1. Smart products will appeal across the board

When the accessibility leader at Proctor and Gamble’s (P&G), Sam Latif, took up her role, she realized that many of their products were “not as inclusive or accessible as they could be.” Latif shared that her own visual impairment has helped give her insights on how to improve Proctor and Gamble’s products. One example was its Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner bottles, which felt “identical”, making it difficult for people with impaired sight to tell them apart, she says. P&G has since added “tactile markings” (seen below) to the bottles, so people can tell them apart. “We have stripes for shampoo and we have circles for conditioner that are embossed on the bottle,” says Ms Latif, who describes herself as 97% blind.

Often, in cases where a company goes above and beyond to make design decisions that server their disabled community, they find taht these changes often serve a much larger share of their market. Fore example, this shampoo and conditioner bottle redesign not only benefits the visually impaired, but also helps people with soap in their eyes or who are not wearing glasses or contact lenses to ensure they use the right product. “The business case is clear. If we intentionally serve 20% of the population that previously maybe we hadn’t thought about, it just makes business sense,” says Ms Latif. P&G has also remodeled its Olay skin care jar to make it easier to open for people with dexterity problems, she adds. Check our our past blog post, smart home devices for people with disabilities.

Herbal Essences Continuing Commitment to Inclusive Design and Accessibility for All | Business Wire

2. Ditch the boring

Co-founder of Bespoke Hotels, Robin Sheppard, has equated his stays in some hotel rooms designed for customers with disabilities as a form of “punishment”. Mr Sheppard, who has Gillian-Barré syndrome, a serious condition that affects the nerves, says rooms often have very limited views and “humdrum décor and no sense of style”. His company, Bespoke Hotels has been focused on  their mission to “to put some style and some swagger into the look and feel of the bedrooms, and a much more joyous sense of color and verve”. They feel that the future state of our society should be a point where there is no easily perceptible difference between rooms designed for visitors with disabilities and the rest. “Ultimately the aim has to be to have all hotels with a new level that it’s become a non-issue – it’s just normal, it’s just the way it is,” he says.

Bespoke Access: Designing hotel rooms for the disabled | CNN Travel

3. Improve customer service and train your staff

Equal access to shop floors and places such hotels, restaurants and bars is vital. This is the main reason why we built iAccess Life. Unless staff understand how to interact with people who have disabilities and their needs, then any service or products you sell will be absolutely useless to 20% of the population who may have a disability. Top tips to improve access is to employ more people with disabilities in the first place and then train all of the staff better. Ask staff members about disability and what they know and constantly ask and retrain because you can’t just train somebody, tick a box saying you’ve trained and then expect that they are going to remember it forever. Also many hospitality and service oriented business have a high turn over so its important to sew the knowledge and training into your companies on-boarding culture. iAccess Life has also developed our own disability etiquette training reach out to us to learn more about how we can help train you and your staff to improve customer service from an accessibility standpoint.

4. Build in change from the start

Redesigning existing products or services to make them more accessible for disabled clientele is much more expensive than thinking about disability from the start. “If you try to bolt it on at the end, of course there is going to be a cost” says Mrs Latif, the accessibility leader at Proctor and Gamble’s (P&G). Proctor and Gamble has incorporated audio description into its TV and video advertising, at a cost of 0.001% of the marketing budget for the brand. “It’s nothing, yet you can reach 2.2 million people in the UK alone with that investment,” Ms Latif adds.

5. Win the internal battle

One of Ms Latif’s tasks in her role has been in opening “the hearts and minds” of senior managers at P&G. She made the executives experience things first-hand – by getting them to wear glasses simulating sight loss, using a wheelchair or wearing gloves that restrict hand movement.

“Then we’d get them to open a pack of Pampers or tell us the difference between shampoo and conditioner. At that point, really the penny drops,” she says.

But does there have to be a “light bulb” moment for businesses to access the untapped purple pound market? Do firms not have a moral duty rather than just being encouraged by potential profits?

“That’s a really interesting question,” responds Scope’s Emma Vogelmann. She says the purple pound “is just another argument to be made for why disabled people need to be included and why it is so important to have an inclusive offer”.

This article is a recap of the BBC Article linked here