Andrews and Arnold–Deaf Accessibility Done Correctly

Just a quick one I wanted to share.

I frequently moan on my blog (and in person if we’re being honest!) about how Deaf accessibility, especially when it comes to technology isn’t something that’s taken into account often enough so it’s nice to be able to praise someone when they do get it right.

Andrews and Arnold are a UK based ISP whose name regularly comes up in newsgroups and at user group meetings.

I was checking out their website today when I saw this.

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That’s something I don’t see very often. A specific note for deaf customers with details on how they can get in touch with the organisation in a variety of ways (even via IRC and usenet!)

I’m sure you’ll agree this is a good thing but what I really like about this is that it wasn’t tucked away on some obscure corner of their site.

It’s on the front page of their site

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The contacts page also has email addresses, SMS numbers, and links to their twitter account.

I’m not an Andrews and Arnold customer so can’t comment on the quality of their broadband or their customer service but it’s great to see some extra effort being made.

The simple act of contacting a company is major headache in our household. Many companies, especially large ones won’t correspond via email and SMS is just not an option for them which means if Mrs P has a query about something (let’s say her mobile phone bill) how do we do this?

It usually involves me calling them which isn’t easy as we’re both at work during the day and then we have a song and dance with customer services because I’m not the account holder. Sometimes they’ll speak to me and I have to relay info to Bryony and sometimes they flat out refuse. This means the whole thing becomes long winded and far more stressful than it needs to be.

And this is just the short version of how it usually works!

So well done Andrews and Arnold – I hope more companies follow your lead.

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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9 thoughts on “Andrews and Arnold–Deaf Accessibility Done Correctly

  • I am deaf and what I like most about A&A (our account is in my partner’s name) is that the variety of communication methods phone/email/IRC/fax/SMS are open to everyone and are genuinely treated as equally as they can be. (obviously SMS isn’t ideal for loadsa data for example but may be the only option).

    It isn’t ‘special treatment’ for ‘poor little disabled people’ it is inclusive communication options for ALL. The additional mention on the frontpage is to alert people like us that A&A are aware of the increased accessibility that their ubiquitous good practice provides and reassure us and others that IRC is just as accepted as phones or something else.

    The number of services and providers who claim to have email but don’t answer it; send autoreply nonsense to everything I send; or most commonly and annoyingly say “you MUST phone us” is very high.

    A&A is a refreshing change, and an example of how it CAN be done and how much “security” is just a bullshit excuse.

  • Oh and cos it wasn’t clear from the above, the quality of their service is superb and their customer service is above and beyond and superb. I wouldn’t go with any other ISP now.

  • Thank you for blogging about stuff which affects deaf people because I don’t think people realise just how insidious and every day it is.

    I don’t play video games but I do notice the lack of subtitling/captioning for example and I think it is useful to explain in small words why this cuts out so many people and is yet another of many slaps in the face saying “you’re not welcome” “we don’t care about you”.

  • not a problem – if you enjoyed this post check out my wife’s blog http://www.thedeafone.co.uk

    Video games are a bit hit and miss – there are lots that do but equally lots that don’t – I automatically turn them on even though I don’t actually need them!

    One area that does rile me though is accessible cinema – i’ve got a couple of posts on here about it

  • Have already started looking at your wife’s blog. I think we seem to be a similar age. I know loads of MaryHarers (my sign is a bit Mary Hare cos of my deaf mates’ teachings).

    I don’t watch TV anymore cos the subtitling is so erratic and don’t get me started on sodding iPlayer, there is no way to inform them of broken subs (out of synch, wrong programme, absent entirely, sporadic) before the programme is removed. They don’t care and I don’t have the time/energy/inclination to sue the living daylights out of them which is the only language I think they would understand.

    I decided a year ago I couldn’t cope with the fury of poor subtitling so I just wouldn’t bother and I really don’t miss TV at all although it makes me socially odd at work – amongst being odd and nerdy anyway 🙂 I haven’t been to the cinema for years and still prefer foreign language films or a decent subtitled DVD.

  • I can hear but can vouch for AAISP, few months back I lost my connection with them, all support was handled on my Android phone through IRC and email. Not once did I have to speak to someone on the phone and so cost me absolutely zero to contact them and problem was fixed within a day.

  • Nice example of better communication with the hard of hearing. Others could follow by simply adding an online chat option to their sites / service. Ease to set up (even for us non techie’s) and does a great job at bridging the gap between the service representative and the hard of hearing. Thanks Andy.

    Ryan

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