According to an EU study, only 38% of bank cash machines (automated teller machines
or ATMs) across the EU provide voice capabilities to customers with disabilities,
far behind the US (61%) and Canada (nearly all ATMs). The European Commission
is contributing €3.41 million, half of the overall budget, to the "APSIS4All"
project which aims to design and validate personalised interfaces, including contactless
cards, to help overcome existing accessibility barriers. Trials will begin in
cash dispensers in Barcelona, Spain from September 2011 and at ticket vending
machines in Paderborn, Germany from January 2012, and will run for three years.
Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commissioner responsible for the
Digital Agenda said: "Public self-service terminals can be found everywhere, and
their numbers keep increasing. Yet, many present a challenge for persons with
disability or for some elderly persons, denying them the service."
The APSIS4All project sets out to design and validate, in real-life settings,
innovative, personalised interfaces that overcome existing accessibility barriers.
In a first phase, the project will collect information from 3000 users who will
be testing different machines in order to adapt interfaces according to their
needs and preferences. Tests will be carried out at 65 ATMS of la Caixa bank in
Barcelona, Spain from 1st September 2011 and at 24 ticket vending machines operated
by Höft & Wessel AG at Paderborn in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany from 1st
The goal of this project is to propose a standardised framework that could foster
further take up of e-accessibility features by the ATM industry and service providers.
This could ultimately help make public digital terminals (PDTs) more accessible
to a wide range of users, from people who are not familiar with the technology,
people with reading difficulties, tourists who do not master the local language
or even people who may have forgotten their reading glasses. APSI4All will focus
on multi-modal interaction and cutting edge technologies such as Near Field Communication
(NFC) or short range wireless communication. For example, tests could involve
a programmed card that contains the user's preferences. When the user brings the
card close to the ATM, the machine instantly adapts to the user's needs (perhaps
changing the size of the font or choice of language). Other interfaces could include
a mobile phone with accessibility features that enables a customer to purchase
a ticket online and pay at the machine issuing the ticket using a secure code
sent to their phone.
There are hundreds of thousands of PDTs in the EU, including public transport
ticket vending machines and at least 425,000 ATMS. A number of technological solutions
exist on the market to help facilitate their use, such as keypads placed within
reach of wheelchair users, Braille labels on the buttons or voice output via a
speaker for visually impaired users. However, these essential functions are often
simply not available or not activated because the ways of activating them are
too complex. As the European Commission's European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 asserts, "accessibility is a precondition for participation in society and in
The APSIS4All project is co-financed by the ICT part of the European Union's
Competitiveness and Innovation Programme.
source: http://europa.eu/ .