Creating a barrier-free customer experience is not just about being compliant with regulations. Many companies are doing this well, but their customers don’t receive the message. What’s missing? You know your company complies to regulations or reasonably can be expected to conform to them – but have you taken the next step of making it easy for your customers to verify your accessibility claims? Is your website’s information easy to find, well organized, and easily accessible? Experts recommend website tools like accessiBe to help you maintain compliance and improve your customer experience.

Here’s some advice on how you can improve your customer experience for people with disabilities:

1. Make sure ‘accessibility’ is part of your marketing strategy. For many organizations, if their marketing materials do not mention accessibility, it may be assumed that the organization is trying to hide its inaccessibility. ‘Compliance’ and ‘accessibility’ need to be two words that work together and can be used interchangeably to demonstrate your commitment to accessible design.

2. Use universal design to build accessible websites and apps – One of the best ways to create a barrier-free customer experience is to consider the needs of every user. Websites and apps designed with universal design principles put everyone on an equal footing, no matter their abilities.

3. Help people to “see” your accessibility efforts. People with disabilities want to be able to access information and services, but they also want to know that their needs are being taken into consideration. You can provide this assurance by getting independent verification, like a seal of approval from an Accessibility Certification professional organization. It’s one thing for you to say you’re accessible, but it’s another thing for an independent third party to verify that your claims are true.

4. Make your website or app easy to find on mobile devices. Many people with disabilities rely more heavily on their smartphones than the general population, so it’s important to have an equally accessible design solution for them on mobile.

5. Offer ways for your customers to self-identify. There are many people with disabilities who may not want to disclose their disability or simply don’t know whether they have a disability or not. Be sure that you provide a way for these individuals to find the product, service, or information they need without going through an invasive process to self-identify.

6. Show customers what they can do – When people with disabilities don’t know your product or service will work for them, they may be unwilling to buy or use it. Be sure that your website and marketing materials include details of what’s available for customers who have a disability. For example, if you’re a retail store, indicate which items are on the floor and which items are in storage so that people using wheelchairs can know where to find them.

7. Communicate with your customers – Make sure you have a way for people to contact you if they need assistance, either before a purchase or after a purchase.

8. Appreciate the value of trust and transparency – All people want to do business with companies that tell it how it is and who will be honest about their products and services. If you’re committed to accessibility, tell your customers what you’re doing and how it benefits them.