Using apps to ensure everybody can have a great day out
Updated: Dec 1, 2021
How visitor attractions can increase accessibility of their venues with mobile technology.
Accessibility is something that is easy to forget about, if you’re able-bodied. However, for 22% of the UK population, accessibility is ever present - for example when shopping for food, travelling, going to the cinema, or visiting attractions. Making sure that your attraction is as accessible as possible for your guests is not only a good business move, but it’s also the right move. We look at how incorporating a mobile application into your digital strategy can really make a day out even more enjoyable.
Checking the park’s website before attending is usually the go-to for all visitors, but particularly for those with disabilities who want to assess whether it will be accessible for them. Make sure your disability guide is easy to locate from the homepage, don't make visitors have to dig around to find the information they require. Be sure to include your policies such a fast track options, concession prices or complimentary admission for assistants and offer a way to contact your customer services team so they ask any questions in advance. Chat bots are a fantastic tool for this purpose, reduce the amount of content people have to read and dealing effectively with FAQs. Your website is also the great place to promote your app, include all its features and encourage visitors download it before they arrive. Apps are an excellent tool to provide accessible information in a handy format on-the-go, perfect for visitors to access when they need it most.
With almost all visitor attractions having some sort of outdoor element, pathway width, incline and surface quality is a major factor for those who use wheelchairs, crutches, or walking aids. If you aren’t in a position to address this, letting your visitors know which paths may be harder to navigate is easy and helpful, and the next best thing. This will allow guests to feel more comfortable during their visit, so they can focus on why they chose to visit - to have fun! Using a digital interactive map, as opposed to paper maps that can get easily damaged, provides guests with easy navigation of the park. Hosting an accessible map, allows those with mobility issues to not only view the accessible pathways and trails but be routed to any of exhibits or rides in the safest and easiest way, making navigation a breeze. It's also an excellent way to display accessible facilities to those that need it, such as toilets and parking.
Visitor attractions can become incredibly busy, especially in the school holiday months. For disabled people this leads to additional challenges, where sensory and mobility difficulties can be worsened by crowds and noise. Using AI and GPS navigational tools, such as those used in Data Duopoly's products, your interactive map could help visitors determine the quietest, least busy route. This helps to lessen anxiety for those triggered by crowded places, reduces congestion and provides a way to escape the over-stimulating environment. Features, such as showing how busy certain areas are in real time, enables guests to make an informed decision about where to go to make their visit more comfortable.
A mobile app is the perfect communication tool to effectively disseminate information to everyone in the park. Being able to notify visitors with a disability that an accessible ride has been closed or perhaps send an early reminder of when a show is going to start to give them time to arrive, helps keep them informed and well connected to your attraction. This is a particularly useful tool for those that are visually impaired and enabling audio notifications could make a really useful impact to their experience.
One element of theme parks that can be extremely difficult for disabled people to navigate
is the rides, attractions and activities themselves. While an app can’t make the rides more accessible, it can highlight those that are and where they're located. Additional information can be provided on the ride itself, such as whether it has a separate entrance for disabled users, allowing the visitor to decide if it's suitable for them. Some rides aren’t accessible for everyone and can have health and safety requirements, such as the ability to brace, or to be able to walk a certain distance unaided in case of evacuation.
Apps can provide an enhanced experience and further access to amusement, enabling everyone to get involved with some activities during their visit. Gamification in the form of quizzes, competitions and digital treasure hunts are a great way to provide entertainment whilst exploring the park. Utilising digital techniques such as AR and VR is a great way to enhance the visitor experience, it can bring something new to returning visitors and attract wider audiences.
Empowering visitors to make the most of their trip on their terms from the ease of a phone, is a great way to makes someone's day less stressful. By moving to a digital-first approach and implementing mobile app technology to reduce congestion and increase comfort levels, parks can accommodate more people safely. Delivering a positive experience for everyone, disability or not, will result in more returning visitors who want to re-live a great day out at your attraction again and again.