Designing a lab that is universally accessible begins with the physical environment of the facility. Considerations for making a computer lab facility more accessible include the following:
- Make sure doorway openings are at least 32 inches wide and doorway thresholds are no higher than 1/2 inch.
- Keep aisles wide and clear for wheelchair users. Have protruding objects removed or minimized for the safety of users who are visually impaired.
- Make sure all levels of the lab are connected by a wheelchair-accessible route of travel.
- For students with mobility impairments, make sure there are procedures in place for retrieving materials that may be inaccessible.
- Make sure ramps and/or elevators are provided as an alternative to stairs. Elevators should have both auditory and visual signals for floors. Elevator buttons should be marked in large print and Braille or raised notation and easily reachable for wheelchair users.
- Locate the lab near wheelchair-accessible restrooms with well-marked signs.
- Service desks need to be wheelchair-accessible.
- Provide ample, high-contrast, large-print directional signs throughout the lab. Mark equipment in the same fashion.
- Provide study carrels, hearing protectors, or private study rooms for users who are easily distracted by noise and movement around them.
- Provide at least one adjustable-height table with easily reachable controls for each type of computer.
- Have wrist rests available to those who require extra wrist support while typing.
- Keep document holders available to help users position documents for easy reading.
For more information about accessible computer labs, consult the video and publication Equal Access: Universal Design of Computer Labs.