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Computer Software

Computer software has become much more sophisticated in the last decade. The norm is now to use a graphical user interface, such as Windows, which can be accessible but is not easy to use non-visually (eg with synthetic speech output). However most operating systems now incorporate accessibility features, but many older users are unaware that these exist.

Particular problems are caused by software which bypasses the standard protocols in the operating system; this can mean that assistive devices will not operate correctly.

Cognitively impaired users can sometimes use specific applications with little difficulty once the application is launched and configured for their needs. However they often find error messages incomprehensible and then get confused as to how they can recover from the situation. Such problems can put off older users who may be less experienced in using computer systems.

Checklist for computer software

Relevant standards

  • DEG HF 00031 Human factors guidelines for ICT products and services: Design for all.
  • DIN EN ISO 9241-171 (2006) Ergonomics of human-system interaction - Part 171: Guidance on software accessibility
  • EG 202 116 (2002) Guidelines for ICT Products and Services: Design for All.
  • HFES 200.3:, Human Factors Engineering of Software User Interfaces, Software interface standard (Standard now includes 5 interface strategies developed by Trace).
  • HFES 200.5:, Human Factors Engineering of Software User Interfaces - Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Telephony, A user interface standard for IVRs and voice mail.
  • ISO 14915 (2003) Software ergonomics for multimedia user interfaces.
  • ISO/AWI 16071 Ergonomics of human-system interaction - Guidance on software accessibility. (Under development).
  • ISO/AWI 23973 Software ergonomics for World Wide Web user interfaces. (Under development).

Further information