Accessibility is the quality of being able to be reached or entered. Accessibility can refer to a variety of situations and settings, including physical access to buildings and facilities, as well as access to transportation (such as aeroplanes and buses), services (such as banks), technology (like computers) and more.
The ability to get around is critical for people with disabilities. In many places around the world, some laws require buildings such as restaurants and stores to have wheelchair ramps so people who use wheelchairs can enter quickly. To comply with such regulations, knowing suitable disability equipment suppliers might come in handy.
Improve your way of thinking
The first step towards making public spaces disability-friendly is to change your perceptions. You need to understand that differently-abled people are not less than us or any less valuable as human beings.
There are many ways in which you can start implementing this change in your mindsets:
- The next time you see someone using a wheelchair, make eye contact and smile. Remember, they are just like you!
- Don’t be shy about asking someone if they would like your help if they appear lost or confused. It’s a small gesture, but it could make all the difference for that person!
Generalise the use of visual symbols and braille
Making public spaces accessible to people with visual impairments is not as simple as adding symbols and braille. You can use characters and braille together, or you can also add speech synthesis.
If you use symbols and braille together, think about how you will put them together to make sense for the person who needs that information. You can also contact some disability equipment suppliers for more details. An excellent example of this would be an elevator button with a symbol on it and what the elevator will do written in braille next to it. This helps people who are blind understand what they’re pressing without having to rely solely on their sense of touch.
Another option is using symbols alone because some people may have trouble reading braille due to either age or injury-related conditions such as arthritis or nerve damage from diabetes mellitus. You could also provide alternative means of communication by providing other forms such as phone numbers so that anyone with limited literacy skills has access regardless.
Different requirements depending on the severity of the disability
Sometimes, it can be challenging to know where to start when designing a space that is accessible to everyone. However, there are some general principles that you can use when creating a public space that is inclusive of people with disabilities.
- Someone who uses a wheelchair will need ramps and wide doorways, while someone with poor vision may not require any additional features beyond good lighting and high contrast between the flooring and walls or furniture surfaces.
- Some disabilities are more visible than others; some are hidden by clothing or other means but still impact everyday life considerably (e.g., epilepsy). Be aware that many people with visible impairments choose not to disclose them publicly due to stigma or fear of discrimination. So, don’t assume anything based on appearance alone.
These changes should not be perceived as a restriction
The changes required to make public spaces disability-friendly should be viewed as opportunities for everyone. Allowing people with a disability the freedom of movement and independence will enable them to live everyday lives in our society. It will also increase the number of people who can enjoy the full benefits of being part of that society.
All can benefit from greater accessibility for people with disabilities by breaking down barriers and rethinking our way of thinking about access issues so that we stop perceiving them as limitations on our freedom and instead see them as opportunities for everyone’s growth and development.
In conclusion, the most important thing is to create a society where everyone feels comfortable and welcome.