Accessibility in Our Design DNA + Your Ideas in Action

We receive many suggestions for ways to improve experiences for partners and customers with disabilities on My Starbucks Idea. For that we are extremely grateful. We understand how these insightful suggestions have the power to not only better serve the disability community—but for everyone who comes to Starbucks. Simply put, we believe in the power of design to not only solve practical problems—but improve the experience for all.

You can find examples of this thinking all around us. Think about a crosswalk for instance. Steep curbs made crosswalks difficult for wheelchair users to navigate so curb cuts were installed - an improvement that benefits parents with strollers, travellers with roller-bags, and people riding bikes. Similarly, text messages, originally developed to serve the Deaf community, have changed the way we all use our phones.

It’s that same spirit of innovation that drives us to constantly look to MSI for inspiration on how to come up with solutions - that have the potential to vastly improve the experience for a huge community. For better readability we’ve adjusted the font and print sizes on our menus. We also created Braille & large print menus, and large print & picture menus. And for the third year in a row we are offering a Braille Starbucks gift card in the store. Thanks to a customer request, it’s now available year-round.

Design isn’t just about being pretty. It’s about designing for practical solutions, improving experiences, and enriching the quality of life for everyone. Our efforts are ongoing, and ideas and innovation are a group effort. What are your thoughts about where we can innovate? Who knows, maybe the next idea we put into action will be yours.

 Inspired by your ideas:

Keep putting Braille on gift cards
posted by braillemom

Matt Williams
10/3/2013 8:43 AM

I've often been surprised at the spin-off benefits we've experienced when building websites that take the needs of disabled people into account.  The simple act of working through the W3C checklist makes you systematically take account of problems that people are quite likely to experience, and as you say, everyone benefits.  For example, problems with contrast levels being a really common issue for which there are some simple standard tests.  And things like not using colour alone to convey information are not intuitive for most designers - you have to add the checking process or obvious things get missed.

I'm just wondering, if it doesn't exist already, could you extrapolate the W3C checklist into a general accessibility checklist, so any planning, of any description whatsoever at Starbucks enables you to self certify what you've done so it meets your own internal accessibility standards.

Or maybe it's that a different checklist is required for particular disciplines...

10/16/2013 12:00 AM

Hi Matt, if you haven't run into it you might want to check out Dive Into Accessibility: - its not quite a checklist, but its a great resource.

Britt Neff
11/10/2013 8:34 PM

Thank you!

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