61 million adults in the United States are living with a disability—that’s 1 out of every 4 people (CDC). And while many people hear the term “disability” and think of visible, physical restrictions, it applies far beyond what the eye can see, spanning mobility, cognition, hearing, vision, and more.
What does this mean as a business owner? Many of your own customers have a disability, oftentimes one that you aren’t aware of. To help better accommodate all customers that do business with you, check out these easy shifts you can make in your business, using insights from real customers.
1. Whatever can be watched should be able to be read.
Include closed captions for all video content you share—from your website to your social media. List transcripts of any audio and include descriptive captions.
2. Be sure your physical space is easy to get around.
Include enough space between aisles, tables, and furnishings. Install floor lighting around steps and walkways. Make sure all tables, chairs, and railings are sturdy—many with physical impairments rely on those structures to help them stand up and get around.
3. Use inclusive, respectful language—or “people-first language.”
For example, instead of using saying “handicapped parking or bathroom,” use language that refers to accessibility (instead of disability) like “accessible parking or bathroom.” Rather than pointing out what someone can’t do, talk about what they are able to do—so instead of saying someone “can’t talk,” share that they use a device to speak.
See the CDC’s “Communicating With and About People with Disabilities” guide for more tips.
4. Make sure your signs are simple and easy to understand.
Add clear, easy-to-understand drawings next to instructions and add pictures next to descriptions. This helps people understand the message, no matter their experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
See more accessibility improvements to consider, put together by a leading disability writer, editor, and advocate for The Mighty.
Additionally, in honor of National Disability Pride Month, Yelp has compiled a list of highly rated wheelchair-accessible restaurants across the United States using Yelp’s wheelchair-accessible attribute*. From a tropical-themed spot in Big Bear Lake, California, to a waffle place in Hawaii, there are a variety of great eateries that provide a welcoming and comfortable space for wheelchair users.
*Businesses on this list have opted into the wheelchair accessible attribute on Yelp. Learn more about adding attributes.
Editorial contributions by The Mighty is an online health community that supports people living with disability, chronic illness, rare disease, and mental health. It is a leading publisher in health care, offering more than 50,000 articles that provide tips and resources for managing hundreds of health conditions and providing a platform for people with health challenges to publish their personal experiences navigating health care. The world’s largest online health community, featuring more than 3.5 million registered members, The Mighty offers a safe, 24/7-moderated social network for individuals with health conditions and their loved ones to connect, give and get support, share resources, and speak honestly about what living with health challenges is really like. The Mighty boasts 5 million monthly visitors across TheMighty.com and the free Mighty app. Learn more about the company.
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The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.