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ACCESSIBILITY: Inclusive Communication for Sustainable Community

For most of us, the word "accessibility" means how easy something is to reach, enter, use, and see, also according to the oxford dictionary.
ACCESSIBILITY: Inclusive Communication for Sustainable Community - Design@Bay. For most of us, the word "accessibility" means how easy something is to reach, enter, use, and see, also according to the oxford dictionary.

“Accessibility is really about customisation. There’s something in there that can benefit everyone. Regardless of whether or not you self-identify as someone who needs accessibility, it can really be about productivity or simplicity, how you use your technology in your daily life.”  Sarah Herrlinger, Director of Global Accessibility Policy & Initiatives, Apple

For most of us, the word “accessibility” means how easy something is to reach, enter, use, and see, also according to the oxford dictionary. Added in the second meaning entry of the dictionary are the words “for somebody with a disability”. So the first meaning speaks to the ability of everyone to access something, regardless of their condition, while the second speaks to the inferred inclusivity that the term should always have carried and acknowledged daily advantages we take for granted.

Accessible and universal design is a process in which the needs of people with disabilities are specifically considered. Accessibility sometimes refers to the characteristic that people with various disabilities can independently use products, services, and facilities. These are not new concepts, but they must be promulgated in every area of life and industry to encourage a more equitable society. Equality, in this case, means more people are considered and included in the design and communication solutions and further contributes to improvements in user experience and loyalty for everyone, disabled or not.

Section 9 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa states that “no person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone” because it covers a long list of criteria, including “disability.” Furthermore, legislation that protects citizens’ rights to information requires that, within reason, limitations may not be placed on any individuals’ right to access any public or private information. This means that media of all kinds — including video —must be made universally available and accessible to all South Africans.

This is further supported by the Equality Act of 2000, whose Chapter 9, Prohibition of unfair discrimination on the basis of disability, also states that “no person may discriminate against any person on the ground of disability,” including “failing to eliminate obstacles that unfairly limit or restrict persons with disabilities from enjoying equal opportunities or failing to take steps to reasonably accommodate the needs of such persons.” The Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 (PAIA) which states “right of access to any information held by a public or private body may be limited to the extent that the limitations are reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality, and freedom.”

“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”
– Tim Berners-Lee, Creator of World Wide Web

This strong shift to inclusivity or inclusive communication has inspired us to incorporate inclusive design and standards in developing our solutions. These are digital and online solutions such as publications and other strategic communication tools developed for organisations such as the United Nations.   Therefore, the progression to inclusivity speaks to Design@Bay flexibility and agility in responding to innovative and unique requirements for today’s business environment. And in the case of the UN, it’s even better when this aligns with our client’s organisational goals.

The corporate environment of the 21st century calls for the development of values such as empathy and solidarity. One goal of communication in this more mindful environment is to create and promote accessible solutions and strategic communication tools that strengthen business sustainability and social respect. The coherence between consideration of many lived experiences from different voices, and points of view allow for meaningful and effective communication and connections among collaborators, key audiences, and strong loyalties and community to thrive.

In alignment with our organisational culture of continuous development, innovative and inclusive brand communication and design, Design@Bay understands and incorporates core accessibility principles (perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust) should the project allow or require. We believe this is key for any organisation seeking to strengthen their communications efforts further and build on the existing community.

Thinking of making your communication tools more accessible, speak to us at Design@Bay. Let’s create inclusive communication solutions that strengthen the sustainability of your business growth plan.

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