Fact Sheet: What To Look for In an Accessible Computer System

Acquiring accessible information technology can seem tricky at times, especially when thinking about purchasing new desktops and notebook computers. How can you ensure that people with the widest range of abilities and disabilities can use the computers you are purchasing?

When purchasing any computer system, keeping in mind some basic features built-into the device will allow for a wider range of users to use the same equipment.





Front-mounted USB Ports

USB Ports

Speakers with Front-mounted audio controls

Front-mounted Audio Ports

Parallel Port


Large power button with LED indicator

Serial Port (if available)


Front-mounted CD-ROM

Network Interface


Audio connections (audio in, audio out)


VGA/Video Out


Standard keyboard connector


Standard Mouse connector






Side-mounted audio ports (front-mounted preferred)


Minimum 16MB Video RAM

Side-mounted USB Ports

Additional USB Ports


Additional rear-mounted USB ports


Integrated Network interfaces (Wireless, Telephone, Ethernet)


PCMCIA slots


If you have any questions about this document, or would like any other assistance, please contact the Great Lakes ADA & IT Center at (800) 949-4232, or at www.adagreatlakes.org/