1 November 2017 / RightHear / Mollie Cole, Community & Content Manager
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Happy November! Now that the kids have calmed down from the sugar rush of Halloween, it’s time to begin with Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, New Years, and all of the other great festivities that happen this time of year.
If you’re like any other venue in the US, you’ll be doing lots of redecorating over the next two months to keep in the holiday spirit. If you’re really going for it, this might mean that you change the colours on the walls (or choose a peel and stick wallpaper to save you some time) and you might even be purchasing some new furniture/storage. You may want to change your window shutters as well so that they fit in with your holiday theme. If you’re unsure on which ones to buy, then you could have a look at this large selection of plantation shutters for inspiration. Since you’ll probably be moving around the merchandise, changing color schemes and signage, and giving your venue a bit of an overhaul anyways, the holidays are an amazing time to consider the accessible design and make sure that your venue can welcome anyone this season. Also, besides it simply being the right thing to do, accessibility around the holiday season means spreading inclusion and good spirits, which could fit nicely into your holiday marketing campaign.
Anyways, let’s get started. You’ll want to start decorating in December, making sure your home is festive and bright. As we put up all of these lights and decorations for the holidays, it’s important to think about our electricity usage. It’s likely that the electricity bills will increase around the festive period due to all of these decorations. As Christmas is already an expensive holiday, it might be worth homeowners having a look at some of the electricity deals on 4change energy and other electricity suppliers to see if they can save some money during the holidays. Powering decorations can cost a lot of money, so be sure to try and save some money where possible on utility bills. Holiday lights can look lovely, but make sure you’re putting them up carefully. Christmas lights have actually been known to cause fires before now. This is usually due to people placing them carelessly. Most people put these sorts of lights onto their real Christmas tree. Whilst this can look nice, it can actually cause house fires. Although it’s not common, it’s important to try and keep electrical sources away from real Christmas trees if possible. Additionally, it might be worth getting some home insurance if you don’t already have it. This can protect all of your possessions in the event of a fire. Some homeowners might want to visit Money Expert (see more here) to compare home insurance providers. This should help you to find the best provider, keeping your possessions and home safe at a reasonable price. A fire at Christmas would be awful, so make sure your home is protected.
Here are 5 rules you must follow to make sure your store’s holiday make-over is also an accessible one.
- Use bright, well-lit decorations. These will not only help your visitors who are blind or visually impaired be able to navigate your venue more easily, but they will also be an inviting attraction for sighted customers. Even better, use lighting to create high contrast elements and eliminate shadowy corners that can be misleading for people who are visually impaired.
- Include tactile elements, such as ornaments that people are welcome to touch or play with or jingle bells that visitors can hear ringing. If families frequent your venue, consider buying some cheap materials like popsicle sticks or pipe cleaners so all kids – with visual impairments or not can create holiday-themed crafts while the parent’s shop.
- Include Braille or large-print written materials. If you’re reprinting menus or signs around your store to be in the holiday spirit, order extra copies in Braille or large-print. It won’t be a huge extra expense on top of what you’re already getting and it will make a world of difference to your visitors who are blind or visually impaired.
- Use smell. This is a subtle (and often overlooked) touch that can bring the holidays alive for all of your guests?-?not just those who are visually impaired. A candle or air freshener with the scents of the season such as cinnamon, pine, or vanilla, will surround your visitors with holiday cheer.
- Be mindful of new layouts and where you place decorations. Sometimes a large centerpiece decoration or reorganized merchandise can block familiar pathways around your venue. This can be a challenge for visitors who are blind or visually impaired because they are disoriented from how your store usually is. If you have the RightHear solution installed, make sure to update your venue’s information in the online dashboard to easily avoid this issue. If you haven’t installed RightHear yet, consider leaving large pathways and avoiding sharp turns so visitors using a wheelchair, white cane or guide dog can easily navigate in your reorganized space.
What do you think? Are the holidays a good time to focus on accessibility? Tell us in the comments or on social media! Share this article along with your own tips on accessible holiday decorations.