accessibility purple tuesday

A number of mobility retailers and suppliers are amongst over 2500 organisations, both large and small, committing to making changes to improve customer experiences for people with disabilities this Purple Tuesday.

Taking place today (12th November 2019), this year marks the second annual Purple Tuesday, a day designed to raise awareness around the needs of disabled consumers by encouraging retailers from across multiple sectors to improve accessibility.

Co-ordinated by the disability organisation Purple, the initiative is aimed at unleashing the ‘purple pound’ – the combined spending power of disabled people and their families estimated to be worth £249 billion every year.

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Participating organisations are asked to make at least one new public commitment to undertake an activity to help ensure sustainable changes are made for improving the customer experience for disabled shoppers.

Following its inaugural debut in 2018, this year has seen more than 2500 businesses, organisations and stores from a range of sectors collectively pledge to make more than 3500 long-term changes to the customer experience as part of Purple Tuesday on 12 November.

Mobility companies including The Ramp People, Allied Mobility, Designed2Enable, Jay-Care Stairlifts and Mobility, The Mobility Aids Centre and various Shopmobilities across the UK are taking part this year, alongside household names such as Sainsbury’s, Sky, The Body Shop and M&S.

Jay-Care Purple Tuesday
This year is Jay-Care’s second year officially taking part in Purple Tuesday, continuing its community outreach

The second-year supporting Purple Tuesday, Jay-Care’s Managing Director Paul Anderson told THIIS that the day provided the perfect opportunity to give something back to the local community.

“We are going to go in the town centre and are working in conjunction with Charter Walk Shopping Centre to do some free giveaways, free health checks on any scooters that might pass by, a free ferrule exchange for walking sticks and frames, and just generally providing useful mobility and accessibility advice to shoppers as we are there,” explained the Burnley-based mobility retailer.

“I have worked in this industry 35 years since I was 16 and it really isn’t a job, it’s something that I thoroughly enjoy so we always jump at the chance to give something back. Yes, of course we are promoting Jay-Care, but equally, it’s just nice to be in the midst of the community and giving a bit back. It’s nice to interact and be part of the local area.”

Committing to a more digitally-focused approach to helping bring about positive change, The Ramp People focused on creating an extensive resource hub of accessible information to help other businesses enhance their ability to provide better customer experiences for disabled people.

the ramp people purple tuesday
The Ramp People have ramped up access to useful, educational resources for other companies

Speaking with Philip Shaw, Managing Director of The Ramp People, he told THIIS: “We believe that the experience for disabled people needs to change and can change!

“For Purple Tuesday, we committed to sharing the logo on our company Twitter, Facebook & Google Business and we are now following Purple Tuesday on Twitter.

“We shared internally the Purple Tuesday Customer Service Guide & Infographic to allow them to improve their customer service skills further. We have printed the British Sign Language Guide & placed this on our notice board for all staff to view as well.

According to Philip, the company has invested a considerable amount of time and resources improving the accessibility of its website as well, ensuring the company practices what it preaches.

“In relation to images with alternative text, we recently spent a lot of time going through all of our website images to ensure these were accessible to the visually impaired,” he continued.

“Regarding keyboard accessibility, colours & videos, we are reviewing this with our IT team to check our site is accessible for & further ways to improve this and in terms of the Site Accessibility Assessment, I will undertake this week.”

Echoing The Ramp People’s digital commitment, online mobility retailer with a difference Designed2Enable emphasised the importance of the Purple Tuesday initiative for focusing minds in relation to improving accessibility online for people with disabilities.

design2enable website purple tuesday
Motivated by its participation, Designed2Enable reviewed accessibility elements on its website, looking at fonts, colours and more

Speaking with John Pyne, Director of the Designed2Enable, he explained how participating in the awareness day has helped the company take accessibility on its e-commerce mobility site further.

“We knew that a large percentage of our traffic was going to have a visual impairment or sensory needs so we built the website with that in mind in the first instance,” he commented.

“Despite our website already being designed to be accessible however, Purple Tuesday has really highlighted the issue of accessibility, prompting us to look again to see how we could take it one step further.

“After taking part in Purple Tuesday, we have been encouraged to make some tweaks to our website, really focusing on improving the experience for those with visual impairments.”

With Purple Tuesday directing society’s attention to the importance of accessibility, the event has also coincided with a new accessibility-orientated service being introduced by participating company Allied Mobility, the UK-wide wheelchair accessible vehicle specialist.

Discussing how the company has embraced the accessibility awareness event and its new ‘mobility servicing’ offer, Gemma Žak-Duport, Communications Manager for Allied Vehicles Group, told THIIS: “We have included disability awareness in our online training profiles to really enhance the education of everyone in the company and recently, we introduced a mobile servicing element to our various services that we offer to customers.

“Before, those who have wheelchair accessible vehicles who may have to go to a dealership to have their vehicle serviced could face a rather lengthy wait and would unlikely be provided with a suitable courtesy vehicle to keep that person on the road.

“With our new service, we can offer to carry out a mobile service at the home of somebody with a disability, which can be a far more convenient and accessible option for some. It really is another way that we can help support our customers to the best of our ability.”

For mobility companies interested in discovering ways of improving accessibility online, check out this article on THIIS’ Knowledge Hub aimed specifically at helping online retailers enhance their customer experience online.

If your business is taking part in Purple Tuesday, contact Calvin Barnett at calvin@thiis.co.uk to let us know how your company is working to improve accessibility and customer experience for disabled consumers.

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