10 Ways To Make Your Business More Accessible

Make Your Business More Accessible

Reaching the maximum number of potential customers may require you to think big and include accessibility in your business plan. The disability population includes many seen and unseen factors that can impact a customer’s ability to interface with your business. Accessibility measures can be part of a physical plan for a storefront or a digital strategy for your business website. Consider the following ways to make your business more accessible and welcoming for people with disabilities.

1. Include Seating

Businesses with storefronts or public offices should include seating for customers. Place chairs or benches in open areas where people with invisible disabilities like dysautonomia might get fatigued. Providing rest stops in your business can enable new and returning customers to stay and continue their shopping experience, rather than leaving to address their needs elsewhere.

2. Use High Contrast Colors

People with low vision or vision loss may find dim lighting or low-contrast signs to be inaccessible. Choose high-contrast colors, like black and white, when you are designing important signage for your business. Think about enlarging the print on item tags, too. Adequate lighting throughout your public business space can increase accessibility for people at various levels of vision and makes their experience more enjoyable.

3. Create Tactile Feedback

Use a variety of textures on your products and display items. Tactile feedback can be helpful for people with low vision or for neurodivergent people. If you would prefer to not have customers touch every item, then set aside a single trial item from each collection. Skincare or makeup companies should set aside samples or hygienic trial items, which can be available in a store or included with online purchases.

4. Choose Ramps Over Stairs

Think about how you can make the physical location of your business to be accessible for everyone, following the concept of universal design. Stairs are only accessible for people with balance or for people who do not use mobility aids, but ramps are accessible to everyone. Work with a contractor to place a ramp on the street level or inside your business entrance, and create a barrier-free doorway.

5. Consider Wheelchair Width

Many older doorways are too narrow for today’s wheelchairs and walkers. In the United States, the standard width for an accessible doorway is a minimum of 32 inches. This width allows the wheelchair user to enter your business with relative ease and comfort. You may be able to widen existing doorways or eliminate dividing walls during future renovations.

6. Avoid Strong Fragrances

A signature scent can be a fun addition to a shop. Strong fragrances can be irritating for people who experience migraines or other sensory distress, so reducing the amount of fragrance that you disperse and describing it on your website’s accessibility page are important considerations. If you are in doubt about whether your fragrance is too strong, act with caution and solicit honest feedback from loyal customers.

7. Modulate Music Volume

Music can be a great ambient sound background if you keep accessibility in mind. Lower the volume to make conversations more accessible for customers with hearing loss and sensory processing issues. You may also choose instrumental songs over a playlist with lyrics.

8. Write Captions for Promotional Videos

Your advertisements and other promotional videos on social media should have accurate captions. If you use auto-generated captions, make sure to edit them for accuracy before launching your campaign.

9. Include Image Descriptions Online

Social media and website builders allow users to create image descriptions for pictures or visual backgrounds. These descriptions are read allowed by electronic screen readers for people with low vision. Make a habit of uploading image descriptions with every item listing or social media post.

10. Describe Accessibility Details on Your Website

Create a dedicated accessibility page on your website to answer frequently asked questions. Describe your physical location and how you have made accessible design choices. Include contact information for patrons to ask additional accessibility questions.

An accessible business is better equipped to serve a wide customer base than its competitors.