How Accessibility Can Be Improved
What is Accessibility and Why Does It Matter?
What is Accessibility and Why Does It Matter?We use the term “accessibility” a lot here at Dreamscape Foundation. A big part of our mission is to provide accessibility to disabled individuals, but what does that even mean? If you aren’t familiar with the term, it all sounds pretty vague and abstract, yet this term refers to something very specific and crucial to everyday life.
What is Accessibility, Exactly?Accessibility is a term used to describe the level of usability for a product, service, device, or even environment in relation to individuals with limitations due to disabilities. This includes technology-based products, such as websites, mobile applications, and other electronic information. However, it isn’t limited to just those things. Accessibility also refers to physical locations like storefronts and facilities, as well as transportation, customer service and communication methods, and other elements of our everyday lives from the physical realm to the digital one. Because there is a wide range of disabilities in the world today, there is a lot to consider when creating accessible locations, products, and services. This includes (but isn’t limited to):
- Accessibility for the blind and visually impaired
- Accessibility for the hearing impaired
- Accessibility for individuals with limited mobility
Why Should Every Business Consider Its Own Accessibility?Accessibility may not seem like a big deal for individuals who don’t need it. However, if you take a moment to put yourself in the shoes of someone that does, it makes a world of a difference. Living with a disability can make everyday tasks into challenges. From public transportation and errands to browsing the web, using an app, or making a phone call, all it takes is one limitation to turn an easy-to-do list into an all-day affair. Imagine trying to pay your bills online when you have trouble moving a mouse or seeing the screen. Picture having to climb the steps into a building while in a wheelchair. Envision watching a movie you can’t see without the aid of an audio transcript that describes the scenes in front of you. This is why accessibility is important. It makes the places, objects, and joys of life available to everyone, with or without limitations. So what is it you as an individual or business can do to make life more accessible to people with disabilities? Many things, including:
- Making your website accessible through adaptations like those offered by User1st
- Creating easier access points through ramps, lever door handles, and automatic door systems
- Ensuring hallways and aisles are clear and bathrooms are wheelchair accessible
- Ensuring your tables, chairs and/or desks are wheelchair accessible
- Make sure your signage uses large fonts, imagery, and Braille for better readability
- Welcome feedback so you can identify and address unknown challenges
- Educate yourself and your business on accessibility methods and compliance