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  • Writer's pictureTamara McKenzie

The Intersection of Accessibility and Activism in Customer Experience Design

In an increasingly interconnected world, businesses must prioritize accessibility and inclusivity to provide exceptional customer experiences. This not only benefits customers but also aligns with the growing trend of activism, where companies are expected to contribute positively to society. In this post, we'll explore the intersection of accessibility and activism in customer experience design and discuss strategies for businesses to implement these principles in their operations.

Understanding Accessibility and Activism

Accessibility refers to the design of products, services, or environments that can be used by people with a wide range of abilities, including those with disabilities. Activism, on the other hand, is the act of using various channels to promote social, political, or environmental change. When these two concepts intersect in customer experience design, businesses can create inclusive experiences that cater to diverse customer needs while also promoting positive change in society.

Strategies for Incorporating Accessibility and Activism in Customer Experience Design

Inclusive Design

Inclusive design focuses on creating products and services that are usable by the widest possible range of people, regardless of their abilities. By incorporating inclusive design principles, businesses can ensure that their offerings cater to diverse customer needs, including those with disabilities. This approach not only improves the overall customer experience but also showcases a company's commitment to social responsibility. Examples include:

  • A software company can incorporate accessibility features into their products, such as using high contrast color schemes, offering keyboard shortcuts, or providing audio descriptions for visual content.

  • A home goods company can design products with inclusive features, such as kitchen appliances with tactile buttons or furniture with adjustable heights for different mobility needs.

  • A transportation company can create accessible vehicles, such as buses with ramps or trains with designated wheelchair spaces.

  • A financial company can develop digital tools that are accessible to people with visual or cognitive disabilities, such as providing screen reader compatibility or offering simple language options.

  • A media company can produce content that is inclusive and representative of diverse communities, such as featuring actors with disabilities or producing shows with diverse characters.

Employee Training

Investing in employee training on accessibility and activism can help create a culture that prioritizes inclusivity. By educating staff about the importance of these concepts, businesses can ensure that their team members understand how to accommodate diverse customer needs and promote positive change through their interactions with customers. Examples include:

  • A hospitality company can train their staff on how to accommodate guests with disabilities, such as providing wheelchair-accessible rooms, installing grab bars in bathrooms, or offering sign language interpreters.

  • A retail company can educate their employees on the importance of inclusive language and avoiding discriminatory behavior towards customers of different races, genders, and religions.

  • A healthcare organization can provide training on how to communicate effectively with patients who have sensory or cognitive disabilities, such as using visual aids or simplifying language.

  • A customer service company can train their representatives on how to handle customer complaints related to accessibility issues, such as difficulty using their website or lack of accommodations in their facilities.

  • A tech company can educate their employees on the importance of creating accessible products, such as developing software that can be used with screen readers or providing closed captioning for videos.

These trainings not only benefit the employees by expanding their knowledge and skills, but they also contribute to the larger goal of creating a more inclusive and equitable society. By prioritizing inclusivity in their culture, businesses can foster a positive reputation and build stronger relationships with their customers.

Accessible Communication Channels

Offering multiple communication channels that cater to different customer needs is essential for creating an inclusive customer experience. This may include providing sign language interpreters, accessible websites, or alternative text for images. By making these options available, businesses can ensure that all customers can easily access the information and services they need.

Collaboration with Advocacy Groups

Partnering with advocacy groups can help businesses gain insights into the unique needs of different customer segments. These collaborations can inform the design of products and services that cater to a broader audience, while also raising awareness about important social issues. Examples include:

  • A fashion company can partner with a disability advocacy group to gain insights into the unique clothing needs of people with disabilities, such as adaptive clothing with easy-to-use closures or stretchy materials.

  • A bank can collaborate with an immigrant rights group to design financial products that cater to the needs of immigrants, such as providing information in multiple languages or offering low-cost remittance services.

  • A technology company can work with an LGBTQ+ advocacy group to ensure that their products and services are inclusive and respectful of all gender identities and sexual orientations.

  • A food company can partner with a sustainability advocacy group to develop eco-friendly packaging solutions and reduce their carbon footprint.

  • An automotive company can team up with a safety advocacy group to design cars that prioritize safety features, such as blind spot monitoring or automatic emergency braking.

Social Responsibility Programs

Businesses can demonstrate their commitment to activism by implementing social responsibility programs that focus on accessibility and inclusivity. This might involve investing in community projects, supporting charities, or participating in awareness campaigns related to disability rights.

The convergence of accessibility and activism in customer experience design presents businesses with an opportunity to create inclusive and empowering experiences that meet the diverse needs of their customers. Companies can improve their overall customer experience and contribute to positive societal change by implementing strategies such as inclusive design, employee training, accessible communication channels, and partnerships with advocacy groups. Embracing these principles can help businesses differentiate themselves in a competitive market and cultivate customer loyalty among those who prioritize social responsibility.


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