There are millions of people in the workforce who suffer from disabilities. Assistive technologies or AT can significantly improve the productivity of such a person in the workplace. However, not many businesses have adopted, much less know, what it is, especially for new entrepreneurial ventures that have only been established recently.
While it may seem easy to dismiss the needs of the disabled, it’s more cost-effective to address their needs and enable them to optimally function within the organization instead of hiring and training someone new. More importantly, it’s against the law to discriminate against people with handicaps. The good news is that the implementation of adaptive and assistive tech is neither complex nor expensive. Here’s everything you need to know about making your business more inclusive through AT.
Available assistive technologies
Many different assistive technologies are available due to various disabilities, including sight, mobility, cognitive function, and hearing. While most aim to fulfill general purposes, some have been developed to address specific needs and concerns. Here are some of the most common solutions:
- Screen readers. As the name suggests, this online text to speech technology can read the onscreen text for those with visual impairment.
- Switch devices. These are devices that replace keyboards and mouses, allowing for much easier user controls.
- Transcription solutions. Beyond enabling people to understand the content much easier, voice transcription can also help those who are hard-of-hearing or deaf comprehend meetings, training materials, and other information presented through multimedia formats.
- Motion trackers. They give users control with the use of their body parts.
How to embrace accessibility features successfully
The most effective way for any business to meet the individual needs of their employees is to always remain transparent with the available options and work from there. More often than not, these assistive technologies are likely to be in many popular devices today. Manufacturers like Google, Microsoft, and Apple offer users built-in and highly customizable options for accessibility like speech recognition, display accommodations, and screen magnification for many of their services and products.
Since these features can make a difference regarding the productivity and performance of your employees, it makes sense to ensure that they become familiar with them in the equipment that they may already be using. It may also be beneficial to offer individual meetings to find accommodations that can aid employees with disabilities.
To achieve a thriving workforce as diverse as it is inclusive, your team must understand disability and its culture. After all, fundamental knowledge of the challenges faced by disabled individuals will result in a more empowering workplace. And one place you can start is to provide your staff with the proper training on ways to promote an inclusive working environment.
Simple practices like reserving seats for those with vision and hearing problems and pushing chairs into the table to aid people with restricted mobility might not seem like much, but it will make a difference.
Contrary to popular belief, accessibility doesn’t only benefit those with disabilities but also everyone in the business. For this reason, your company’s culture must adopt assistive technology and be more inclusive. Doing so will ensure that your operations always maintain a high level of productivity.
An author of Namaste UI, published several articles focused on blogging, business, web design & development, e-commerce, finance, health, lifestyle, marketing, social media, SEO, travel.
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