Card Use

For contact cards, it will be beneficial for users with a visual impairment to incorporate a tactual notch (according to the European standard EN 1332-2) so that the user knows in which orientation to insert the card in the reader. However, such a notch could be useful to all users (e.g. Hotel guests trying to insert their key cards in a dim corridor), so it would be preferable to make all cards with this notch.

smartcards carduse

"EN 1332":http://www.Cennorm.Be/ compliant card layout. The notch on the trailing edge helps users to orientate the card.

for blind persons, there is the problem of selecting the right card from their wallet. It is recommended that cards incorporate embossed symbols according to EN 1332-5.

for disabled and elderly people, as well as the primary application and its data, a smart card can carry information about the user's preferred user interface. The coding of this information is specified in the european standard en 1332-4. The coding allows for specifying preferences for aspects such as colours to avoid, character size and font, sound amplification and frequency preference, interface complexity level and time-outs, biometric characteristics, and many other user-definable interface choices.

For the naive user, it is often far from obvious where to insert or present the smart card. For contact smart cards, a flashing light around the card entry slot has been found to be beneficial. For those with hand tremor, it is useful if the entrance to the card reader acts as a funnel to guide the card in correctly.

smartcards cards

A card reader with funnel for contact smart cards.

Contactless cards are usually easier to use as they only need to be placed on a reader. The exact orientation is not important except that the card must be placed almost flat relative to the face of the reader. The actual reading zone on a contactless terminal should be clearly marked in high contrast to its surroundings and, ideally, along with some physical indication (i.e. Raised or lowered).

The following are key accessibility considerations:

  • Include user preferences on the card (EN 1332-4);
  • Incorporate orientation notch (EN 1332-2) and provide tactual differentiation (EN 1332-5);
  • Provide an illuminated and funnelled contact card reader entry slot;
  • Provide a clear indication of the location of contactless card reader.

More detailed information is provided in the guideline on cards.