Making improvements to communication that is accessible and inclusive for everyone will allow more customers to enjoy your services to the full. A good place to start is by completing a Venue & Workplace Assessment. The following points are aspects which you could include within the assessment.
An induction loop can be an effective system to provide customers who use hearing aids to hear conversations more easily.
The induction loop should be well signposted to ensure that customers are aware that you have this system installed.
An Induction Loop (sometimes called a Hearing Loop) works when a person’s hearing aids are switched to the hearing loop setting. Sound goes directly to the hearing aids with no distracting background noise.
There are different types of hearing loops available:
It is essential that staff are trained and know how to use the hearing loop and that it is regularly tested and power switched on ready for use. Further information can be found from organisations such as Louder Than Words who support businesses to make changes for the better for the 12m people in the UK with hearing loss.
Ensure that staff have awareness of the needs of deaf customers and how best to respond and support them. Making sure that all staff understand the content of your Accessibility Statement should be the first step so that staff can implement the measures that have been put in place.
Deaf Scotland has developed easy-to-use and cost effective online training resources to enable staff to improve their confidence and abilities.
Further training and advice for customers with dual sensory impairments can be found by contacting Deafblind Scotland who can provide further resources and tailored training.
The aim within the Venue & Workplace Assessment should also consider accessibility issues for visitors with visual impairments, and what reasonable adjustments can be made within businesses to make the experience and visitor journey more enjoyable and accessible.
You could consider using braille and large print materials to communicate key customer information. For further information and support with this, we would suggest contacting Scottish Braille Press and additional advice can be gained from Sight Scotland.
There are international guidelines for making your website accessible to all users. These are called WCAG 2.1 AA. Contact your website developer to see if you are able to make these changes. Some simple steps you can take include:
It is suggested that an area is created to allow support for customers with assistance dogs. This can simply be a break-out area with drinking water provided.
Staff training is essential to give staff the skills, knowledge and confidence to assist customers with accessible needs. For further advice and to enquire about training, Visibility Scotland can provide support and have training courses available including Visual Impairment Awareness training for any person or organisation interested in learning more about visual impairments and how businesses can support.
The Alzheimers Society has published a comprehensive Dementia-Friendly Tourism Guide with advice for tourism operators of all sizes to improve physical environments and raising awareness of dementia and improving your service. The Tourism Guide can be downloaded using this link.
The autism spectrum refers to the range of ways the condition can present in the individual which can vary greatly from person to person and throughout their life. While some people will have more subtle difficulties, others will have complex needs requiring more intensive support. The behaviours and challenges typically associated with autism are often as a result of differences in thinking and processing information. Many visitor attractions for example have adopted new autism-friendly measures including ‘quiet’ opening hours when venues are less busy and noise levels can be reduced. Information on your business website can advise visitors what to expect in advance and to offer suggestions of how you could further support their visit.
The National Autistic Society has a range of useful online resources and case studies.