Accessibility

How easy is it for a visually impaired person to access your products and services using a screenreader?

You have no idea? I’d love to change that!

Why is accessibility important?

If you can’t access something, you can’t use it.

Problems with accessibility can mean that potential customers can’t access your site, purchase goods and services, or benefit from the information you provide.

Accessibility is something that I care about, both because it’s important to be inclusive, and because as a blind adult, I have first-hand experience of not being able to access goods and services because of issues around accessibility. My approach is not just to point out a list of things that are wrong, but to work with business owners, exploring the customer journey from the perspective of someone using a screenreader, and identifying solutions to problems, or ways to improve the customer experience.

Being able to access goods, services and information online has revolutionised the way that many disabled people live their lives, resulting in greater independence and less reliance on others. Here are some reasons why accessibility is important:

  • Problems with accessibility could mean that potential customers end up going elsewhere. If someone is unable to access your products and services, they will probably leave and go to one of your competitors.
  • Accessible web design is good for SEO – basic good practices such as the use of headings and the labelling of images can contribute to better ranking in search engines.
  • Publicity – good accessibility is not something that screenreader users can automatically rely on, so people tend to share their positive experiences, thus giving you free publicity. Of course the opposite is also true.
  • Many people with a visual impairment will not have access to visual advertising methods, such as printed materials, so your online presence may be the first time that they encounter your business. If they have a positive experience, they are more likely to return.
  • Many people with a visual impairment choose to shop or book services online because this is more practical than navigating to physical shops, finding out what’s on offer, and choosing the product they want. This also applies to people who have a mobility impairment, or whose access requirements mean that some physical premises are not accessible to them.
  • You’re increasing your reach by making your products and services accessible to other members of the community who may have been excluded before.
  • Did you know?

    The purple pound is the “aggregate income (after housing cost) of households with at least one disabled person.” In 2019, the value of the purple pound was estimated at around £274 billion.

    In recent research into digital accessibility carried out by Scope and Open inclusion, half of the disabled respondents said that they might not go on to buy a product if they encountered problems when using a website or app. That’s a lot of money being left on the table. In the same question, where multiple answers were possible, 48% said they may also find a different provider, and 32% said they would ask someone else to help with the purchase.

    In a different question, a further 75% of respondents said they believed UK businesses are missing out because their services are not inclusive enough

    Free information sheet – 5 easy steps to make your products and services more accessible to screenreader users
    Self-paced accessibility course and access to my Facebook community
    Customer experience consultation and accessibility action plan

    Free information sheet – 5 easy steps to make your products and services more accessible to screenreader users

    Even small improvements can make a massive difference in terms of the user experience.

    I’ve produced a free information sheet with five easily actionable things that you can do to improve the user experience for current or future customers who are blind. No technical knowledge is required – these are all simple changes that you can make to the way that you do things. They won’t cost you anything either, apart from a couple of minutes to implement, but they could bring massive value in terms of a more inclusive experience, and ultimately, more happy customers and more sales.

    Use the sign-up form at the bottom of this page to request your copy.

    Self-paced accessibility course plus access to the EwK Services accessibility community

    I don’t believe people go out of their way to make their businesses inaccessible. They just don’t realise what could be a problem, or what small things they could do to make life a bit easier for someone who can’t see pictures, who uses screenreading software, or who always accesses information electronically.

    I believe One of the best ways to demonstrate the problems is to show people – using real examples, and to draw on experiences from everyday life.

    On 3rd August, I’ll be launching the pilot for my self-paced EwK accessibility course. We’ll be looking at how business owners can fix problems that I and others have experienced when trying to find out about products, access websites, get information through social media, or attend training events.

    What’s included?

    • Access to 40 bite-sized units, each focussing on something that you can do to make your business more accessible and inclusive. The units are 10 to 15 minutes long, and they are grouped by topic, so you can start with the things that most interest you, or dip in and out as you want. Each unit has both audio and text, so you can take in the information in the way that best suits you.
    • Access to my Facebook community, where I’ll post blog posts and articles that may be of interest, and we can discuss issues around accessibility and inclusivity, both for screenreader users, and in terms of the wider community.
    • Access to the monthly zoom call for Q&A or a deep-dive into a relevant topic.
    • Free or reduced rates for future online training sessions.

    I will teach about the things that I know, and bring in experts to help us learn about access barriers that other members of the community face.

    There are ten spots available on my pilot programme, which starts on 1st August. You can access the training at your own pace and ask any questions in the Facebook group. I’d be grateful for a testimonial, or feedback on how I can improve the training, or make the EwK accessibility club a better place to hang out and learn.

    If you join the pilot programme, you pay the reduced rate of £35. After this, access costs £59.

    Ultimately I want to bring together business owners who are passionate about building a more inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone. If this sounds like you, I’d love for you to join us!

    Would you like to know more?

    If you’d like to know more about one of the services, request a copy of my free accessibility factsheet, or sign up for the newsletter, please use my contact form:





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    Customer experience consultation and accessibility action plan

    Some people will need more specific support than can be provided in the group programme.

    Hiring me as an accessibility consultant means that we can put together a package to suit your needs, focussing on the elements that are most relevant to your business.

    Possible areas that we can look at are:

    • How accessible is your website?
    • How easy is it for screenreader users to find out about your products and services?
    • How accessible is your newsletter?
    • How accessible are your social media channels?
    • How accessible are your training materials or courses?
    • How accessible are your events?

    We will work through your areas of interest, using your current resources as examples, either in a video conference meeting or on the telephone. I will answer your questions, point out any accessibility issues that I discover, and work with you on strategies to improve the overall customer experience for blind customers using a screenreader. I will also provide you with an accessibility action plan, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of the issues as we go along.

    Alternatively, I can user test your training materials/website/customer journey and provide you with a written report.

    We can break the task down into chunks, but it’s important to remember the whole customer journey and experience – from finding out about your products or services, to buying and using them. It doesn’t help if you have an accessible course that people can’t sign up to, or a great website, but you can’t build the know like and trust factor with blind customers because your social media content excludes them.

    Pricing

    After an initial consultation in which we discuss the scope of the project and what you would like to cover, I will provide a quote based on the amount of time it will take to complete the work. Time is purchased as either half-day or full-day sessions, but you don’t need to take the whole block at once.

    For example, if a task only takes 90 minutes, the rest of your time will be kept on your account until you need it for something else.

    • Half a day (3.5 hours) is priced at £125.
    • A full day (7 hours) is priced at £240
    • Optional power hour calls are also available priced at £45. These can be used for addressing specific areas within an hour. Key take-aways are sent to you in writing, but there is no official report.

    Payment can be made by bank transfer or Paypal. Customers outside the UK are asked to pay via Paypal.