Ensuring Accessibility for All:
A Guide to Making Your Business More Inclusive
Having worked with people with a disability for over 10 years, and having both family members and friends with a disability, we have experienced the affects of a lack of accessibility on everyday lives. People not being able to leave their homes because they had no vehicle to move them around, people not being able to try on clothes at the shops because there was no change room, people isolating themselves in their home because they felt weird because of their disability and embarrassed asking for help and people having to climb up stairs on their arms because there was no lift in the building.
This is why we are very passionate and care a lot about creating greater accessibility in the community for everyone. It is important that everyone feels comfortable and included. It’s doubly important that businesses understand and recognise opportunities to create greater accessibility and equal opportunities to people of all abilities.
So, firstly you may ask well What Is Accessibility and how does this Look for Businesses?
Accessibility refers to the design of products, services, and environments that can be used by people of all abilities, including those with disabilities. It is a broad concept that encompasses physical, sensory, and cognitive aspects of accessibility. This includes making sure that spaces, products, and services are usable and understandable for everyone.
What is the Importance of Accessibility?
Accessibility is not just a legal requirement but also a moral obligation. It ensures that everyone has equal access to goods and services, regardless of their physical, sensory, or cognitive abilities. By making your business more accessible, you can open your doors to a wider audience and increase your customer base. It can also improve your reputation as a socially responsible business
What are the Laws and Regulations?
There are various laws and regulations that businesses need to comply with to ensure accessibility. In Australia, the law that governs accessibility is the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA). The DDA makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person on the basis of their disability, and requires that reasonable adjustments be made to ensure equal access to goods, services, facilities, and public spaces. The DDA applies to a wide range of areas, including employment, education, transport, and the provision of goods and services. The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is responsible for enforcing the DDA and handling complaints related to disability discrimination.
How do you Ensure Accessibility in your Business?
Here are some ways that you can ensure accessibility in your business:
- Conduct an Accessibility Audit: Conduct an audit of your business to identify areas where accessibility can be improved. This can include physical barriers, such as steps, narrow doorways, and inaccessible toilets, as well as other barriers, such as unclear signage and difficult-to-use technology.
- Make Physical Changes: Make physical changes to your business to remove barriers and improve accessibility. This can include installing ramps, widening doorways, and providing accessible toilets.
- Train Your Staff: Train your staff on how to interact with customers with disabilities and how to provide accessible customer service. This can include how to communicate effectively with people who are deaf or hard of hearing, how to assist people with mobility impairments, and how to provide information in accessible formats.
- Provide Accessible Technology: Provide accessible technology, such as screen readers and captioning, to make your website and digital content accessible to people with disabilities.
- Use Universal Design Principles: Use universal design principles to make your products and services accessible to everyone. This can include designing products with a range of users in mind and creating spaces that are usable by people of all abilities.
How do you Train Staff on Accessibility?
Training your staff on accessibility is crucial to ensuring that your business is inclusive and welcoming to people with disabilities. Here are some tips on how to train your staff:
- Provide Disability Awareness Training: Provide disability awareness training to your staff to help them understand the challenges faced by people with disabilities and how to interact with them in a respectful and inclusive way.
- Provide Technical Training: Provide technical training to your staff on how to use assistive technology, such as screen readers and captioning, to make your website and digital content accessible to people with disabilities.
- Provide Customer Service Training: Provide customer service training to your staff on how to provide accessible customer service to
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