Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Updated: Xerox includes accessibility on copiers via USB port

If you’ve read any of my previous posts concerning the iPhone, then you probably understand that I believe that this device has helped touchscreens to grow in popularity and this type of input method will, undoubtedly, continue to proliferate in the future technology and electronics landscape. But, that popularity is something that has to be taken in stride, especially when accessibility is not a consideration, such as with the iPhone.

However, touchscreens and their visual display predecessors are not new for operating office machines. If you’ve ever worked around any of the high end office copiers that are out there, you can understand just how inaccessible these can be. Even when I still had sightnearly 15 years ago, there were visual displays on copy machines that one had to be able to see by viewing from a vantage point of standing with one’s head above the machine. Operating a machine with this type of display would pose problems for people with myriad visual disabilities, as well as anybody who uses a wheelchair.

Peter Abrahams has written a great article, with a good discussion of relevant issues, on how
Xerox has implemented USB accessibility
On an assorted selection of their copier products.

The key to accessibility lies in the Xerox Copier Assistant™, software that runs on a compatible Windows machine and connects to the Xerox machine via a built-in USB port. The software allows for providing accessibility to people who have various disabilities, of which Abrahams provides a good overview of as well. Input is allowed via mouse, keyboard, or with the proper combination, voice command.

This article offers a good examination of touchscreens and lists how they provide a superior user experience. Additionally, Abrahams lists how they make good business sense, but balances this all out with how they have been inaccessible in the past. He wraps up by looking at the under-promotion Xerox is giving this landmark achievement and offers some tips to help make the most of what they have done.

Hat’s off to Xerox. You rock.

(Thanks to T. Reid at
Reid My Mind
For the initial information about this news.)

Update: 05/28/08

Thanks to an anonymous commenter, I am reminded that, back in March and July of 2006, the American Foundation of the Blind’s great bimonthly magazine
Access World
Discussed this problem in two articles and offered an accessibility review of some conventional brands of office copiers. While these articles are two years old, I believe the information is still relevant and appropriate to share in this post, so here they are:

March 2006

July 2006

I personally recall reading those articles and don't know why it didn't dawn on me before to include them in this post originally. I appreciate the useful feedback.


Anonymous said...

In 2006, the American Foundation for the Blind published two articles on the Xerox family of office machines in its AccessWorld magazine. The articles can be found at:

March 2006

July 2006:

Ron Graham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron Graham said...

Thanks for that information. I had read those when they were published. I'll update the post to reflect these articles as I think they are still relevant and appropriate.


Xerox Ink said...

Hey Ron,
Sounds great that you know all about your stuff! Its intriguing when you speak to someone who knows what they speak about, as oppose to reciting it from someone else they learned from. I can see you are very experienced and with your credentials it is quite obvious that you will make it far in life, or have already made it far in life :)!!!!!!!

Xerox 8500 ink said...

I also had a printer with the verrry same problem. Except mine was malfunctioning dearly on the print itself. No matter what I did, whether it was changing the ink cartridge or cleaning it on the inside, it still kept insisting on Not working! Frustrated much, I took it down to my local near by electronic store where I then had the machine 'put to sleep' and got myself a Brand New HP Vivera Printer! Oh my what a beauty and boy does she print! :)