As you might have learned by now, the value of your product or service is directly related to the customer experience. If you’re willing to adapt your business and become accessible to foster a sense of inclusion, you’ll be able to tap into a larger audience segment. Not sure where to start? Here are some basic principles to deploy in order to make your business more accessible!
Approaches to Make Your Business More Accessible
Step 1 – Make Your Website Accessible
We live in a digital world where an organization’s website can make or break its reputation. People with disabilities like deafness or visual impairments must be able to use your website. Still, they can only do so if your site has been designed with the best accessibility practices.
To cater to disabled individuals, you will need to implement a few fundamental changes such as:
- Disabling autoplay for video content.
- Creating transcripts and interpretations for audio content.
- Tagging all your visual elements.
- Making your website’s accessibility features easy to find.
These accessibility features should also be adapted to your social media pages, if possible. Social media agencies like Hello Social can help make your content more accessible and friendly to audiences regardless of ability.
Step 2 – Translate and Localize Your Content
Every business needs localized content, but localization goes beyond just modifying a translation to make it sound local. If you’re catering to an audience with hearing impairments, for example, you’ll need help with sign language interpretation that caters to an array of sign languages and their unique dialects.
Almost 60% of consumers want to consume information in their own language, which is why localization (in more than just spoken and written language) holds a lot of power. If you don’t know how or where to start with this process, it makes sense to seek professional help. Day Translations offers expert assistance with translations, localization, and sign language interpretation.
Step 3 – Train Your Employees
Sensitive training on how to communicate with disabled customers is crucial if you want to transform your business and make it more accessible. Your staff should be prepared to interact with customers that have visual and hearing impairments, and they should be willing to offer assistance instead of making assumptions.
Step 4 – Use Assistive Technologies
If you have the right tech tools on your side, there’s a potential goldmine of customers to reach. One example is Video Relay Service (VRS), which allows deaf customers to interact with businesses with the help of a sign language translator and real-time video-calling.
Because disabilities can affect hearing, cognitive function, or the immune system, there are many different types of assistive technologies. Most of them are created with a general purpose in mind, but some can also be customized to suit individual needs. Some of the most common assistive technologies include:
- Screen readers that read on-screen text out loud.
- Voice recognition that converts spoken words into digital text.
- Switch devices that replace a mouse and keyboard, allowing users to control devices with ease.
- Motion or eye-tracking technology that allows users to control mouse pointers with their eyes or parts of their body.
Step 5 – Use Feedback Constructively
To make your business more accessible, you’ll need to listen to your audience and ask them what it is they’d like to see improved. Listening to your customers should actually be the first step towards a product or service that offers as few barriers to user experience as possible.
To gain valuable insights from high volumes of feedback, you need to develop an approach to take in that information. Most customer survey systems are clunky and don’t incentivize honest and candid responses. However, there are plenty of quality customer survey systems, including the most popular ones such as Salesforce and Hubspot surveys. Think along the lines of offering more ways to respond, including text, interesting emojis, number scales, and more. The more options you give customers, the more willing they’ll be to express their thoughts.
Step 6 – Understand That Accessibility is an Ongoing Project
After you’ve had all the important conversations, made the adjustments, and educated your team about how they can offer assistance to individuals with disabilities, you’re done, right? The answer is no. Even though you’ve made significant progress toward making your business more accessible, the process isn’t something that actually ever comes to an end.
There will be new technologies worth exploring. New employees might join your team, and because inclusivity is part of accessibility, your team could even include individuals with disabilities. Accessibility is an ever-evolving process that requires evaluation and effort regularly, and this is a fact you need to accept.
If your business has the means to adapt and become accessible, there’s no reason not to do so. In fact, your business is required by law to comply with ADA standards, so accessibility shouldn’t be optional; it should be essential.
Even though optimizing your business for accessibility might cost you some time and money, it’ll be worth every cent you spent. Regardless of the size of your business, accessibility matters. And if you follow these basic guidelines, you can grow your company into a more welcoming place for everyone!