10 Easy Steps to Make Your Business ADA Friendly – Part 1
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) outlines regulations and guidelines for businesses to provide accessibility to individuals with disabilities, but it can be overwhelming to business owners when they read the lengthy list of requirements. This list outlines 10 easy steps that businesses can take to make their business more ADA friendly. Here at Acorn, we always recommend that in addition to this list, you take the time to read the ADA and/or consult professionals to ensure that your business is fully ADA compliant.
- Identify if your business has any architectural barriers
- Title III of the ADA requires that buildings are accessible to individuals with disabilities. This can include recognizing if wheelchairs can fit through doors and entryways, noticing if there are steps into the building without an accessible ramp, or if there is space in handicapped parking spots for wheelchairs to get in and out of vehicles. Take a look around your building and notice where there may be issues. If you are unsure of what qualifies as an architectural barrier, read the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design or consult an individual in the disabled community to look around your business.
- Asses if you can provide any alternate ways for disabled individuals to use your business
- In certain situations, architectural barriers can be difficult to make accessible and allow disabled individuals to navigate your built environment. If this applies to your business, assess if other methods exist for people to utilize your business. For example, if a restaurant cannot remove an architectural barrier, they can provide take-out or delivery services for customers. Ensure that you advertise these alternative ways so disabled individuals are aware of how they can still enjoy your business.
- Ensure that your staff is trained to work with or assist disabled individuals within the scope of your business
- Employee awareness of how they can assist people with disabled individuals is critical for improving the ADA friendliness of your business. Teaching staff to assist blind individuals in navigating the built environment or recognizing when they can help retrieve out of reach products to those in wheelchairs greatly increases the experience of people with disabilities in your business.
- Make it clear that you welcome service animals
- The ADA currently only recognizes dogs as service animals, so make sure that you have visible signage that you welcome service dogs. If your employees are unsure of whether a dog is a service animal or not, they are legally only allowed to ask two questions: “Is this animal required because of a disability” and “What has the animal been trained to do?” Under the ADA, you are not allowed to specifically ask what their disability is. This is an important step to ensure that your employees understand throughout their ADA training as well.
- Change signage throughout your building to be ADA compliant signage
- Signage is one of the most prominent aspects of ADA compliance, and is our specialty here at Acorn Sign. In order to ensure that your signs are ADA friendly, fonts need to be large, terminology needs to be nondiscriminatory, and include Braille lettering. If you are unclear if your signage truly is ADA compliant, consult an ADA expert like Acorn Sign to discuss your signage.
Here at Acorn Sign, we are passionate about the widespread understanding of the ADA and accessibility for members of the disabled community. We believe in creating innovative signage that help individuals across all ability levels to experience built environments.
If you have any questions about whether or not your business has adequate ADA-compliant signage, contact Bob Greenberger, our EVP of Sales and Marketing, who is a leading signage industry expert on the ADA! We would love to talk with you to explore new ideas for how to make your business more accessible and ADA compliant. Not only are we at Acorn passionate about signage and the ADA, we believe in creating a future that is more inclusive and innovative for all individuals.
Stay tuned for “Part 2” for numbers 6-10 of how to make your business ADA friendly! Sources: