Wayfinding isn't just pretty pictures; it includes all the ways people orient themselves in exterior and interior spaces and navigate from area to area. In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act or (ADA) was passed to establish a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability. Wayfinding is a part of the ADA and in 2010 was amended with new guidelines. A few of the items amended are listed below and include location of permanent room signs, typography symbols for visual information, and typography for tactile signs or braille.
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Location of Permanent Room ID Signs
- Permanent room signs are to be located at doorways. The safety of the tactile reader in paramount. Signs mount on the strike side of the door most often, but there are exceptions. If there is not room for the sign on the strike side of the door, then it can be placed on the nearest adjacent wall.
- Signs can now be mounted within a range of space which allows for a consistent top height for different sized signs along a hall. Signs are to be mounted at a height to allow the baselines of raised characters to be located between 48” and 60” above the ground.
Typography for Tactile Signs
Tactile Font Line Spacing for Multiple Lines of Raised Copy. Spacing between lines of copy to be a minimum of 135% and a maximum of 170% of the corresponding uppercase “I” height (measured from baseline to baseline).
Braille must be Grade II with contractions. Braille is to be placed directly below the corresponding raised characters. If text is multi-lined, braille is placed below entire text and separated 3/8” from any other tactile characters and 3/8” minimum from raised borders and decorative elements. The shape of braille characters must always be rounded. Almost always lowercase. Uppercase is only used before the first word of sentences, proper nouns and names, individual letters of the alphabet, initials and acronyms.
Typography & Symbols For Visual Information
The following information applies to all information that is to be read visually, it also applies to dual purpose raised graphics.
- Acceptable Characters: Visual characters can no longer be italic or oblique, script or highly decorative.
- Finish and Contrast: Characters or symbols and their background are to have a non-glare finish. The color or raised characters must contrast as much as possible with their background to make signs more legible for persons with low vision. Characters must be light on dark or dark on light.
- Pictograms: Pictograms are to be located within a 6” vertical void. No characters or braille can be located within this field. Text descriptors are to be located directly below the pictogram.