I like the word 'accessible'. It's a personal preference, and having said that I know that some readers will not agree with me.
It makes a positive description for an inanimate object: accessible website; accessible transport or parking; accessible bedrooms in hotels; accessible toilets and the list goes on.
On its own, the inoffensive word 'accessible' means different things to individual people. But tack it onto anything else word-wise, and unless you've done your homework, it can be a serious mistake or even a PR disaster.
The Crossrail project in London is an example of how this might happen.
According to the Ilford Recorder online newspaper: 'The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is handling a complaint about Network Rail adverts describing Crossrail as “accessible” ', this is despite Seven Kings station and six others having no step-free access (or lifts from the platforms). The article goes on to say:
'Disability campaign group Transport For All alerted the watchdog over posters displayed in London reading: “When Crossrail opens in 2018/2019 it will bring you a new high frequency, convenient, accessible railway.”
Although all stations are being renovated, plans for step-free access at Seven Kings station, in High Road, were dropped in 2011.
Campaigners, residents and councillors have been fighting to get lifts reinstated ever since.
There are more than 30 steps to the platform. Stations at Manor Park, Maryland, Hanwell, Taplow, Iver and Langley will also be without lifts under current Crossrail plans.
Transport for All campaign co-ordinator Lianna Etkind said: “I don’t know what definition of ‘accessible’ they are using, but accessible to everyone who’s not disabled, not old, not carrying shopping, and not using a pushchair is not accessible in the normal sense of the word.” '
You couldn't make this story up, so whatever you're engaged in - be it publicity; marketing; website design; car park or transport design; hotel bedroom and bathroom design, please use the positive word 'accessible' with caution, and make sure whatever it is, really does meet everyone's needs.
You can read more about this by clicking on the story link: Disability campaigners challenge ‘accessible’ Crossrail posters