Ask an Expert

1325–75; Middle English (adj.) < Latin expertus, past participle of experīrī to try, experience

Every day we live with the need to communicate. We need to rise above simple translation and see the meaning, when we build a website we need to include everyone (not just the sighted) and when we travel we are faced with challenging physical barriers. I know what it's like and think I have the depth and resources to help others make the right decisions.

Each month I will be responding to a question, chosen from a pool of some of the most commonly asked ones that I have been asked over the years and continue to be asked. A complete archive of "Ask an Expert" articles can be found here.

Donna Jodhan, a woman with short dark hair and glasses, sits at a table with a laptop in front of her.

This month, I'd like to answer the following question:

Making a concert hall more accessible

Before you say no or turn thumbs down on these suggestions; consider these thoughts.

You can definitely increase your revenue and reduce both your internal and external costs and here's how.

Take it from me! I have been an accessibility awareness consultant and advisor since 1998 and I continue to help companies to increase their revenues, reduce their costs, and reach hidden consumer markets!

For the most part, many concert halls are accessible when it comes to accommodating the needs of concert goers with special needs. However, there are things that can be improved and more concert halls that need to take accessibility into consideration.

Granted, many concert halls may not be able to do anything when it comes to reconstruction of seating because of either a physical or financial reason but there are what we call work around solutions. Let's look at some of these.

In general, there should be enough room between rows and seats to accommodate such things as wheelchairs, walkers, or persons using canes. Enough room so that persons who use said devices are able to comfortably walk among and between rows and seats.

There needs to be a way for persons with special needs to be able to independently negotiate steps and stairs and this could be done through the construction of ramps and elevators that are outfitted with buttons that are labelled with braille and large print. In addition, there should be voice indicators to let people know which floors the elevator is stopping at and in which direction the elevator is traveling; going up or going down.

The lights on the elevators should be easy to see and distinguish, and elevators should be large enough to accommodate wheelchairs.

Concert hall owners should be able to accommodate these requirements and if not then they will need to think of finding other alternatives to ensuring that concert goers can access their seats; maybe special designated areas?

Hopefully these tips can help to make one's concert hall more accessible.