Assessible ergonomic IT input and output devices

Project No. IFA 4225


completed 03/2020


The goal of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, namely to promote full participation by people with disabilities in all areas of society (an inclusive society), also includes the world of work. This is linked to the demand for optimization of work design, which is to enable people with cognitive, physical and mental disabilities to work on equal terms. In view of the growing number of jobs performed at computer workstations, information technology aids for people with the handicaps referred to above are also growing in importance. Although a multitude of special ergonomic IT input and output devices exist, such as one-handed keyboards, substitutes for mice, screen readers, voice output devices and Braille displays, a comprehensive overview supporting the specific selection of suitable aids did not exist before now. The aim of this project was therefore to produce a structured catalogue of IT input and output devices for persons with special needs. The catalogue is to be used for selection of suitable equipment for individuals. During its creation, particular attention was paid to ergonomic aspects. The DGUV Office subcommittee and Design of accessible workplaces subcommittee were involved in the project.


A product survey was first conducted to identify the IT input and output devices available for persons with special needs. At the same time, a literature search was conducted to determine the state of knowledge regarding the ergonomics of these devices. The products identified by these searches were classified/categorized (e.g. according to the form of the disability, intended use). Both the product search and the categorization were coordinated with relevant experts, such as employees of the integration authorities. In addition, ergonomic requirements and recommendations were formulated based upon the results. The activities are to be regarded as an update of project IFA-4131, Ergonomic requirements for input devices for information technology equipment, and its extension to include alternative IT output devices by which persons with disabilities or health impairments are enabled to perform work on video display units.


The results are documented in a guidance document. This provides assistance in setting up and adapting computer workstations using alternative IT input and output devices for persons with disabilities or health impairments. The document is explicitly aimed at lay persons, such as employers seeking for the first time to adapt a workstation for employees with impairments. It also contains up-to-date information on the topic which is of interest to occupational physicians and OSH experts. In addition to background information on inclusion in the workplace, the document contains information on the availability of financial support, advisory services, and specific means of adapting and designing work equipment to the needs of the individual user. This includes operating system settings, alternative devices for text input and cursor control, and the types of alternative equipment available for text and audio output. Selected practical examples also offer insights into the adaptation of computer workstations to the needs of persons with disabilities or health impairments.

Last Update:

15 Sep 2020


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung (IFA)
  • VBG (Verwaltungs-Berufsgenossenschaft)


Type of hazard:

design of work and technology, work-related health hazards



Description, key words:

Inclusion, workplace design, screen work, ergonomic requirements for input and output devices in information technology


Further information