When Universal Design is applied in an office setting, workplaces become more inclusive. Did you know your office copiers can now come with options that make them easier to reach, see, hear and understand?

The copier industry has made strides to make its multifunctional devices (MFDs) more accessible and Section 508-compliant. Section 508 is an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that requires federal agencies to provide access to everyone seeking to use their electronic data and technology. Compliance is a growing focus of governmental and educational organizations that can face fines by not following the guidelines set out by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508. 

Many copier manufacturers have stepped beyond the legal requirements and incorporated Universal Design in their newer products. Universal Design is a comprehensive design approach that makes MFD technology – commonly referred to as copiers and/or printers, but capable of printing, scanning, faxing and more – comfortable for all people to use, regardless of language, age, body, ability or learning style. These considerations include:

Accessibility for Every Body

Some users may have difficulty reaching a copier or printer because they use a wheelchair or are of a shorter stature. This can also apply to those who have full hands, use a walking aid, may have injured arms or fingers or have limited strength. Opening, closing, selecting options or reaching a device can be difficult under any of these circumstances.

Sight and Hearing Differences

Users with blurred vision, low vision, difficulty reading small print or distinguishing colors, and those with hearing difficulty, can more easily understand what is needed at the copier or printer when imagery and volume adjustments can be made.

Learning Styles

Universal Design is all about ease of use, so making steps easy-to-remember can help users with different learning styles by using familiar words and simple instructions.


Frustrations at the copier are easy to see, between waiting in line while on a deadline and struggling with complicated steps without the desired response. Ease of use, from on-screen instructions to print drivers, is essential to maintain workplace productivity.

While some of the Universal Design solutions come standard on MFD models, others are optional and may be available only on certain MFD models. Contact us if you would like more information on any of these features.

Solutions you can take advantage of to provide more accessibility to your MFDs include:

  • Voice Guidance and Voice Operation
    Audible instructions can direct users how to use the MFD’s touchscreen or keypad for basic copy, scan and fax functions. Users can also perform basic functions by using keywords (for example, “two-sided,”) if the user cannot see or use the touchscreen or keypad.

  • Easy to Hear Notifications
    For users who need help distinguishing between a routine process and a paper jam, notifications are simply denoted by length of the tone (or “beep”) produced. One single “beep” signifies a routine process, while repeated “beep” sounds signal a paper jam or low toner.

  • Control Panel Modifications
    The coloring of key buttons on an MFD serves a purpose. Colors are chosen because they are easier to distinguish for users with limited color differentiation.

  • Display Enlargement or Reversal
    For visually-impaired users, the ability to enlarge text and icons and show light characters on darker backgrounds (thereby increasing contrast) can improve ease of use.

  • Braille Labels
    Clear peel-and-stick labels can be attached to the keypad and other common areas on the device for easier understanding and use.

  • Adjustable Controls
    Easy tilt and height adjustments to the control panels allow for easy wheelchair accessibility and reduction of screen glare.

  • Remote Operator Software
    Users do not need to be at the copier to use the copier. The MFD interface can be mirrored from their desk on a networked computer screen.

  • Multiple Language Support
    Copiers can be programmed to display English, French, Italian, German or Spanish for ease of use in the user’s preferred language. This setting can be remembered when the user enters their login credentials.

Several copier manufacturers offer Universal Design. The brochures linked below can give you more information:

As the importance of accessibility continues to increase, Loffler offers solutions that will help all of your employees in the ever-changing world of technology.


Read Next: How to Choose the Best Dealer for Leasing a Copier

Heather Toler

Heather is the Color Solutions Sales Manager at Loffler Companies. She has been in the print industry for 20+ years and with Loffler since 1998. Her role is to help clients understand the capabilities of multifunctional devices and determine which product will best fit their needs, both for business color and production print color offerings. In her free time, Heather is a chauffeur, chef, social director, nurse, referee, tutor and cleaning lady to her two boys. And despite all of her complaining, she likes it.

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