Updated: May 14, 2019
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that was passed by Congress in 1990 which focuses on people’s special needs with disabilities and ADA signage was created for this purpose. ADA signage serves as building directories and for all businesses and other facilities that are open to the public. ADA signage is critical, especially to sites that are most frequently visited such as tourist spots, shopping malls, healthcare and educational facilities.
If the content of the ADA signage is only in English, visitors who do not know the English
language may not understand the purpose of the signs. Their sense of direction will be lost and this can damage the reputation of that facility. There would be an increase of customer service issues and formal complaints. More visitors would be at the front office or information desk rather than visiting the facility itself. It’s important that sign businesses understand the type and volume of foot traffic a building gets because visitors may not always understand or read English due to language barriers.
What can be improved on ADA signage?
Graphic art or images can be implemented on the ADA signage such as male and female
figures to distinguish between restroom facilities. Pictures help visitors to understand
visually and directly lead them to where they need to go.
Color coding based on the ADA regulations will improve the ADA signage. Different
tones and contrast can help guide visitors find their way based on the specific colors.
They can identify and associate the colors to certain sections of the building or offices.
Optimize the sign and placement of the sign. The ADA sign must be compliant, concise,
and in clear view as the ADA implemented special rules that must be followed to make
sure visitors can easily read the signs. Always verify with the state and locals codes to
ensure that the ADA signs are up-to-date and where that can be placed before the signs
get installed. These types of improvements are very helpful for wayfinding and directional purposes when language barriers is an issue. Who can benefit more from ADA signage? Healthcare and educational organizations can benefit more from ADA signage. When facilities use compliant ADA signage which are creative and easy to follow, visitors, will not be confused or be misled, despite the language barrier. This will increase the chances of visitors to return and may recommend others to visit the facility.