Last reviewed: 6 January 2023
This resource comes from our Inclusive Communication Toolkit, available to Business Disability Forum Members and Partners.
In June 2022, Business Disability Forum published extensive research into the buying experiences of the 1 in 5 people in the UK who have a disability. The research was supported by Microsoft.
‘What disabled consumers choose to buy and why’ looked at many aspects of the purchasing journey, including inclusive communication. The research found that being able to find the right information – in a format that is accessible – had a significant impact on the purchasing experience of disabled consumers. The research showed why inclusive communication should be a priority for all businesses.
About this resource
This resource is for:
- Anyone wanting to find out about the impact of inclusive communication on customer experience.
- Communication, marketing, and web teams.
- Anyone interested in disability and inclusion.
In this resource we will look at key findings from Business Disability Forum’s research and what disabled consumers told us about inclusive communication.
What disabled consumers told us
The following information is taken from Business Disability Forum’s ‘What disabled consumer buy and why: Inclusive communication’, report. The research is based on findings from surveys, panels, focus groups, and in-depth interviews.
Inclusive communication matters
Disabled consumers told us that having information in an accessible format influenced the decisions they made. Here is what some of them said:
“A lot of companies use PDFs; it is not accessible with screen readers… Allow [me to receive] that information in a Word format so I can read it. Avoid columns, rows and text boxes… You would have thought that by now a lot of these companies might have grasped this.”
“I can’t underline how important it is to put a description on, just having a picture does not help.”
“I ended up staying with my current bank because I could not get information in easy read format from any other bank.”
“For me because I use BSL it is hard to communicate with staff in fact sometimes it’s impossible [they] sometimes ask me to write on paper or gesture, a lot of it is just pointing everyday throughout my life…but some shops like Apple will bring an interpreter in but we have to know when they are available it becomes limited for me to access when I want to.”
“Bank accounts are complicated and can seem very technical. Providing easy to read explanations of features and benefits is the most effective way of me feeling confident in the service and the provider.”
Finding accessible information can be difficult
At least 7 in 10 survey respondents said that their disability or access needs had made it more challenging to find the information they needed in certain sectors.
- Days out for leisure (77 per cent).
- New places to eat out (75 per cent).
- Holiday accommodation (73 per cent).
- Banking and insurance services (70 per cent).
- Over half of the respondents said the same for the remaining sectors we asked about (retail, utilities, and technology).
The research also found that disabled consumers want choice in how they receive and communicate information. Preferences were as follows:
- Email (66 per cent)
- Telephone (52 per cent)
- Face-to-face (52 per cent)
- Webchat (32 per cent)
- Text (17 per cent).
Making information accessible
You can find out how to make information accessible to disabled people in the ‘Practical resources’ section of this toolkit.
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