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5 ways to improve your accessibility offline with technology

There have been a lot of discussions around online accessibility in recent years. Happily, it seems like the awareness at most businesses and organizations to make sure their online presence is accessible for everyone – had increased dramatically.

While that is great, have you ever wondered how an offline experience at the shopping center, hospital, airport, or even at the local restaurant – could be more accessible for those with sensory or cognitive challenges?

In this short blog post, I’d like to list 5 ways to improve your customer experience with accessibility solutions that you can easily implement today and can help to improve the experience for TONS of people.

Hopefully, you’ll find this list important enough to share it with your colleagues.

1. Audible Wayfinding Systems

Have you ever wondered how a person who is blind or visually impaired can visit your facility? The truth is that up until recent years, the answer to that was: “only with somebody” to guide him. But in the past 3 years, different apps popped up that allow audible wayfinding experience for those with a sight impairment or other orientation challenges.

With the new social distancing reality, it seems like we’ll see more of these technologies in public spaces, so since it is obviously better to be ahead of your market, I recommend you’ll take a deeper look at this.

To get started, check our RightHear, which is one of the most popular apps in this domain and is also offering a starter kit at a very affordable price.

RightHear Urban

2. Automatic Doors

It might sound obvious to some of you, but the truth is that having an automatic door at the entrance of your facility is a classic way of universal design. Automatic doors are very convenient for everyone, but they are even more important for people who use wheelchairs.

There are many kinds of automatic doors, and many of them are relatively cost-effective. That being said, there is one in particular that I want to mention here, which is Portal Entryways. This startup company is offering a technology that automatically opens swing doors hands-free.

3. Digital Menu

In the past year of Covid-19, you probably noticed that in almost every restaurant, there are QR codes that lead to a digital format of the menu. This is a true blessing for those who are blind or visually impaired due to the fact that it can be heard through their mobile device (just like any other webpage that is in an accessible format).

Making sure that your menu is in a digital and accessible format, is relatively easy and can basically be done at no cost by using cloud-based documents like Google Docs. Once you have your menu on a Google Doc, you can generate a QR code for free from sites like this.

By the way, since scanning QR codes can be a challenge for many people, please note that in some audible wayfinding systems like RightHear which has already been mentioned, you can embed that within it.

4. Acoustic Protocol

For those of you who manage large facilities, it is very important to make sure that your public space is also accessible in case of emergency. Have you ever wondered how people who are deaf or hard of hearing will hear the announcement from your PA system in case of emergency?

Happily, Acoustic Protocol’s technology can turn the audible announcements from your PA system and transform them into text for those who choose it. The text can be heard through the Acoustic Protocol dedicated app, but also through the branded app of the facility, as well as in other popular assistive apps like RightHear.

5. AccessNow

If you follow this post’s recommendations and implement them at your facility, make sure to let the world know about it. A great way to do it is by making sure that your business is listed on the AccessNow platform. This startup from Canada is mapping the accessibility options of businesses so everyone could learn prior to their arrival, whether or not they are going to face barriers.

Do you also have recommendations of assistive technologies that should be implemented in public spaces? – let us know in the comments.

This guest post has been written by Idan Meir, Co-founder and CEO of RightHear.

Do you also have recommendations of assistive technologies that should be implemented in public spaces? Write to us at contact@machulu.com with more details, and we’ll be happy to review and publish to our audience.

This guest post has been written by Idan Meir, Co-founder and CEO of RightHear.

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