine operation.

Computers rely on operating system software in order to run, and they may provide telecommunications, multimedia, and web functionality. These operating systems and functions must conform to applicable Section 508 standards.

Standard input and output interfaces are important to all computer users. Such interfaces allow the installation and use of many software programs and peripherals to address the wide range of applications. The ability of computers to link to other devices via standard ports, connectors, and interfaces provides significant capability and cost benefits. These interconnection points are standard for most desktop and portable computers.

 

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Remember that…

Multiple technical standards will often apply to procured desktop or notebook systems. Some standards to consider when reviewing a computer product for compliance are:

 

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References

 

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Accessibility of Controls

1194.26(a) "All mechanically operated controls and keys shall comply with §1194.23(k)(1) through (4)."

In other words…

All controls and keys for the normal operation of a desktop or portable computer must be accessible. This includes the keyboard, keypad, power switch, reset button, unlocking controls for docking stations, and release buttons for expansion cards and drives.

Determining Compliance

For all normal system functions, the computer must provide a complete set of controls that conforms to the following standards under 1194.23 Telecommunications Products.

  • (k)(1)  Controls and keys must be tactilely discernible.
  • (k)(2)  Controls and keys must be operable with one hand without great difficulty (e.g., laptop latches, special function keys).
  • (k)(3)  If key repeat is available, then repeat delay and repeat rate must each be adjustable to two seconds.
  • (k)(4)  The status of locking and toggle controls must be discernible visually, and through touch or sound. E.g., visual indications may include a power LED and a Caps Lock LED.

 

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Redundancy for Touch Controls

1194.26(b) "If a product uses touchscreens or touch-operated controls, an input method shall be provided that complies with §1194.23(k)(1) through (4)."

In other words…

An input method other than touch-responsive controls is required for devices using touchscreens or touch-operated (i.e., non-mechanic) controls.

Note: This provision does not prohibit the use of touchscreens and contact-sensitive controls, but requires a redundant set of controls that can be used by persons who have access problems with touch controls.

Determining Compliance

For all normal system functions, the product must provide a set of controls that is not touch-sensitive and that conforms to the following standards under 1194.23 Telecommunications Products.

  • (k)(1)  Controls and keys must be tactilely discernible.
  • (k)(2)  Controls and keys must be operable with one hand without great difficulty.
  • (k)(3)  If key repeat is available, then repeat delay and repeat rate must each be adjustable to two seconds.
  • (k)(4)  The status of locking and toggle controls must be discernible visually, and through touch or sound.

Note

  • The terms "touchscreen" and "touch-operated control" do not necessarily imply touch by the human body. Contact with objects such as mouthsticks, styluses, or pencils is also included.
  • This standard is parallel to standard 1194.25(c) for self-contained, closed products.

 

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Redundancy for Biometric Controls

1194.26(c) "When biometric forms of user identification or control are used, an alternative form of identification or activation, which does not require the user to possess particular biological characteristics, shall also be provided."

In other words…

If a system uses biometrics for identification (e.g., retinal scanning or fingerprint identification) or for system operation, the system must also provide a means of equivalent, alternative access independent of any particular biological feature (e.g., entering a password).

Term

Determining Compliance

  • Determine all user identification or controls that require particular user biometrics.
  • Provide an alternative means for user identification or operation of a control. This can often be done through the implementation of passwords.

Notes

 

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Providing Hardware Interfaces

1194.26(d) "Where provided, at least one of each type of expansion slots, ports and connectors shall comply with publicly available industry standards."

In other words…

One or more of each kind of expansion slot, port, or connector on a computer must be designed according to an industry standard.

Term

  • Industry standard: A specification that is made available by the manufacturer to the public, so that third party and cross-manufacturer developers may build compatible connections.

Determining Compliance

  • Consult the user manual or manufacturer for all hardware interfaces (expansion slots, ports, or connectors).
  • For each type of interface that is present on the computer, ensure that at least one connection complies with an industry standard.

Notes

  • Docking stations, PDA cradles, and modular component bays are examples of connections for which publicly available industry standards might not exist.
  • Satisfying this requirement supports interoperability with AT that uses standard expansion slots, ports and connectors, such as alternative input and output devices.

Examples

The following table provides some examples of expansion technologies used by AT. Other examples are PCI slots, SCSI, wireless RF and infrared connectors, and Bluetooth.

Interface Description Image
Parallel port Parallel ports are often used for legacy printers. parallel port and cable
Serial port Serial ports are often used for legacy modems. serial port and cable
PS/2 PS/2 interfaces are often used for PC keyboards and mice. PS/2 port and connector
USB USB interfaces are often used for modern printers, keyboards, mice, and other input/output devices. USB ports and connector
PCMCIA PCMCIA devices are diverse and have no standard use. Devices include network cards, modems, and expansion drives. PCMCIA device beside a notebook PCMCIA slot

 

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Last Modified: 5/23/2012 11:39:43 AM