Why is ADA Signage So Important?
The science of sight is a complex thing, and something we often take for granted if we have 20/20 vision ourselves. There is a broad spectrum between “perfect vision” and “totally blind” that should be considered when dealing with ADA compliance and signage, as one small misstep in anything from font to color could throw off someone’s entire day.
If you have perfect vision, it might be hard to relate to the struggle some people find with distinguishing colors, or reading letters and numbers that are posted in specific shades, or against specific backgrounds. If the font is too close in color, it could prove hard to read for those who are visually impaired. The same is true of colors that clash too much, or are hard on the eyes and make you squint just to see them clearly. Even people with perfect vision are naturally very sensitive to certain wavelengths of light, and those who suffer from vision impairments or colorblindness often have a much more difficult time. In fact, there are an estimated 300 million people in the world who currently suffer from color blindness.
Font is another extremely important variable. There are certain styles of lettering that are simply easier to read. The letters are clearer, they are naturally clean and, more importantly, their shapes are simple to follow for those who cannot read braille. It is a common misconception that every blind person in the world can read and understand braille dots: some were never given the opportunity to learn by the time their blindness set on, and others fall in the “legally blind” category, where they may still have some useful vision left, but reading has become difficult. Raised sans serif fonts are much easier to read by touch, and easier to see for those who can.
Location, Location, Location
Most people who benefit from ADA room signs and compliant wayfinding are not totally blind, but vision impaired. They will not always have someone holding their hand in a waiting room, or helping them cross the street. The ability to make their own way from day-to-day is aided by compliant signage, including where signs are placed. Mounting ADA signs in the same place is crucial for helping blind citizens, who all rely very much on familiarity and routine. If something as simple as leaving a door ajar might be a hazard to them, struggling to find the appropriate signs and markers in a new place could get them lost or injured just as easily. It is vital that those who read by touch can easily reach the signs, without putting themselves in harm’s way.
Signage may not seem too complicated at first glance, but getting it wrong could be disastrous. That is why we at ADA Central are sure to get it right. Contact us today to get started with your own ADA signage needs, or for more information. Want to learn more about ADA signage? We answer the 5 most frequently asked questions about ADA sign compliance.