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For May 2014:

How to make ordering systems more accessible

There are really only two ways that you can make your ordering systems more accessible to a blind person and if you keep in mind that you would be benefiting the majority of your customers in doing so, then you would have won the game. So here goes.

  1. You need to think of your phones and your websites. For these are the two major ways that customers use in order to order products and services.
  2. If you use a phone system to offer products and services to your customers when they order from you then you need to ensure that your menus are easy to follow and that you give enough time for them to choose their options. Instructions should be made easy to understand and your options should not be made too complicated. If you use customer service reps as part of your ordering system then you would do well to provide them with the training that they would need to have when it comes to being able to fully service your blind customers. In other words, to be able to assist the customer in a manner that suggests assistance and understanding and not an impression of condescension.
  3. If your ordering system is an online system, then be sure to offer a system where forms are easy to access with screen readers and screen magnification. Make sure that the fields on your forms are well labeled and that if an error is made that the appropriate message is fed back to the customer. Make sure also that the form is easy to identify visually for those who may have enough vision to complete them without the use of a screen reader. Additionally, that if the customer runs into problems that they could contact a live customer service rep.
  4. In most cases those companies with ordering systems do provide both alternatives to their customers; phone and online. So if you offer both then be sure to let your customers know this.

This is by no means a complete list of what you would need to do in order to make your ordering systems accessible but it is a good start.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, your freelance writer and roving reporter wishing you a terrific day.

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