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Steps to Accessibility

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Develop New Audiences

Once you have invested in making your programs, facility and services accessible, you will want to create a friendly, warm and welcoming environment. This can be accomplished by remembering to use People First Language and appropriate accessibility symbols.

VSA Texas staff is happy to consult with your marketing and promotional departments to plan ways in which you can encourage people with disabilities to become a part of your audience.

Train Your Staff and Volunteers

If you, your staff, or volunteers are unsure about what to do you when you meet a person with a disability call us. We can attend your next staff meeting, volunteer usher meeting or docent meeting and offer information and training on providing quality customer service for your patrons with disabilities.

Expand your services to patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing

We can give you tips on how to set up a sign interpreted performance, what to look for when buying Assistive Listening Devices, and information on the newest technology in captioning.

Expand your services to patrons who are blind or visually impaired

We can provide other resources for Braille and large print programs, give you tips on Braille signage, and provide Audio Description for your next movie, live performance, event, or museum exhibit.

Plan for New Construction and/or Renovations

Keep in mind that your facilities should meet the Americans with Disabilities Architectural Access Guidelines, and the Texas Accessibility Standards. We would be glad to meet with your architects to make sure that your building design includes accessible features that accommodate people with disabilities.

Provide resources to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act

Just have a question about accessibility or the Americans with Disabilities Act? We can link you up with the resources you need to answer your questions and to get you on your way to becoming totally accessible.

Visit the National Arts Disability Center Libraries - 10 Steps Guide to Accessible Arts.

Philosophy & Seven Principles of Universal Design

Principle One: Equitable Use

  • The designs are useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
  • Provide the same means of use for all users, identical whenever possible, equivalent when not.
  • Avoid segregating or stigmatizing any users.
  • Make provisions for privacy, security and safety equally available to all users.
  • Make the design appealing to all users.

Examples

  • Power doors with sensors at entrances that are convenient for all users.
  • Integrated, dispersed and adaptable seating in assembly areas such as theaters.

Principle Two: Flexibility in Use

  • Designs accommodate a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
  • Provide choice in methods of use.
  • Accommodate right- or left-handed access and use.
  • Facilitate the user's accuracy and precision.
  • Provide adaptability to the user's pace.

Examples

  • Scissors designed for right- or left-handed users.
  • An automated teller machine (ATM) that has visual, tactile and audio feedback, a tapered card opening and a palm rest.

Principle Three: Simple and Intuitive Use

  • Uses of the designs are easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills or current concentration level.
  • Eliminate unnecessary complexity.
  • Be consistent with user expectations and intuition.
  • Accommodate a wide range of literacy and language skills.
  • Arrange information consistent with its importance.
  • Provide effective prompting and feedback during and after task completion.

Examples

  • A moving sidewalk or escalator in a public space.
  • An instruction manual with drawings and no text.

Principle Four: Perceptible Information

  • The designs communicate necessary information effectively to the user regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.
  • Use different modes (pictorial, verbal, tactile) for redundant presentation of essential information.
  • Provide adequate contrast between essential information and its surroundings.
  • Maximize "legibility" of essential information.
  • Differentiate elements in ways that can be described (make it easy to give instructions or directions).
  • Provide compatibility with a variety of techniques or devices used by people with sensory limitations.

Examples

  • Tactile, visual, and audible cues and instructions on a display with video or on a thermostat.
  • Redundant cueing (e.g. voice communications and signage) in airports, train stations and subway cars.

Principle Five: Tolerance for Error

  • The designs minimize hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
  • Arrange elements to minimize hazards and errors: most used elements, most accessible; hazardous elements eliminated, isolated or shielded.
  • Provide warnings of hazards and errors.
  • Provide fail-safe features.
  • Discourage unconscious action in tasks that require vigilance.

Examples

  • A double-cut key easily inserted into a recessed keyhole in either of two ways.
  • An "undo" feature in computer software that allows the user to correct mistakes without penalty.

Principle Six: Low Physical Effort

  • The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
  • Allow user to maintain a neutral body position.
  • Use reasonable operating forces.
  • Minimize repetitive actions.
  • Minimize sustained physical effort.

Examples

  • Lever or loop handles on doors and faucets.
  • Touch lamps operated without a switch.

Principle Seven: Size and Space for Approach and Use

  • The design provides appropriate size and space for approaching, reaching, manipulating and using regardless of user's body size, posture or mobility.
  • Provide a clear line of sight to important elements for any seated or standing user.
  • Make reaching to all components comfortable for any seated or standing user.
  • Accommodate variations in hand and grip size.
  • Provide adequate space for using assistive devices or personal assistance.

Examples

  • Controls on the front and clear floor space around an interactive exhibition, mailboxes and other elements.
  • Wide gates at subway station that accommodate all users.

VSA Texas is always looking for people to join us in our goal of assisting arts organizations to achieve maximum accessibility.

Contact us for more information on how you can help.

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