Take action this Global Accessibility Awareness Day

This Global Accessibility Awareness Day we asked our coaches, “what’s something simple businesses can do right away to get the biggest impact?” Here’s what they said!

Six of the Design and Delivery team standing together outdoors for a photo. There is Angelo, Beth, Lauren, Peter, Colleen and Jess

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is a time that businesses feel inspired to take action towards greater accessibility. It’s an exciting time of year and we love seeing businesses ready to start their journey.

Our coaches and consultants have so much industry and lived experience to share, so we asked them for their top tips. Here are some ways for you to take action today!


Wayfinding signage and online information

My favourite accessibility tips are wayfinding signage and website information! Signage that lets people know where the entrance is, which way to go and what facilities are available can go a long way in making people feel more comfortable in an unfamiliar environment. Can I easily find the entrance, the toilet and how to move to different areas?

Having photos on your website so people know what to expect before they get there. Then I can recognise I’m at the right place, I know what to expect when I get there and if I need to contact someone before I go there are multiple ways to do this so I can choose how to communicate.

-      Jess



Rugs, mats and colour contrast

Improving colour contrast on things like doors, handles, fixtures and fittings, counters, signage and light switches will greatly improve a business’ environment. Making these more visible against their background makes them easier to identify for everyone, including people with low vision, or who are living with a neurological or intellectual access need.

Another simple thing is to remove loose rugs and mats. These are a trip hazard for all of us, especially for people who cannot lift their toes or are using a walking frame or crutches. If a mat is needed inside an entrance choose a style that can be secured to the floor with slip-resistant flooring transition strips on each side. Also, avoid solid black mats, even if secured to the floor, as these can look like a pit for people with dementia or a neurological condition.

-      Colleen


Accessibility pages and rubber thresholds

I am often amazed at how many places have existing access that no one is aware of unless you stumble in and notice. If every business had an accessibility page that showed accessibility features, e.g. a step-free entrance, people may feel more inclined to go. This can also help businesses show up easier in any access Google searches.

Putting rubber threshold ramps over low raised thresholds is a cheap option to encourage access, as well as removing unnecessary hazards and obstacles. These often occur when things are incorrectly stored, or include things such as planters or tables and seats being laid out within access routes.

Considering lighting and people's ability to hear others above the background and environment noise is another important factor.

-       Tony


Easily identifiable staff and doors

Clear, consistent wayfinding signage is extremely helpful, and similarly so is ensuring that staff are easily identifiable, i.e. have an identifiable uniform. These staff members should be aware of where the site’s facilities are and be able to provide clear verbal instructions. Another easy fix is putting colour-contrasted, slip-resistant nosings on steps.

Where possible, all doors operable by the public should be easy to use – you shouldn’t need all your strength to open them! If you do have heavy doors, investigate door-hold opening devices or have a professional adjust it. If it’s a fire door, consider installing a door-hold open device that is connected to a smoke and/or fire alarm system.

-      Peter


Get creative with colour and update information regularly

Like Colleen and Jess, I am also big on colour contrast and website information! Both can be super important, not just for physical disabilities but also cognitive.  

In particular, so many businesses use the same coloured doors as their walls throughout their spaces - this is an awesome place to use a bit of colour!! Both so that doors are more contrasting for those with a visual access need, but also to help with wayfinding. I personally find it so much easier when I can describe somewhere by 'landmarks' - and that includes inside of buildings. "Meeting Room 13.42, the one with the blue door" is super helpful for everyone!

And again, that website information - knowing what is going to be there before I get there, where facilities are, what the food options are (menus please restaurants!!), nearby parking or transport... And this also includes making sure that your opening hours are up to date on Google Maps!

-       Beth


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