Business, Tech

The Technology of Making Your Business More Accessible

If you run a business, one of the things that you want to do is make sure that you get as many customers as possible. To do this, many businesses focus on offering the perfect product and on marketing their product in the right way. However, there’s another way to consider whether you’re drawing in customers in the right way. Sometimes, you might get close to having customers engage with your brand, but then they are unable to at the last second. This is because your business might not be accessible to all, and in particular to disabled people.

Accessibility has become a big issue in business, and it’s something that is being explored in the tech world. Apple has been praised for its focus on accessibility for their phones and other products, and many other tech companies are trying to offer more accessibility too. Technology can help to make a business or product more accessible to disabled people, and also to people of different ages, who speak different languages, and more. There are various types of technology that can, directly and indirectly, help to make your business more accessible both online and offline.

If you want your business to offer more, finding ways to improve accessibility is beneficial to everyone. By making your business accessible to more people, you can welcome more customers. Take a look at some of the ways you could be creating a more accessible business using technology.

Image from Pixabay

Accessible Apps

Mobile apps are a big business, and they are used in many ways. Some people base their whole business around an app that they have developed or a number of different products. Other businesses use apps for many different purposes, from offering an easy way to shop online to giving their customers an app-based loyalty program. Apps can be accessible in lots of different ways, whether they’re specifically built to offer assistive technology or they have been developed so that anyone can use them.

Some apps might be designed especially to improve accessibility. For example, they might make a restaurant menu available to visually impaired people by offering the ability to enlarge text or by reading the menu out loud. Other apps can be for everyone but coded in such a way that they are also accessible for people with certain needs. For example, an app might be developed so that a screen reader can tell a visually impaired person what is on the screen while using the app, although the app itself can be used by anyone.

To make your business more accessible, you might want to consider whether there are mobile apps that could help. Or if you want to introduce an app for another purpose, making sure that it is developed to be accessible to all is helpful.

Image from Pxhere

Building Accessible Websites

Every business now needs to have a website. If you don’t have an online presence, you’re sure to be missing out on a lot of business. But if you build a website, you should consider how to make it usable for different types of people. You might want to begin by thinking about what it looks like, including the colors used, the text size, and your use of images. If building a simple website using a website builder, there are often useful tools that make it easier to create an accessible website. These might include plugins from WordPress and similar tools. However, when developing a site from scratch, there might be a lot for your developer to think about.

As well as thinking about disability when making a website more accessible, you might consider global accessibility. Having a website that is available in different languages can help a business to expand its audience. Translation tools can help with this, although they’re not always the most accurate option. Human translation is still often superior.

Offering a Choice of Communication Options

Good communication is key for doing business. Whether you’re communicating with suppliers, customers, or anyone else, clear communication is vital. One way to use technology to make your business communication more accessible is to offer a variety of ways to communicate with you. Different methods of communication work well for different people. For some, speaking on the phone is what works best. For others, email, a live chat, or even a video chat option would be better for them. Offering different types of communication isn’t just useful for disabled people. It’s also a good thing to do for everyone you communicate with.

Image from WGBH

Technology for Subtitling

There are many ways to make content more accessible for people with visual impairments, but it’s also important to consider people who are deaf or hard of hearing. One of the most important things to consider is any content that largely relies on audio. If you post video content, closed captioning companies can use both technology and talented people to add subtitles and ensure accessibility. This is also useful for anyone viewing your video, as they might just be scrolling past on a social media site or simply unable to listen at that point in time. Captions allow anyone to get the full context of the video without sound.

For other audio content, such as podcasts, a transcript can be a useful way to make it accessible. When you publish a podcast or audio file on your website, you can publish a transcript below it so that anyone who can’t listen or doesn’t want to can read the transcript instead. It can also benefit your business in other ways, including helping with SEO and providing a written record of your audio content. There is technology available for transcribing, but having it done by humans can often be more accurate.

In-store Assistive Technology

For businesses that have physical locations to welcome their customers, in-store technologies can help to make their premises welcoming to all. There are many ways to do this, and not all of them are new. For example, some stores have an induction loop for hearing aids that provides information on a certain frequency so that people who use hearing aids can tune into it using the T-coil in their device. Other technology might include equipment that makes it easier to get around the space, including entering and exiting the building.

Training Tech for Employees

Accessibility can’t always be left up to technology alone. People are also needed to provide assistance in many ways. Staff training can help businesses to provide customer service for all, helping with knowledge and sensitivity about disabilities, education on the law, and the best ways to provide assistance. Employees can learn about assistive technology and how to use it to help customers. They can also learn about accessibility through web-based courses and software.

Accessible Technology for Employees

Another way to make a business more accessible is to think about employees, as well as customers. There are some ways to do this before hiring anyone who might need any adjustments, such as ensuring your building is accessible to all. However, it’s also often something to work on with individual employees. Discussing with an employee what sort of assistive technology might be helpful for them to do their work and what other adjustments could help them will make sure that you are paying attention to their needs. It often doesn’t take much to make adjustments that will help someone work in their own way.

Technology can help to make your business more accessible to all. If you want to be more open to everyone, consider what changes you can make.

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