A business owner needs to think about their customers at all times, and one of the things that must be at the forefront of your mind is to ensure your business is accessible to people with disabilities. An accessible business will not only ensure you have more visitors and have a good reputation, but if you don’t ensure your business, including your website, is accessible, you potentially risk a fine of at least $75,000 for ADA violations.
If you’re wondering how to be more accessible, read on; here are some good ideas to help you get started.
Work On Your Website
Even though you might automatically assume you need to think about access issues to a physical building when you are thinking about how to make your business more accessible for people with disabilities – and this is important – you mustn’t neglect your website. This also needs to be accessible. This might mean allowing people to read the content in a larger font or use different colors, for example.
One of the best ways to ensure your website is accessible to people with different types of disabilities is to use accessibility overlays. These pieces of code will allow users with disabilities to set their own preferences (higher color contrast, larger font etc.) and the code will automatically update your website’s design to their needs. It might be that it announces whether there is an image or table on the page to people with a visual impairment, or it might bring up subtitles for people who have a hearing impairment. Having an accessibility overlay will make your website accessible to more people as well as ensure it is in line with guidance from the federal courts. It’s simple to install, but it could make a big difference to those trying to access your website and business.
Keep It Clear
Another good way to ensure you offer good accessibility in your business is always to keep the floors clear. This ensures that anyone in a wheelchair with mobility issues, partially sighted or blind, can move around safely and easily.
Make it clear to all staff members that you need the aisles and walkways kept free of clutter at all times. You could even put a rota in place that ensures one person keeps everything clear and tidy each week. In this way, not only do you allow for better accessibility, but you also keep your workplace looking tidy and smart, which will offer a great first impression to any visitor.
Remember the lighting as well. Even a completely clear hallway can be problematic if the lighting is too dark. Make sure that you have plenty of light to keep even the darkest areas comfortable and safe for all.
Offer A Variety Of Printed Materials
Do you have printed literature? You will have invoices and other documents even if you don’t have leaflets or flyers. No matter what you have, even down to your business cards, look into ways to make them more accessible. There are a variety of different printed options that could work, including large print and braille. You could even investigate using different languages if you have customers whose first language isn’t English – this is another form of accessibility within your business.
Remember that not everyone can use a computer, so although you might assume that you don’t need printed materials, this might limit access to some customers. If you’re not sure, ask. By surveying your customers and finding out what would help them, you can better understand what you need to change and which versions of anything printed would work well for them.