According to a 2015 study of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 53 million Americans live with some kind of disability. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that out of the total number, almost 40 million civilian non-institutionalized Americans have disability. That’s a whopping figure: one in five adults in the continental United States have some form of disability.
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Accessibility issues faced by the disabled
Most disabled people encounter difficulty in walking or climbing stairs. The next major disability seems to be related to vision, that impacts badly memory and/or thinking, independent living and self-care.
In order to safeguard the interests of the disabled in America, The Americans with Disability Act (ADA), a civil right act, was passed in 1990. The ADA has done well to help, protect and prevent discrimination against people with disabilities by working with institutions and the government on various compliance initiatives.
With the inception of the ADA, disabled persons gained ramp access to buildings, and accessibility of places of public accommodation such as schools, supermarkets, stores, hospitals, hotels, sports stadia, movie theaters and so on. It became necessary for aisles in supermarkets to be wider to accommodate wheelchairs and provide disabled persons with sufficient room to move about.
This mandate extended to ensure that signage and signboards were compliant with the needs of the disabled. It paved the way for people with disabilities to access places or information better, and to live as well their daily lives in a more efficient and comfortable manner.
How does ADA compliant signage help?
The purpose of ADA-compliant signage is not just a regulatory need. It truly helps the disabled customers and visitors find their way in an establishment of any size. It serves well to guide them wherever they go. ADA compliant signs are easy to read in terms of size and color of the text; furthermore, they help people with and without disability all over the world.
Types of ADA compliant signs
ADA compliant signs are required in places that are unlikely to change location or structure too often. Signs that mark permanent rooms, establishments and spaces such as restrooms, rooms in buildings and other permanent indoor locations and entrances to buildings must all be ADA compliant.
Compliance applies to exit signs, elevator signs and convenience signs for restrooms. Compliance involves specifications of size, height, color of text and background and the inclusion of tactile characters for the visually impaired. This could include pronounced or raised letters as well as Braille.
Since the ADA was passed over 25 years ago, its impact has been positively felt across America. All places of business, establishments and public spaces have seen a sea change in the location and use of interior signage. It has not only benefited the disabled but also made it easy for all other visitors, customers and members of the public inito locate rooms, restrooms and other places meant for them within a building or common space.
Business owners and establishments have embraced eagerly these signs not just as an obligation to obtain occupancy certificates but also to to leave a better impression on visitors. This creates a strong business case for commercial organizations, irrespective of size, to be ADA compliant with respect to signage. It is best to choose an experienced professional signage company, which can carry out in letter and spirit the requirements prescribed by the ADA.