In today's world, where inclusivity is valued more than ever before, it's crucial for businesses to ensure their products and services are accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.
This is where an accessibility policy comes in. An accessibility policy is a set of guidelines and procedures that outline a company's commitment to making its products, services, and facilities accessible to people with disabilities. In this blog post, we'll explore what an accessibility policy is, why it's important, and key factors to consider when drafting one.
What is an Accessibility Policy?
An accessibility policy is a set of guidelines and procedures that outline a company's commitment to ensuring its products, services, and facilities are accessible to people with disabilities.
The policy should cover all aspects of the company, including its website, apps, and physical locations. An accessibility policy should be comprehensive, outlining the steps the company will take to ensure accessibility, and should also include information on how to report accessibility issues.
Why is an Accessibility Policy Important?
Having an accessibility policy is important for several reasons. First, it ensures that everyone, regardless of their ability, can access the company's products, services, and facilities.
This is not only a legal requirement in many countries but also a moral obligation for businesses. Second, an accessibility policy can help the company attract a wider customer base, including people with disabilities who may have previously been excluded.
Third, having an accessibility policy can help the company avoid legal issues and potential lawsuits, which can be costly and damaging to the company's reputation.
Key Factors to Consider When Drafting an Accessibility Policy
When drafting an accessibility policy, it's important to consider several key factors to ensure it's comprehensive and effective. Here are some of the key factors to consider:
- Legal Requirements: The policy should comply with all applicable laws and regulations related to accessibility, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the US, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in Canada, and the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) in the UK.
- Scope: The policy should cover all aspects of the company, including its website, apps, and physical locations.
- Guidelines: The policy should include guidelines and procedures for ensuring accessibility, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, which provide a set of recommendations for making web content more accessible.
- Training: The policy should include provisions for training employees on accessibility and ensuring they understand their responsibilities in ensuring accessibility.
- Reporting Mechanism: The policy should include information on how to report accessibility issues, such as a contact email or phone number.
- Regular Review: The policy should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure it remains relevant and effective.
In conclusion, having an accessibility policy is essential for businesses today. It ensures that everyone, including people with disabilities, can access the company's products, services, and facilities.
When drafting an accessibility policy, it's important to consider legal requirements, scope, guidelines, training, reporting mechanisms, and regular review to ensure it's comprehensive and effective. You can use the template provided here for quick start.
By doing so, businesses can create a more inclusive environment and avoid potential legal issues and reputational damage.