Accessibility tends to be an afterthought when for businesses. When the moment comes and they need to serve a person with disability (PWD), business owners fall short of the customer service their patrons deserve. That’s why businesses should give their potential customers equal opportunity to access their goods and services. They need to be compliant with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design.
Think of it this way. If you’re a private physical therapist, you’d make sure the location of your private practice has an elevator leading to it, a PWD parking space, and ramps. Or you’d at least have your practice on the first floor. Otherwise, how do you think your patients will get there?
Taking into consideration accessible design lets you be fully compliant with the ADA Standards. This means that your business can be accessed by all kinds of customers without the need for special accommodations.
Here are some areas in your business that need to have accessible design in mind to meet ADA compliance:
If you’re thinking of redoing your parking lot paving, why not add PWD parking spaces while you’re at it? These specialized spaces let PWD customers have a wide berth when they’re getting off their vehicles. You can add signage to signify that the said parking spaces are for PWD customers only.
From the parking lot, now to your building. Typically, accessible slopes are for PWDs or injured people in wheelchairs. However, they can also be useful for parents with baby strollers, elderly people, and delivery workers. This, as long as they’re sloped according to the precise requirements the ADA recommends, not like this steel barricade of a ramp.
Don’t just pick a door that fits in the doorway. Make sure both the door and your doorway are wide enough for your customers to pass through, whether they’re in wheelchairs or on crutches. You also need to make the door’s opening force easy enough for them to access. These options will be beneficial for able-bodied people as well.
How wide are your building’s corridors? How long does it take for a person to get from point A to point B without getting hit by an obstacle on the side? Having an unobstructed path of travel lets people go in and out of your business with ease. This is especially important when it comes to emergencies. There needs to be a means of egress that allows all people to exit without somebody getting left behind or obstructed.
Websites are now treated as “places of public accommodation”, which means they also need to be ADA-compliant, as well. Typically, web developers and designers refer to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) published by the World Wide Web Consortium to achieve an ADA-compliant website. So, if you have a website, make sure they meet the WCAG 2.0 standards.
If you’re constructing a new building, you can also consider universal design elements, such as automatic doors. This broader approach allows for ease of access that can benefit everyone, from PWDs, people with trolley carts, to delivery workers with huge parcels and injured people using crutches.
Either way, complying with the ADA standards lets your business serve all kinds of people equally. Make your business accessible by focusing on these areas.