A Resource for ADA Standards for Accessible Design

Posted on Sep 3, 2013

On March 15, 2012, updates to the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) went into effect. The new standards, known as the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, focus specifically on creating wayfinding signage for the visually impaired.


If you are new to the ADA Accessibility Guidelines, which consists of hundreds of pages, be warned that only a few, small sections relate to signage. However, there are a few significant aspects to understand. Knowledge is power and if you become familiar with this Federal law you will be better prepared to be in compliance. While some states follow ADAAG, some have adopted the American National Standards Institute guidelines. Before you embark on a new project, be sure you have a knowledgeable designer who is experienced in this area.


The intention of this article is to provide an overview of ADA and provide resources to help you navigate your way through the intricacies of the Americans with Disabilities Act. With more than 50 million Americans with disabilities – more than 18% of our population – are potential customers for businesses of all types across the United States.


Visual and Tactile

The new ADA standards include several differences from the 1990 rules, which became enforceable in 1992. One of the most noticeable changes is the recognition that signage created for the visually impaired needs to accommodate those who read by sight, those who read Braille, and those who read raised characters—particularly because only an estimated 10% of all people who are blind read Braille.


These updated standards represent the first major change to the technical requirements since the ADAAG was first published in 1991. There are substantive changes to the requirements for accessible signage, in both the scoping and technical sections of the standards. Both tactile and visual characters are defined in greater detail, mounting heights for signs have changed, and minimum character heights have been determined based on viewing distance.


ADA and Hospitals

Communicating with people who are deaf or hard of hearing in hospital settings continues to be a challenge for hospital administrators due to continued growth and expansion. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), hospitals must provide effective means of communication for patients, family members, and hospital visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing.


The ADA applies to all hospital programs and services, such as emergency room care, inpatient and outpatient services, surgery, clinics, educational classes, and cafeteria and gift shop services. Wherever patients, their family members, companions, or members of the public are interacting with hospital staff, the hospital is obligated to provide effective communication. For more information, please review this helpful online resource: http://www.ada.gov/hospcombr.htm.


Sign System Institute Resource Download 


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