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Inside your premises

Inside your premises
Every Customer Counts

What you need to know


Inside your premises: Access all areas

It is important for customers to be able to move around freely, browse and feel comfortable within your store. Customers should be able to move around the retail area, browse and inspect goods, bring them to the cash desk and receive the same service as other customers.

Routes and surfaces

Keep a clear unobstructed width of 1500mm (preferred) 1200mm (minimum) for routes from the shop entrance to service and product areas, toilets, payment counters and emergency exits.

Check your routes for trip hazards and maintenance issues such as loose mats, spills or worn carpet, and remove any obstructions. Floors should be even and non-slip. Avoid narrowing routes with temporary displays as this can create a barrier for wheelchair users, people with mobility aids and all shoppers with trolleys or baskets. It also makes it harder for staff to restock items.


Stock should be:

  • Neatly and safely stacked on shelves and not project beyond the front of display units where they could present a hazard
  • Within reach of wheelchair users and people of a shorter stature. Popular goods which require a lot of shelf space could be arranged vertically so that they are available across a range of shelves and heights
  • Available with staff assistance if necessary: It is likely that there will be some goods that are displayed beyond the reach of all customers and staff will be required to provide assistance.


Signage should be clear and appropriate to help all people including those with visual impairments or learning difficulties orient themselves and locate stocked items easily.

  • Provide clear product /service labelling and pricing
  • Provide clear product / service information displays

Signs that work best are:

  • Simple and short
  • Bigger is better - good sized text, minimum 16pt font
  • Easily read and understood with clear font in a mixture of lower and upper case
  • Well contrasting with the background and the lettering
  • Supplemented by symbols
  • Not on reflective or glass backgrounds
  • Not behind glass which makes them difficult to read

Level changes

Try to minimise the number of level changes in your premises - make them easy to negotiate:

  • All public areas should be as accessible as possible to everyone
  • Consider providing a ramp or a platform lift for a short internal level difference
  • If not obvious, provide signs for the ramp or lift route
  • Warn people of all level changes as these can be a trip hazard. Provide good visual contrast to slopes and good lighting
  • All step edges (nosings) should be non-slip and visually highlighted
  • Install strong handrails that are easy and comfortable to grasp both sides and extend beyond the top and bottom steps or the top and bottom of slopes. They should also have good visual contrast.

Ramps steeper than 1:20 should have handrails at both sides. Provide visual warning at the edge of the ramp to reduce the trip hazard risk. Where steps are provided as a route choice, ensure that handrails are provided to both sides and the stair nosing (edges) visually contrast with the rest of the step to help with identification and depth perception. Level landings between flights gives people a chance to rest.


Whether you are a small clothing store, bank or retail shop, chances are you want your customers to stay for longer, feel comfortable and create a great purchasing or service environment.

Tips for seating:

  • Provide flexible seating areas - where furniture can be moved around
  • Have a range of chairs available - if you have chairs with back support, seats at different heights, with and without armrests, people can more easily transfer into and out of the seats
  • Clear routes (900mm minimum) - between the tables and a choice of seating type will accommodate a wide range of users
  • Space underneath tables – for wheelchair users to approach and fit their knees comfortably under a table and for assistance dogs.


Providing counters and writing surfaces at different heights will make life easier for all of your customers. A lowered section of a desk should be no more than 760mm high. A food serving or bar counter should have a section 850mm high for a length of at least 1500mm. All counters should have 700mm high knee space beneath them for wheelchair users to approach. Face-to-face service is important for many of your visitors; some might be lip-reading or may need reassurance from a friendly staff member. Remember, no-one really likes to fill out a form, especially if there isn’t a comfortable height to work at.

Make it easy for all your customers to make a payment:

  • lower counter section - provide a surface no higher than 760mm from the floor level for wheelchair users and customers of shorter stature, or a single lower counter that suits everyone. There should be 700mm high knee space underneath the counter for wheelchair users to approach
  • clutter free - do not place items in front of the counter so that people have to lean over to reach the counter
  • priority policy - or provide a chair at the counter for people less able to stand in a queue
  • well lit counter - so that it is easy for someone lip-reading to see the cashier’s face portable payment terminals - located so they can be easily used in a comfortable position by all customers
  • portable payment teminals - located so they can be easily used in a comfortable position by all customers
  • induction loop - a hearing enhancement system that assists people who wear hearing aids. Clearly indicate with signage the availability of the hearing loop and train staff how to use it.

No space for a counter? Provide a clipboard
Perhaps your service or business is always on the move, or there’s no space for a counter, you could always make sure that a clipboard is ready for use by your customers.


Lighting and communication

Make sure your building is well-lit so that signs, product labels, menus, steps, thresholds, slopes or door handles, can be easily seen. Good lighting is essential for lip-reading. If background noise and music make it difficult for customers and staff to talk to each other, turn the music down or off.

Hearing enhancements like induction loops will help support communication in meeting rooms, at counters and information points. Make sure that there are signs to show that these are available.

Being accessible is an ongoing aim – it is important to regularly check that everything is working as it should.

Be in the loop: The induction loop sign lets visitors know to switch their hearing aids to the T-setting.

Tips for lighting and contrast:

  • Avoid bright light and dark shadows
  • Highlight hazardous areas such as steps or other changes in level
  • Maximise light by keeping glass clean, maintaining lamps and blinds, and replace blown bulbs quickly
  • Minimise glare from large areas of white or reflective surfaces – this can be done by adjusting lighting
  • Use colours to guide the way
  • Use dark and light colours to distinguish between large features or areas, such as, doors, floors,
  • walls and ceilings
  • Smaller fittings, such as, light switches, handrails and door handles should also contrast well against backgrounds
  • Do not use large areas of mirrors or glazing without markings – these may be difficult to identify and people might walk into them and injure themselves.
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