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 back deck 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!

There are back decks and then there are back decks and the difference between the good ones and the bad ones is that the good ones can be accessed by everyone. Not just the person without a disability but those who depend on wheelchairs, walkers, canes, service dogs, and others to help them access the deck.

There is nothing more enjoyable than being able to appreciate one's back deck in the non winter season and with a rapidly aging population it is so very important for contractors to bear this in mind whenever they are called upon to build or upgrade back decks. So with this in mind, here are just a few pointers.

  • Make sure that your back deck is easily accessible. With as little steps as possible and if this is unavoidable then a viable alternative.
  • That there is enough space for persons with mobility devices to maneuver.
  • That there are adequate guard rails.
  • That there is enough colour contrast between floor surface, rails, and walls.
  • That there is enough space between chairs and tables.
  • That chairs are easy to sit in and that tables are at a comfortable height for persons to access.

This should be a good start.

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