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Accessibility law for PWD

In the last years, several new laws were enacted to help persons with disabilities (PWD). Just for some reference, Section 508 or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the USA, or the European Union Law EU 301549 are legislation aimed at assisting people with disabilities by ensuring equal access to goods and services throughout society. Did you know that more than 25 percent of Americans have some type of disability, according to the CDC?

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Advice on providing better service to PWDs

To provide better service to customers with disabilities, adopting a few essential practices can make a significant difference. Demonstrating patience, optimism, and a willingness to find effective communication methods are vital tools. Remember, people with disabilities are just like any other customers, so avoid making assumptions about the type of disability they may have, as some disabilities may not be visible. Taking the time to understand your customers’ specific needs will help you tailor your service to meet their requirements.

Be patient and allow individuals with certain disabilities the time they need to comprehend and respond. When in doubt, politely ask, “May I help you?” instead of assuming assistance is needed. Effective communication is key, so listen carefully, use plain language, and speak in short sentences to facilitate understanding. Respect personal boundaries by not touching service animals, as they are working, and always ask for permission before touching a wheelchair or equipment.

Tips on serving deaf or hard-of-hearing customers

Creating a supportive and respectful environment for customers with disabilities requires thoughtful practices. Always begin by asking how you can assist without raising your voice. Avoid mentioning the disability and refrain from using terms like “handicapped.” When seeking your customer’s attention, opt for a gentle touch on the shoulder or a friendly wave.

Ensure you are in a well-lit area, allowing your customer to see your face clearly. Maintain direct eye contact and address your customer directly, not their interpreter if present. If needed, inquire if a different communication method, such as pen and paper, would be preferred.

Be mindful not to obstruct your face when speaking and strive for clear and precise directions. If necessary, repeat or rephrase instructions to ensure understanding. Remember not to touch service animals, as they remain focused on their important work.

Respect privacy by discussing personal matters, like financial concerns, in a private room to prevent others from overhearing. For customers who are deaf, keep in mind that their first language may be American Sign Language (ASL), and patience is key during communication. If the person uses a hearing aid, aim to converse in a quiet area with minimal background noise.

Tips on serving deaf-blind customers

Promoting inclusivity for customers who are deaf-blind requires sensitivity and understanding. Avoid assuming their abilities, as deaf-blind individuals may have varying degrees of sight or hearing.

When communicating with a deaf-blind customer, follow their lead. They might provide guidance on how to interact with them or present an assistance card or note to facilitate communication. Address your customer directly, not the intervenor, and introduce yourself when approaching.

Respect the focus of service animals, by refraining from touching them, as they are working diligently. When interacting with a deaf-blind person, always seek permission before touching, except in emergencies.

Tips on serving customers with physical disabilities

Creating a welcoming environment for customers with physical disabilities requires thoughtful practices. Speak directly and naturally to your customer, avoiding conversations with someone accompanying them. Before offering assistance, ask if it’s okay. Avoid mentioning the disability and refrain from using terms like “handicapped,” ensuring respect and dignity in your interactions. Patience is key to understanding your customer’s needs fully.

Respect personal space by refraining from touching any assistive devices, such as wheelchairs (unless necessary in an emergency). Be proactive in providing information about accessible features in the immediate environment, such as automatic doors and accessible washrooms, to ensure your customer’s comfort and convenience. By embracing these considerate practices, you can create an inclusive and supportive space where all customers, regardless of physical abilities, feel valued and cared for.

The visually impaired

Visual disabilities vary in their impact, affecting individuals’ ability to see clearly. While only a few are completely blind, many experience limited vision like tunnel vision or a lack of central vision. This can restrict reading signs, locating landmarks, and recognizing hazards. This is why it is important to remediate your business and cater to such needs, as much as possible. Remember that it is not always simple to detect a person who lives with visual disabilities; not every visually impaired person would use a guide dog or a white cane for assistance.

Tips on serving customers with visual disabilities

When interacting with customers with disabilities that live with visual disabilities, follow these considerate guidelines for a positive experience. Always introduce yourself and speak directly to them, using a clear and normal tone. Avoid referring to their disability or using inappropriate phrases. Seek permission before touching, except in emergencies, and wait for their consent if offering assistance.

If guiding them, offer your elbow and move at a comfortable pace. Respect service animals, understanding they are working and need full attention. Provide precise directions and information, such as mentioning doors or obstacles.

Remember not to assume their sight capabilities and assist them to a chair or a comfortable area. Orient them to their surroundings by identifying landmarks or other details. When it’s time to part, say a friendly goodbye.

Above all, be patient, as tasks may take longer for some individuals. As a responsible business, familiarize yourself with emergency procedures for customers with disabilities. By implementing these practices, you create an inclusive and compassionate environment where all customers feel valued and respected.

Make your website accessible for PWD

By adopting these thoughtful practices, we can create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all customers. At EqualWeb, we are committed to championing accessibility and empowering businesses to cater to the diverse needs of their audience. Our comprehensive web accessibility solutions can help you create an inclusive online space, ensuring that everyone can access and engage with your digital content effortlessly, while simultaneously complying with legislation. Let’s work together to make the web a more inclusive place for all. Contact us today to embark on your journey toward accessibility and provide an exceptional user experience for every visitor.

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