Why your new 'Access' Webpage will create competitive advantage

Access is everything

If you run a shop, restaurant, bar or cafe, your success relies on people accessing your business and spending money. If they can't access your business, they can't spend money.

That's why including an Access page on your website, and promoting it, is as important to some of your customers as any other content you will publish.

Providing access information through digital channels makes it easier for disabled people and their friends and families to do business with you. And even if you don't offer something you might save someone a wasted journey by being up-front about it.

Why having an access web-page is vital

it helps you meet customer needs

  • Around 6-7million people in the UK have mobility restrictions
  • Around 2million people in the UK live with sight loss, with around 360,000 registered as blind or partially sighted
  • There are hundreds more temporary and permanent health conditions that can restrict mobility, dexterity, hearing, sight and an individual's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities
  • Businesses have a legal duty to prevent disabled people from being treated less favourably, yet when many make adjustments they neglect to promote or fully use them
  • Amazingly few businesses promote their premises or website accessibility via their website and/or social media channels
  • As a result, many people with disabilities find it harder to plan trips and make purchases, often undertaking wasted journeys to places they can’t access, navigate or interact with
  • Organisations risk legal penalties, loss of custom and reputational damage due to this inequality of service

and your legal responsibilities

As an employer/ service provider, you have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments to prevent disabled people from being treated less favourably. Where a policy, provision or practice places a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage steps must be taken to avoid the disadvantage including making changes to the physical environment (such as providing access to a building) and providing auxiliary aids and services. The second part of this duty, which requires changes to the physical environment, is anticipatory, where the employer/ service provider must take steps to avoid the disadvantage caused by any physical feature.

Source: Scottish Government - Making your premises accessible guide

creating your Access web-page

Share your efforts & be honest

  • Highlight any adjustments you've made to aid accessibility, like ramps, escalators, lifts, lighting, automatic doors, braille signage etc.
  • Highlight any equipment or technology that you've aquired to aid accessibility, like hearing loops, signature stamps, campus and building maps and apps etc.
  • Explain what you can’t do too. If your entrance has stairs and you can't build a ramp because of planning permission, say so. People appreciate honesty and transparency plus you might save them from a wasted/frustrated trip.

consider people's needs

  • Approaching your premises – Where are you based? Are you easy to find? what public transport is available? Do you provide parking and/or disabled parking?
  • Getting in - Are entrances well lit? Are there stairs, steps or a ramp? Are there any other obstacles?
  • Getting around – Are hallways wide enough to fit a mobility scooter or wheelchair? Are they free of obstacles? Are switches and controls easily reached?
  • Getting out - Are exits accessible? Are there stairs or any other obstacles? Are there special arrangements in place in the event of building evacuation?
  • Facilities - Tell people what Toilet facilities you provide and highlight if access is restricted by internal stairs, narrow corridors etc.

Answer all of these questions and any more you can think of

follow through & live your values

Making your business truly accessible takes more than creating an Access page, although it is a good starting point.

Seek specialist advice from a Diversity and Inclusion expert before making changes to your premises, policies and processes

Introduce an Access or Inclusion policy to embed your efforts, and train all employees so that they understand:

  • their role in promoting inclusion and accessibility
  • how to enquire about and meet customer needs without being intrusive
  • where equipment is stored and how to use it
  • what adjustments your organisation is willing to make for its disabled customers

This information is for guidance only. Access is a complicated subject and we always recommend seeking specialist advice from a Diversity and Inclusion professional before making changes.

Contact us today or visit our Services section to find out how we can help.