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Starbucks creates (and open-sources) a design framework to make stores accessible to all

Sliding into spring on a floral note, Starbucks is adding two new drinks to its menu: Iced Lavender Cream Oat Matcha and Iced Lavender Oat Latte. Ensuring anyone can come in and enjoy them, the chain also unveiled plans to improve accessibility and inclusivity across its US stores. Through its new Inclusive Spaces Framework, Starbucks wants to redefine the retail experience for all individuals, irrespective of their accessibility needs.

The framework was launched with the opening of a flagship store in Washington, DC, which boasts a range of features designed to facilitate easier navigation and interaction for all customers and staff. Think an order status board for visual confirmation of orders, acoustic dampening that cuts down on echoes for those using assisted listening devices, and a handoff counter with an overhanging shelf and plenty of clearance underneath for customers with wheelchairs, strollers or service dogs.

The Inclusive Spaces Framework was developed in collaboration with customers, employees and accessibility experts. The goal was to devise scalable solutions that can be incorporated into all new and renovated company-owned stores. Starbucks also intends to open-source the framework, allowing for its adoption and further development within the broader retail industry.

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With an estimated one in four adults in the United States living with a disability, Starbucks' new framework marks progress in serving its community's diverse needs. Better yet, by open-sourcing its resources and knowledge with other brands, Starbucks can promote inclusion across the retail landscape, paving the way to more environments that foster independence, choice, and ease for everyone.

How could your brand leverage transparency and partnerships to solve complex societal challenges? Are you working with others in your industry to amplify your impact and set industry standards? Could you organize a collaborative hackathon focused on finding new solutions for accessibility (or sustainability or equity)?