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The Importance of ADA-Compliant Signs to Accessibility


Written By: Nelson James | Article Date: August 11, 2023

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In life and in business, it’s crucial to communicate effectively and be inclusive of individuals with disabilities. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses are required to install ADA-compliant signs, ensuring safety and convenience for those with visual, hearing, or sensory impairments. This is especially important as there are over 61 million Americans living with disabilities. In this article, we’ll learn more about the importance of ADA-compliant signs, the law’s basic requirements for putting them up, and how installing them could benefit your business.

What are ADA Signs?

ADA signs refer to signs designed to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law prohibits discrimination against disabled people in public and private spaces, and it enforces a mediation program to resolve complaints filed to the department. In a nutshell, the ADA requires businesses, establishments, and organizations to help people with disabilities navigate public facilities and accommodations with ease by constructing disabled-friendly spaces and installing signs based on their guidelines.

Examples of ADA Signs

ADA signs come in many forms and are used in a variety of applications. Different types of metal signs are often used for each, from aluminum and brushed aluminum to reflective aluminum. Below are some of them:
  • Restroom Signs
  • Handicap Parking Signs
  • Exit Signs
  • Room Identification Signs
  • Elevator Signs
  • Emergency Exit Signs
  • Informational Signs
  • Safety Markers


Examples of ADA Signs

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Why is It important?

ADA signs play a vital role in ensuring equal access and inclusivity for individuals with disabilities. Here’s why they’re important:

It’s the Law
ADA guidelines are federal regulations implemented on a national level. These rules apply across every state and territory in the US, although some states might have additional accessibility requirements. To ensure full compliance with accessibility laws, and to avoid fines, penalties, or discrimination lawsuits, it’s best to be aware of both federal and state regulations and adhere to them.

It Makes Customers Feel Safe
ADA signs help direct all customers to specific areas in a facility. They provide safety-related information about exits, emergency paths, fire alarms, evacuation plans, etc. When customers feel safe, they’ll feel reassured about visiting your establishment every time they go.

It Shows That You Value Your Customers
Putting up ADA signs shows that you’re willing to make extra effort and care for the needs of people with impairment. This will make them feel welcomed and respected and encourages them to keep on returning to your business.

It Makes Spaces Accessible for All Disabled People
Some people might think that ADA signs are only meant for individuals with visual impairments. However, well-designed ADA signs are also inclusive of people with other disabilities such as hearing, mobility, and cognitive impairments. These signs can be customized to accommodate the specific needs of each group and can make spaces accessible to all.


Basic Requirements for ADA-Compliant Signs

Basic Requirements for ADA-Compliant Signs

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Here are key rules to making signs ADA-compliant:

  • Location – The signs should be installed in areas that are easily visible and accessible. Restrooms, elevators, exits, and entrances are examples of ideal spots. They should also be placed on the latch side of doors and must be mounted 48”– 60” from the floor.
  • Finish – Non-glare, matte, and eggshell finish.
  • Font – Should be sans serif and in uppercase. Fonts should be easy to read and should not be ornamental, script, or italicized. The height of each letter should also range between 5/8”–2”.
  • Spacing or kerning – The spacing must be at least 1/8” between letters. This is important especially to those who have to read letters by touch.
  • Color – Signs should use high-contrast colors for the font and background. It should either be a light font with a dark background or a dark font with a light background.
  • Braille – The US requires Grade II Braille, either domed or rounded. It should also be raised to a minimum of 1/32” above the sign’s surface and must be placed directly below the text.
  • Pictograms – Pictograms are international symbols that represent an object, idea, or concept. They should have a minimum height of 6” and should not be in the same area as Braille or any other raised element.


How Can Installing ADA-Compliant Signs Help Businesses?

There’s more to installing ADA signs than complying with legal requirements and helping people with disabilities. In fact, it works both ways and can be beneficial to businesses in different ways:

Improved Brand Image
Installing ADA signs gives your business a good reputation for treating people with disabilities fairly and with respect. It tells the public that you’re willing to go the extra mile by following ADA guidelines and that you don’t tolerate discrimination. Furthermore, incorporating your brand’s style or theme presents a great opportunity to enhance your brand identity and make it more recognizable to your community. Just make sure you stick to the key requirements when creating your signs.

Increased Customer Satisfaction and Sales
Using ADA signs means making your establishment accessible to more people and driving more foot traffic to your business. Customers who are disabled will feel seen and be confident that they can navigate and access your services with ease. When customers feel good, their satisfaction increases and it will reflect on your sales, too.

Reduced Liability Risk
Because ADA signs enforce set guidelines and help communicate clear and concise information to all, it can reduce the risk of having liabilities significantly. When you adhere to these standards, you create a safe environment for everyone, not just people with impairment – and you prevent potential legal disputes that might occur.


Conclusion

Using ADA-compliant signs is essential for businesses to ensure accessibility and inclusiveness for individuals with disabilities. Installing ADA signs doesn’t only help people with disabilities navigate public spaces, it also promotes effective communication and equal opportunities for all customers.

The Americans with Disabilities Act may impose many requirements when it comes to designing and installing signs, so it’s important to put your trust in experienced printing professionals to make sure that no violations are being committed. Choose Signs.com for your establishment’s ADA-compliant signs. Our team will see to it that your signs are well-designed based on ADA standards.


Additional Resources

ADA Accessibility Standards (access-board.gov)
Americans with Disabilities Act
Americans with Disabilities Act & Workplace Safety
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?



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