Could your business be missing out on the Purple Pound? The Purple Pound is the spending power of disabled people in the UK and is worth £274 billion per year. Considering accessibility and inclusion can support disabled customers to feel welcome and valued in a business.

1 in 5 UK consumers have a disability. And studies show that 85% of disabled people and their friends/families have walked away from a business due to inaccessibility or poor customer service.
In addition, 73% of disabled consumers experience barriers on more than a quarter of websites they visit. On top of this, it has been found that UK businesses lose approximately £2 billion per month by ignoring the needs of disabled people.

As a business, it is your responsibility to make your business accessible for disabled customers; both within your business premises and online.

Provide Employees With Disability Awareness Training

Your employees are the heart of your business. If they do not know how to help disabled customers or colleagues, it can be a big problem.

Disability awareness training will provide your employees with the knowledge and information they need to be inclusive of disabled people. It will raise awareness of barriers that disabled customers face, and highlight ways in which you and your employees can help to break down those barriers.

Aside from being more understanding towards customers, disability awareness training will also be helpful for when you are managing a disabled employee within your business.

Make Physical Changes To Your Business

If your business has a physical location that welcomes customers or clients, it is crucial that it is accessible. This may be a retail store, restaurant, office, leisure facility, tourist facility or healthcare business etc. Without accessible features, potential customers and clients will not be able to visit your business. Typically accessible adaptations include:

Ramps are necessary if there are steps at the entrance, exit or inside your premises. They make it possible for wheelchair users and those with mobility aids to easily enter your premises. Grab rails can also be added to provide additional support.

Clutter-Free And Spacious Aisles
Your business premises should be spacious enough for wheelchair users to seamlessly manoeuvre around the space, without the risk of bumping into something. It is important that any aisles, corridors and shop floors have clear walkways and clutter-free entrances/exits.

Accessible Bathroom
If your business is expected to provide customer toilets, they should always be accessible. An accessible toilet has specialised equipment that enables disabled people to use the bathroom safely.
Some toilets, such as Changing Places toilets, are designed for people who need a bit of extra space. They provide enough space and appropriate equipment, including hoists, for people to safely and hygienically use the bathroom unaided or with a personal assistant.
If you have adequate space, an existing room can be adapted and turned into an accessible Changing Places toilet. Alternatively, modular toilets are available.

If your business offers customer parking, the parking spaces closest to the entrance should always be allocated for disabled customers. The spaces should be widened and should be clearly signposted.

Aside from car park signage, your business premises should also have signs directing disabled customers to the nearest accessible exit, accessible toilet and lift, if applicable.

Make Digital Changes To Your Business
Have you ever considered whether or not your business website is accessible to disabled customers? Studies show that only a tiny fraction of websites are accessible. In 2019, a survey found that less than 1% of website homepages meet accessibility standards.
Without an accessible website, you could be missing out on disabled consumers. Perhaps they are visiting your website to purchase a product, or maybe trying to find out more information about your services. Maybe someone is looking for your opening times.

Without accessibility features, many disabled web users will not be able to use your website effectively. These changes can make a difference to the accessibility of your website:

  • Choose the right content management system, such as WordPress, when building your website and ensure it is built in an accessible template.
  • Make sure the website is keyboard friendly and can be navigated using the keyboard only (rather than a mouse). Navigating a webpage with a keyboard is usually done using the Tab key.
  • When writing content, use headings (H1, H2, H3 etc.) correctly and in the right order so that screen readers can easily interpret the content.
  • Ensure each image has a detailed alt text containing the message you wish to convey through that image.
  • Think carefully about the website colours as well as the text size and font. Aim to have high contrast between the foreground and background colours, such as white letters on a black background. Avoid thin fonts where possible.
  • Provide the option to enlarge font size (without breaking the layout of the page).
  • Give internal and external links descriptive names. For typing the content “click here” or “find out more” make sure this is pre-faced with text describing what people are about to click. Therefore, someone using a screen reader can interpret what the page and the link is referring to.Ensure any forms (contact forms, sign up forms, download brochure forms etc.) are designed for accessibility by labelling all form fields correctly.

Get In Touch

Want to find out more about making your business accessible? Get in touch with Celebrating Disability by clicking here today. We provide a range of services, including Disability Awareness Training, to enable equality and inclusion of Disabled People in the UK.