ADA Braille Signs: Necessity or Extra Care?

If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed more and more public spaces have Braille signage these days to help the visually impaired. Is this a real necessity or just a common willingness to showcase extra care for people with visual impairments? Do you need to buy an ADA Braille sign? These are common questions asked by Bsign Store customers. But in order to answer them, we have to take a look at some narrower questions. Here they come alongside our insights.

What are Braille Signs?

Braille is a form of written language for individuals with severe visual disabilities. In this language, letters are represented by patterns of raised dots that are felt with the fingertips. This is how blind people can read using their tactile senses. Braille signs are special plaques that apply Braille language instead of the usual letters and numbers. This approach to door signage eliminates many inconveniences for people who cannot see but use feeling to navigate around any space.

Is Braille Lettering Mandatory According to ADA?

While ADA Braille signs are obviously more convenient for people with sight disabilities, the question is whether such signs are mandatory and enforced by legal regulations. In the US, such rules are determined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are many rules in this document, and many of them are made to help people who suffer from vision loss to any extent. They state that door signs have to comply with the following:

  • Be placed on permanent premises;
  • Help navigate to entry and exit points;
  • Use tactile lettering raised from the background plate;
  • Utilize contrast colors to be distinguishable from the distance.

Despite the mention of the tactile lettering, there’s nothing specifically about Braille in the ADA. Even if ordinary letters are used, the sign will be considered compliant with the ADA if those letters are raised from the background plate.

What are The Advantages of Using Braille Signs?

The reason why Braille is not an obligatory feature of door signs may be that not all individuals with visual impairment need this language — they might understand traditional letters as well. Nevertheless, this approach to the door sign choice brings some obvious advantages:

  • You showcase your paramount care to all groups of visitors despite their more or less severe health disabilities;
  • You make your space more inclusive, and consequently, improve the overall reputation of your institution;
  • Despite the extra feature of the Braille lettering wording, Braille door signs are not necessarily more expensive than other door plaques — so you get more rewards from similar investments.

Is it a Worthy Idea?

On the whole, inclusivity is an important feature of the modern-day public spaces layout. Even though the use of Braille isn’t imposed by legal requirements, we suggest that you should strive to make sure every visitor feels comfortable within your space, especially public ones. Achieve this with high-quality information door signs and you’ll be one step closer to help more people make use of your space.