Do you see what I see—Darkness…The lights are about to come up for you, but not for me. Hey, y’all, I’ve been in the dark for decades now…just physically…not mentally. Let me share a different perspective to help illuminate your vision of the future. 1 in 5 Americans has a disa-bility, making us the largest, most under-represented minority group in the country. Think about that.
Hey, not all disabilities are obvious. A disability’s a condition preventing you from engaging in one or more major life activities. Anybody here have a hard time walking a quarter-mile without stopping?
How about staying seated throughout a day of Interesting training?
Maintaining focus…Hey, all my ADD peeps!
Consumers with disabilities generate literally hundreds of billions of dollars a year in dis-cretionary income…And…we make up 20% of your potential client base. So how’s this impact your future?
Well, in just over a decade…1 in 3 of us will be a person with a disability. Not to worry. The Disability Community—Man—We are very welcoming. We don’t discriminate. You can join us at any time—you don’t even need to wait around for an invitation. And as a matter of fact…You will all join us eventually—If you don’t die first!
Let’s say You’re about to attend a Conference, and there’s a particular speaker you’d like to learn more about…So you click on YouTube: First video—silence, no captions. The second video is captioned—… With all the accuracy of a really sucky SIRI’d dictation
So you go to her homepage, and it is meticulously wordsmithed, but there are no pics or graphics to give you a better feel for her personality.
Now this next part is a real stretch…but imagine…you’re sitting in a conference, could be this one. The speaker is world renowned. Though you’re really close to the stage, you don’t have a clear line of sight……and you’re the only one that didn’t get a handout.
This dude loves his pointer, and he’s constantly referencing “this” and “that.” Afterward, with the assistance of a colleague, approach him and he fails to make eye-contact with you, and focuses instead on your colleague throughout the entire engagement.
Wow…How valued do you feel? What’s it like being on the outside? Are you frustrated yet? These exact same frustrations are faced Every. Single. Day by loyal customers with disabilities—like me—who want to buy from you!
Hey, how can we do that when we can’t even access your goods and services?
Donna Mack’s accessibility hacks,(™) to the rescue! Take note, y’all. I’ve got 5 easy, ac-tionable tips to rock your world:
Number one: Talk directly to the person with a disability—not their companion. As my beautiful little black lab can attest, service dogs don’t speak english either.
In your presentations: Like your Mama always said: “Don’t just point. Use your words” to describe. Use a reliable transcription service to provide captioning for all your videos, and Re-member to proofread!
Now, let’s talk websites. Use alt tags (short for alternate description). A lot of y’all are us-ing those to increase your SEO. But they allow people like me to have a feel for your graphics and to appreciate those, and since you’re spending so much money on them—you know, let me enjoy them too. If you don’t—If you need help understanding that—ask a techie.
Have all of your handouts and associated materials available in alternate format electron-ically (like Word or PDF) or online. And for an alternative version of this list, visit:
You know, we serve clients best by Meeting them where they are—even when it means extra effort on our parts, and even when it’s scary. You guys want to know what scary is? Scary is not being able to see your slides advance…(laughter)…Or the edge of the stage.
But, the extra effort that you put in is gonna be returned to you 100-fold, not only in the form of new clients—but by ensuring that that amazing, passionate message of yours reaches everybody!
Now you can no longer say you’re in the dark about Disability. I’ve given you tools to be empowered, and you’re enlightened. Get out there and do something about it! I’m Donna Mack.
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