Bringing Accessibility Inside Your Store Design
We all understand the need for accessible venues. However, accessibility often comes as a second thought rather than a fully integrated strategy. More often than not, customers or visitors with limited mobility or varying handicaps are unsure whether a place is accessible. Many also complain about shops that fail to maintain accessibility standards throughout the experience, such as designing a wheelchair-friendly entrance but failing to maintain a sufficient width for wheelchairs inside the store.
Many customers with a handicap are uncomfortable asking for support inside a business, as they’ve experienced that most assistants and helpers lack training. The bottom line: Accessibility needs to become a prominent part of everyday business life. As such, entrepreneurs have to transform their design and interactions accordingly.
Let the decor share the message
Unfortunately, old buildings may not be accessibility-friendly as a result of how they were built. Even when a shop has been designed with accessibility in mind, things may not be obvious from an outsider’s point of view. Therefore, accessibility needs to play a part in your storefront decor as well. Simple choices such as paint and signage enhance visibility. But they can also be utilized to promote your accessible values. For instance, non-flashy signage can be a game-changer for individuals who have epilepsy. A shop that adds a small Braille sign introducing their name, specialty, and opening hours will also send the right message to the visually impaired community.
Similarly, your outdoor landscaping should ensure that individuals using wheelchairs or mobility scooters can access the door without obstacles or difficulties. It is worth remembering as well that not everyone with limited mobility used a wheelchair. Many individuals prefer to walk with a cane or crutches. They require easy and safe paths to walk.
Add easy solutions for independent shopping
Shoppers want to feel empowered. Most people feel self-conscious when they have to ask an assistant to help in public. But your shop can offer a simple solution to bridge the gap between shoppers and assistants. Fitting rooms, for instance, can be fitted with a call for help button. The button can offer different options, using electronic parts and a simple programming device — you can learn more about custom-made electronics for this project. For instance, someone with limited mobility can struggle to get dressed or undressed in a fitting room. But requesting a helper who is experienced with mobility issues can completely transform their shopping experience.
Introduce waiting areas
As mentioned, not all handicaps are visible. Someone with mobility issues could still be able to walk. However, they could need to rest frequently. Similarly, someone who’s visually impaired may not feel comfortable waiting for friends while standing up. The addition of seating areas inside large shopping centers or in front of small shops can help make the experience safe enjoyable for your customers. Elderly customers and pregnant women can also benefit from the introduction of benches and seats. It can also be advantageous to install charging areas for smartphones. A lot of people with handicaps rely on apps for guidance.
Design an accessible layout for your store needs to become an overarching strategy that encompasses the whole design of your customer-facing premises. Accessibility comes in many forms and shapes. It is time to stop considering accessibility as a second thought to create thoughtful, welcoming, and people-friendly spaces.