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Accessible websites, pre-visit info

Every Customer Counts

What you need to know

 

Accessible websites and pre-visit information


Your website may be the first thing customers look at when making a decision about visiting and purchasing or using your services. You need to make a good first impression. It should convey a welcoming attitude towards all customers.

Things to think about include:

  • clear and accessible layout: websites need to be easy to read, navigate and use, have good contrast with text without fussy backgrounds
  • screen readers: ensure the website is compatible with text-to-speech converters, provide text captions and alternative text for images
  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) provide guidelines, quick at a glance tips are available

Pre-visit information

Before your customers or service users visit your premises, they are more than likely to have checked your website. Make it easy for your visitors to plan their trip by providing information on your opening hours, nearby transport links, and accessible facilities such as, induction loops, accessible toilets and large print resources. Make sure your website is accessible and easy to use.

Providing information in advance is helpful, especially if there are particular issues your visitors might face, such as limited space, or temporary ramps so customers can better prepare for their visit.

Contact details

Let visitors know when, where and who to contact by providing:

  • contact details – contact person, address, telephone number and / or email if people have specific queries about their visit
  • opening hours – for stores or offices and helplines
  • customer feedback – provide a channel for feedback – use the positive comments on your website to set you apart and improve your services
  • social media elements – provide instant information and support to customers about specific queries
  • current updates – social media can also be useful for live updates on any access facilities available or closed for maintenance or temporarily out of action
  • photos of trained staff – it can be reassuring to recognise faces and uniforms and know that staff have received customer service training.
 

Directions: how to get here

Remember X marks the spot, guide people to your door by providing:

  • a map with clear directions – include any useful directions / landmarks, how long is the walk from the train station or landmark?
  • public transport routes – give advice on how best to get to you whether by foot or bus, train and other means
  • parking information – do you have any designated accessible bays or drop off areas for disabled customers and are these close to the entrance?
  • a photograph of the front of the premises – helpful for people with learning disabilities and many others such as a tourists.
 

Services and facilities on offer

Let people know what you can offer, with information on:

  • accessible facilities – give details, for example on accessible toilet provision, changing room, Changing Places toilet, quiet room or nearest available facility.
  • any changes in level – ramps, lifts, steps, or a short narrow route – a photo and description can help
    people to make their own choices and plan their visit
  • services and equipment – such as induction loops, large print information, wheelchairs for loan,
    portable ramps, sign language interpreters and staff assistance available
  • photo / video guide of main areas – showing the route and processes can help visitors prepare for trips to larger buildings
  • sound clips of regular sounds – visitors can prepare for and expect the sound of frequent loud announcements, bells and alarms
  • concessions / discounts – if these are offered to older people, disabled people and students (special lunch rates, accommodation deals, loyalty discounts) – advertise these clearly.
  • access information on your website - Including a list of access facilities on your general ‘visit us’ page will be useful for visitors.
 
 


"Pre-visit information can help an individual with Autism or other disabilities prepare for their visit experience. Photos of trained staff helps visitors to recognise their uniforms and feel reassured. Ensuring that customers know that the business is disability aware can increase the numbers of individuals that use the service." - Christine English, Autism NI



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