With many of the commercial and corporate buildings now having more strict control around entries and exits, I was wondering in terms of accessibility how people with vision impairment are provided ease-of-access when they need to swipe a pass or card to enter or exit.

This is because I haven't seen a standard convention when it comes to where the swipe card contact point is located (or perhaps I am not aware of it). Considering that there might be multiple points where this needs to be done, such as at the building entry and also the elevators/lifts, I am wondering if anyone is aware of what the general convention or standard is.

  • I have always seen those at the right of the doors and more or less at the same height, so it seems that there is a convention. I have also seen one that caught my attention because it was located otherwise, but it had blinking lights and a very subtle "ding ding ding" sound. But I only saw that once, almost always saw the swipe slot in the same place to be honest
    – Devin
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 18:03
  • It is just like using the drive-up ATM with the Braille on it.
    – user67695
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 18:42
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    I would consider rephrasing your title and question. It appears you are asking "What are the general conventions or standards for access cards, particularly having to do with accessibility for the blind." The beginning of your question wanders with a bunch of assumptions that I think are clouding your thinking. For instance, if they have an access card, they likely have been to the building, know where they are going, and have been made aware of where the access points are and can use touch if necessary to pinpoint. If a guest, someone would have to come down and swipe them in anyway. etc. Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 19:36
  • @nocomprende, Drive up ATMs have braille because they mass produce the same ATM for walk up and drive through. It would be cost prohibitive to make it different only for the reason of removing braille so drivers weren't confused why you need braille on a drive up ATM. Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 19:39

1 Answer 1


There are keychains that you wave in front of the scanner to open the door :) No card necessary, just a key fob (or whatever it's called).

(Also, there's audio feedback when the door opens. You hear the door opening, but you also get a 'beep' from the scanner'.)

One design flaw I've seen, though, is that you can't pull an automatically opening door shut. So if you want to close the door from an attacker outside your building, good luck. It's just going to slow you down. So if you want to improve automatic doors, that's an actual need based on my experience (twice).

Edit: As per Jon W's complaint, I have a design solution. There's typically two doors and the scanner is on the OUTSIDE door. What if they put the scanner in between the two doors? Why? Because as soon as you open the first door, the scanner could start making noise for a few seconds, making it easier for the blind person to locate.

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    How can you wave a keychain in-front of a scanner if a) you don't even know that there is a scanner there, and b) your vision isn't good enough to locate the scanner?
    – JonW
    Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 7:52
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    a) you probably can't if you don't know a scanner is there, but then again you have a key fob, soo.... Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 10:35
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    @JonW: Both a) and b) happen to me all the time even without a vision impairment. Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 20:56
  • We should just give swipe cards to the crooks, then NOT have scanners, and they would never get in!
    – user67695
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 20:08

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