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Want to stay on the right side of the law? We support businesses and public authorities and help them to promote good practice.

Getting there, making it easy

Every Customer Counts

What you need to know


Getting there, making it easy

You need to make it as easy as possible for your customers to find you and get in to your premises. This can be difficult for some people who do not use the internet or have visual, hearing, mobility or cognitive impairments. It is important to provide clear signage.

Ensure your signage is in a visible location

  • Consider providing signs fixed to building walls rather than A-boards on footpaths. These can cause obstruction for most pedestrians and can be off-putting for your business
  • Flag signs attached to exterior walls can be a good way of getting noticed from a distance
  • Signs should not be too high or too low – make sure they can be seen clearly from afar or when nearby

Signs: provide clear information and make them easy to read

Provide clear information on your signage
  • This should be simple, clear and short
  • Identify your business, and say what is in the building
  • Include a street number, a name, website and / or telephone contact

Make sure signs are easy to read
  • Signs should not be on glass, behind glass or on reflective surfaces – it can make them more difficult to see
  • Use simple and clear ‘sans serif’ letters that are not italicised or underlined (this font is ‘sans serif’,
    this is not)
  • Letters should be big enough to read from a distance
  • Use a mix of lower and upper case lettering – this makes the text easier to recognise and therefore read
  • Ensure there is a good visual contrast between the letters and your sign background.

Assistance signs

Make sure that all customers feel welcome and let them know assistance may be available. If you have an intercom – indicate which button calls staff members.

  • Signs don’t have to be expensive, if you make your own, make sure that they are a good size, clear and easy to read.

Approach by foot

Make it easy for all customers to approach your premises, including, stick users, wheelchair users, people with assistants or guide dogs.

Footpaths should be clear of obstructions:

  • Unnecessary street furniture and clutter can be removed, such as, bins or A-boards
  • Surfaces should be maintained so they are firm, smooth and even
  • Gradients should be gentle – they are usually 1:20
  • Footpaths should have clear kerbs, and visual and tactile markings
  • Good lighting will provide added security
  • Planting on footpaths should be managed so it is not overgrown and not getting in anyone’s way

Help and Advice
For help and advice about crossing points, drop off points and dropped kerbs near your business, all of which make it easier for disabled customers to visit your premises, you should contact NIDirect by telephone 0300 200 7893.

You should then ask for:

  • Article 80 – Lowering pavements
  • Maintenance section – for broken or lowered pavements
  • Parking bays – for accessible parking for disabled people.

Avoid A-Boards

Streets in Northern Ireland made it into the top ten worst* in the UK in terms of A-board barriers – advertising boards which block the pavements for everyone and create a safety risk, especially for people with visual impairments. (*Source: Guide Dogs Street Clutter survey report)

Don’t block your customers – remove your A-boards and welcome more in.

Writing on the wall - Using signs fixed to building walls mean that A-boards don’t clutter the footpath. Flag signs attached to buildings higher up can be seen above crowds.

Outside seating areas

Keep a clear route – regardless of whether or not you have placed furniture in a regulated area (i.e. one that needs a pavement café licence), try at all times to keep open a clear route so that all pedestrians, including wheelchair users and people with pushchairs or walking aids, can pass by comfortably. Remember that you are under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that disabled people can access your services and facilities without unreasonable difficulty.

Provide an enclosed seating area – define the edges with screens not ropes – so people with visual impairments, especially cane users can identify the boundary at the ground level.

Parking - how to get it right

Clearly marked accessible bays with a vertical signpost at the end of the bay. Make sure markings and signs stay clearly visible and maintained over time Many disabled people drive or travel by car to get to where they need to go. Some may also cycle.

You need to provide:

  • clear and visible signage which will direct people to your car park, and accessible bays for disabled customers – ground markings and a vertical signpost at the end of the parking bay will help identify the correct spaces
  • a dropped kerb - from the parking bay to the footpath and your entrance
  • accessible parking bays - 2.4m x 4.8m with additional 1.2m hatched access zone to the side and rear for safe access
  • good management - these bays should be available to those who might need them most
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