For consumer businesses, it is important to be accessible to every customer and employee possible. Usually, this means tailoring your business to be approachable for whoever may be interacting with it, which typically includes individuals with disabilities as well. Having a business means working with your customers’ and employees’ needs to create success, and the first step is to understand ways to help grow your accessibility for those who need a little extra help and being disability-friendly.
1. Install Tactile Switches
Tactile switches are great tools for helping those with limited vision during transactions such as checking out. Having even one lane dedicated to accessibility is better than having none at all, and will allow those who need extra help during times such as entering their pin, to be independent. These switches are also useful for employees that use keyboards and need additional help typing.
2. Have Wider Aisles
Keep your aisles and hallways wide and easily accessible for those who need the space. A 32-inch-wide aisle is the recommended minimum width that any walkway should be, and even larger would only create a more disability-friendly experience.
3. Keep a Clutter Free Business
It is incredibly important to make sure that your business is free of any clutter, including floors, countertops, shelves, and so on. Having clutter not only causes customers and employees to perceive your company as an unorganized business but will also cause frustrating obstacles for all people, especially those with disabilities.
4. Use Signs Wisely
On signs, the word “handicapped” could be offensive — instead, use the word “accessible”. This is a smaller adjustment, but should make a positive impact.
5. Install Automatic Doors
Automatic doors are a pricier adjustment to make, but will be sure to lead to a huge difference for your business’ entryway. Installing an automatic button for people to push to open the door will be very helpful and impactful for those who need it.
6. Keep Path Changes Clearly Visible
Anywhere there is a step, a corner, or an edge, be sure to have a highly visible sign and contrasting colored material to alert individuals.
7. Watch How Your Employees Speak
Hopefully, your employees are treating every person respectfully, and it’s important to encourage them to do so. If you or any employees must refer to someone with a disability, it is important not to use the phrase “handicapped person” as some people can see that as offensive.
8. Have Lighter Weight Doors
Excessively heavy doors can be a nuisance for people, especially those who do not have the strength or capabilities to open them. Make sure the doors within your business are easy to open with not too much effort. Doing so will make your business more disability-friendly, and thus you will be able to serve a wider variety of people.
9. Use Signs With Braille
The last and final tip is to have your signs include Braille. Braille signs are important and often necessary especially if servicing or employing people that are blind or have eyesight issues. Having these types of signs will create an accepting and more accessible environment for your business, especially for people with limited to no vision.
These are just a few of the options to consider for you to create a more disability-friendly environment in your business. With every slight adjustment made, your business will grow in accessibility. It’s important to work toward a more attainable environment for not only your business’ needs, but for the needs of those with disabilities.