“We need an ADA sign.”…”Does it have Braille? It needs to be ADA.”
All too often when we speak with clients that is what we’ll hear. There is a common misconception that raised graphics and Braille are the same thing as being ADA Compliant. They are, in fact, only part of the ADA Guidelines as a whole when it comes to signage. It may come as a surprise to many of you but signs without Braille can still be compliant. The raised graphics and Braille portion of the 2010 ADA Standards is certainly a large part of it but it’s not the whole thing.
In addition to raised graphics and Braille, the locations of the signs being installed are also part of being ADA compliant. Height from the ground and distance from the door are very important aspects of this. Placing the sign on the correct side of a door is also part of staying compliant.
The look of the signs is another important factor. The finish & contrast of a sign is crucial to retaining visibility at a distance. Size and style of the characters and pictograms are also important.
ADA Guidelines at a glance
Raised Characters: Depth, case, style, character proportions, character height, stroke thickness, character spacing, and line spacing
Braille: Dimensions, capitalization, and position
Installation Height: Height above finished floor or ground
Installation Location: Single doors, double doors (one active leaf and two active leafs), and doors with no wall space
Visual Characters: Finish and contrast, case, style, character proportions, character height, height from finish floor or ground, stroke thickness, character spacing, and line spacing
Pictograms: Pictogram field, finish and contrast, and text descriptors
Symbols of Accessibility: Finish and contrast and International Symbols of Accessibility, TTY, Volume Control Telephones, and Assistive Listening Systems.