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Common Reasons Signs Fail ADA Compliance Standards

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Developing and installing signage in accordance with the guidelines set out by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is not optional, and it’s not just a nice, thoughtful thing to do for those who might visit your property. Rather, it’s a mandatory requirement—and one that carries real consequences for businesses and organizations whose signage fails to achieve compliance. With serious fines levied against those whose signage violates ADA requirements, it’s in your organization’s best interest to ensure compliance from the earliest stages of the design process.

Merely including Braille as a component of a sign does not make it automatically ADA compliant. There are numerous other considerations to take into account when designing signage, and while the visually impaired are particularly likely to benefit from the ADA’s guidelines, there are also benefits for those with mobility issues and other disabilities. Here are some of the most common ways in which signage fails to be ADA-compliant:

Poor font choice. The ADA is crystal clear on font requirements. Tactile characters must be sans serif, uppercase and without complicated flourishes like italics. Restrictions on the proportions and height of characters can also limit the fonts that may be used on ADA-compliant signage.

Improper mounting. Signs with tactile features must be mounted 48 to 60 inches from the ground, with the baseline of the lowest tactile characters being no lower than 48 inches and the baseline of the highest tactile characters being no higher than 60 inches. There are also requirements related to the placement of signage in relation to doors.

Wrong character size. The height of tactile characters must be between 5/8 of an inch and two inches, with the exception of dual message signs, which allow for characters as small as half an inch.

Bad kerning. The space between tactile characters must be at least 1/8 of an inch, in order to provide an easier reading experiencing for those vision-impaired individuals who don’t read Braille. While this standard sometimes results in lettering looking a little “off” to seeing individuals, it also allows more people to read the sign more easily.

Misuse of Braille. Believe it or not, it is very possible to mess up Braille signage in the eyes of the ADA. Braille dots need to be rounded or domed, and there are very specific requirements pertaining to the spacing of dots and cells in relation to each other. Braille must also be situated directly below any corresponding text on dual message signs.

These are just a few of the ways in which the ADA requirements can impact your signage. Erie Custom Signs will work with your organization to design ADA-compliant signage that meets your needs while also remaining accessible to those with disabilities. Contact us today to arrange a consultation and receive a quote.

Filed Under: ADA Signage

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