Alternative service

If the terminal meets all the previous smart cards accessibility guidelines and there are still people who cannot use it, it is important to ensure that the services it provides are available through an alternative channel. Accessing the alternative channel should involve a minimal amount of inconvenience to the user and should be provided at no extra cost.

Having met all the previous priority guidelines, there may still be a small group of people who cannot use the terminal. If this is the case, they are likely to be users who either have extreme difficulties in one particular area or who have multiple difficulties so that no combination of the accessibility features meets their needs. For example, users who are deaf and blind cannot see displayed information or hear the spoken equivalent. They rely on tactile representations such as output via a refreshable braille display. These users may still need to use the service to which the terminal provides access.

Providing a clearly signposted alternative channel through a human customer service agent has particular benefits, even for customers who can physically use the terminal but have some difficulty with the service. The human representative is able to interpret customers' requirements, answer their questions and give spontaneous information that the machine is not capable of. They also provide a "face" to the organisation, which some users are far happier with.

The following are key accessibility considerations:

  • Provide appropriately trained customer service agents;
  • Provide clear signage on how to access this alternative service.

More detailed information is provided in the guideline on alternative service