Attracting customers or clients is a key part of running a business, and the wider you open your doors – the more that can come through the door. Accessibility is important to your business to make sure that everyone is equal and treated the same. Your business can be a part of a more inclusive community, cementing your status as a business leader.
Want to make your business more accessible? Take a look at ten ways for how to get started.
1. Make your premises accessible
Whether you own a store an office or another type of business establishment, it’s important that you make it accessible for people of all disabilities so that both staff and members of the public can enter with ease. Wheelchair accessibility is a basic requirement that should be a must for your building, while other rails and automatic doors can also help people to get into your building.
2. Have clear signage
Not all buildings will have an accessible front entrance, especially older buildings, so having clear signage to alternative entrances can make a difference to visitors. Adding Braille can help those who are blind or are visually impaired to read signs and get around your building. Make sure that any information about access to your building is on your website and that all employees know what advice to offer.
3. Design accessible graphics
With graphic design being such a creative process, accessibility can be the furthest thing on your mind when you’re simply creating. However, when you consider how many people in the world suffer a disability, you’ll soon realize how important it is to create work that’s accessible to everyone. There are different ways to consider accessibility in visual projects that will help you produce work which can be enjoyed by a wider range of people.
4. Make sure your website caters for all
A user-friendly website can be a great asset to your business, but user-friendly doesn’t always mean ‘usable by all’. Web accessibility is very important for ensuring that everyone can access your website and get the information they need. Some of the things you can do to boost your website’s accessibility include:
- Using alt tags to describe images so that they can be picked up by a screen reader
- Put a period between letters of abbreviations or acronyms such as N.Y.P.D to ensure screen readers can pick them up and don’t try to read the word phonetically.
- Describe what your links are instead of saying ‘click here’
- Use accessible color combinations – Colorsafe is a fantastic tool that you can use to make this happen.
- Make your copy easy to read and understand
- Provide accessibility guidance on your website.
5. Make your website mobile-friendly
Mobile devices are now the most popular way for people to access the internet. Phones are also packed with different accessibility features to make it easier for those with disabilities to consume content. Mobile apps are an easy way to bring your content mobile, with special software available to check your app is compatible for those with access needs. A software testing service such as this can save you time and money and make sure you get accessibility right. If your company doesn’t have an app, make sure your website has been adapted for use on other devices.
6. Ask people about their needs
People who have disabilities have different needs – not everyone’s the same. To make sure you’re offering the best service possible, you should ask all of your customers or clients whether or not they have any requirements to be able to enjoy your service. Show an interest and treat everyone the same – and if your staff need any support in learning how to work with people with disabilities you should offer them training opportunities to make sure they can offer services to everyone. Businesses can also make the most of data provided by their customers through offering surveys, etc. on how to improve services.
7. Provide a range of ways to get in touch
It can be limiting for people to just have a phone number or an email address to contact you on, so make sure that you offer people different ways to get in touch with you. Having a telecommunications relay service (TRS) can help people who are deaf to make phone calls, while some people might still prefer to put a letter in the post. If you have employees who are willing to learn, you might also wish to support them in learning sign language to be able to communicate better with people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
8. Review your policies regularly
While there are legal requirements to ensure that different policies support equality, you should review your existing policies regularly to ensure that they consider those who have disabilities, as well as religious beliefs and sexuality. It doesn’t hurt to bring in an expert in this area or to consult with someone from outside of your business to make sure that your policies are fair and compliant.
9. Caption your videos
More and more businesses are using videos across their digital platforms, including social media, to engage with their audiences. By adding captions to video, you can ensure that those with hearing impairments can also experience your content. You can go one step further and add sign language to your videos, but this could be costly for small businesses. There are free ways to add captions to videos that don’t require video editing skills to use.
10. Put accessibility first
As a business, one of the best things that you can do is to put accessibility first. Rather than thinking of accessibility as an afterthought, make sure that the services you offer are fully accessible and provide alternatives when something isn’t possible. It makes good business sense to be accessible, so make sure you stay ahead of the rest by putting accessibility at the heart of everything you do.
Could your business be more accessible? Find ways to provide an inclusive service to everyone and help others to make changes too. You can help make society a better place, so do your bit to help everyone feel welcome.