Ensure that customers are aware of the universal design features of products and services


Universal design features are selling points that need to be promoted so that those customers or potential customers who would benefit from them are aware of them and how they may benefit from them. This is illustrated by early experiences with audio description in the UK reported by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). During the first seven years of audio description availability on Freeview, sales of the single compatible set-top box were disappointing. According to RNIB, this was not due to a lack of demand or need for audio description, but to low awareness of the service and of this product. Poor sales are not necessarily an indication of lack of demand but may actually be due to fact that customers simply didn’t know that the product exists.

My digital TV provider has a Disability service. It
was useful in telling me what future programs were about to be available in
audio description, it should be more widely advertised.

I didn’t really know
there was help

Guidelines survey respondents.

Directions and techniques

Highlight universal design features within product information

Universal design features should be highlighted wherever a product or service is described. For example, in promotional mail shots, information included with bills or on shop displays and marketing literature.

Retailers and customer service staff should be fully aware of universal design features.

Informing representative organizations for older people and people with disabilities can also help because these organizations communicate directly with the target group and are often also a point of contact for people looking for information about what is available.

A dedicated section on the company website can list product features that meet the needs of specific user groups as well as available alternatives for service provision, such as large print or Braille billing for example.

Label products

Clear labelling of products should be used to help both consumers and suppliers. A labelling scheme that allows manufacturers to easily display information about the universal design features of a product will not only help potential customers to choose suitable products, but also help to develop the market for these products by increasing awareness.

How you could test for this

Customers can be regularly surveyed to find out whether they are aware of the universal design features of products that would benefit them. Suitable questions can be included within existing marketing surveys.