Almost one in five United States residents lives with a disability of one kind or another. Of this 56.7 million people, around 8.1 million are affected by impaired vision.
Businesses and organizations catering to the public must follow the Americans with Disabilities Act’s regulations, across all industries and fields. Failing to consider the needs and requirements of the millions living with disabilities is simply unacceptable. For example, building access is essential for all disabled people, there should be ramps leading into buildings that have steps, and there should be elevators big enough to have wheelchairs in them. Plus, they should be operational at all times, and if there are any issues, they need to be attended to as quickly as possible, e.g. fixing broken ramp electronics, or getting a proper sheave replacement for the elevators.
In this post, we’ll explore the different aspects of ADA compliance to ensure you know what’s expected.
Understanding the ADA’s Purpose
The ADA is in place to create equal opportunity for people affected by disabilities across multiple areas:
Services from local and State government
As a federal law, the ADA prevents businesses excluding individuals through a lack of accessibility. This is based on general fairness, with the expectation that everyone has the right to work, benefit from local / State services, use public amenities and enjoy the quality of life they want.
If you run a business, you have a responsibility to check the ADA’s regulations and confirm you comply with them in full.
Key Points of Accessibility
It’s all too easy to take accessibility for granted when you’re unaffected by disabilities, which makes the ADA’s work so important.
But what does the term ‘accessibility’ suggest to you? Wheelchair ramps at entrances and exits? Disabled toilets in the mall?
It actually goes far beyond this. Here are some of the main changes you may need to make, both in your premises and online.
Any physical obstructions or barriers that could pose a health risk to people affected by disabilities (including impaired vision or blindness) must be removed or amended to eliminate said danger, to a reasonable degree.
Any menus, signs and files customers depend on at your business should be available in Braille too. This is imperative to help people living with blindness or impaired vision find their way around independently.
Another way to maximize independence is to integrate an indoor orientation solution into your property. Just by adding sensors at strategic locations, you can give your customers the freedom to use RightHear to find their way. Audio directions will direct them wherever they wish to go, all through this innovative app.
Your website must be designed for practical, comfortable use by people living with blindness or vision impairments. If it is not, it would be a good idea to speak to a website development company such as Nopio to see if they are able to make the changes required, so that it is inclusive for everyone.
Convert documents, news and guides into an audio format or into an interactive video format. These should be built to accommodate transcription well, providing a quality listening experience.
Your website content (sales copy, blogs, product descriptions etc.) should be structured in such a way that users relying on a screen reader can still find their way around properly. Clear language and directions are a big help.
Large print should be available too, for people with limited sight. Add a re-size button for fast adjustments.
Complying with ADA regulations will help your business deliver a far better, safer, more welcoming experience for people living with disabilities.
Take the steps explored above to improve your accessibility and stay in line with the ADA. If you run a business, what changes have you made to suit those affected by disabilities? What positive impact has this had on your day-to-day operations?