5 Accessibility Tips Every Company Should ImplementPublished on
Can your customers with visual disabilities find the information needed to make a buying decision quickly and easily? Are your employees trained on how to best serve these customers? Addressing the needs of your customers with disabilities actually serves your business. Happy customers share reviews online and refer your business to friends and family. Being accessible can also save your business from costly fines if a customer files a discrimination lawsuit.
If accessibility isn’t a part of your business strategy, you’re leaving money on the table. It’s good business, and the law, to make your company friendly and accommodating to the estimated 77 million Americans with disabilities. Since accessibility is quickly and rightfully becoming the standard, here’s how you can be ready.
1. Clear the aisles.
If your business has a physical location, free your floor space of all obstacles. Removing physical obstructions eliminates hazards and allows customers with canes, wheelchairs, or guide dogs to move through the area freely. When people can move freely, they’re more likely to have an enjoyable experience.
2. Provide accessible materials.
Are you planning on designing a new flyer, website, menu, or document? Each new print material should be reviewed for compliance and have an alternative format. Amazing graphics and aesthetics don’t afford individuals with visual impairments the information they need. Keep the graphics; but for accessibility sake, use alternate text to describe the image used.
Your public-facing website and all online materials should also be accessible. When talking about written or digital communications, consider the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Read more about what we learned from the recent Winn-Dixie case.
Braille, large print, audio, and remediated PDF versions of your customer-facing business documents will help people who are blind or have some form of vision loss engage with your business.
3. Ask more questions.
Accessibility document partners are great resources for all of your ADA, Sections 508 and 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act questions. Each new communication project should be reviewed for ADA compliance, and have added alternative formats available. An accessibility partner can also provide feedback about the customer experience, and marketing ideas to maximize the investment in ADA compliant materials.
4. Train your employees to be accessibility evangelists.
Educate your employees and train your staff to promote accessibility. Offer training on topics like how to assist those with accessibility technology, mobility devices, and interacting with service animals. Your team makes a huge difference when identifying barriers, and making customers feel welcomed.
5. Start a movement in your company!
Braille Works applauds businesses that have adopted accessibility as part of their in-house initiatives. According to a 2017 Disability Equality Index conducted by the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), U.S. businesses are becoming increasingly more accessible for people with disabilities. When accessibility is at the forefront, businesses are committed to inclusiveness.
Build a company strategy that promotes accessibility and inclusion in-house. Then, publicly announce your commitment to accessibility, making accessibility a recognizable part of your business.
See the opportunity, not the task.
Accessibility is an opportunity, not a chore. Look for ways to transform documents and include customers with disabilities. What does this mean for your business? Accessibility sets you apart as a leader in your industry and an advocate for all customers.
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