News & Blog

In a recent posting we discussed “journey mapping” as a tool for improving customer experiences in the healthcare sector. This week, we share thoughts on “design thinking,” an approach that is described as “a human-centered way of...

Why it is important to have all your space available to able bodied and disabled patrons

News & Blog

In a recent posting we discussed “journey mapping” as a tool for improving customer experiences in the healthcare sector. This week, we share thoughts on “design thinking,” an approach that is described as “a human-centered way of...

Unless it really is totally unrealistic to do so, companies and owners of other types of building need to make sure that every part of their premises is accessible to wheelchair users and to other disabled people.

The definition of ‘disabled’ here might encompass: people with minor or major physical impairment, the partially sighted, the deaf or anyone with a mental impairment of some kind.

The first reason for this is the legal obligations companies face under the Equality Act 2010. This legislation requires companies, shops and owners of public buildings to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to accommodate the needs of disabled people. Only if a particular adjustment is just too costly or too logistically difficult to make would it fall outside the definition of ‘reasonable’.

Examples of ways in which offices and other buildings can be adapted to address the needs of disabled people include:

  • Installing a lift that has a door closing mechanism that takes into account the needs of wheelchair users
  • Reducing the steepness of steps and stairs
  • Widening an entrance or corridor, or the gap between banks of desks in the open office
  • Installing automatic doors
  • Installing a disabled toilet
  • Improving lighting and signage
  • Installing a fire alarm that has both a flashing light and a siren
  • Making written information available in Braille and/or audio
  • Providing a hearing aid induction loop
  • Giving certain staff special responsibility for assisting disabled colleagues and visitors

The second reason is simply a moral obligation not to be seen to be discriminating against anyone.

Finally, companies whose premises are fully accessible can ensure that they are provising the best experience to everyone.

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