Guide for Braille Signs
Room signs are used to inform or guide people about what lies behind a room or space. Certain guidelines issued by the federal law under the American's Disabilities Act need to be followed while designing/installing Braille signs.
ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) states that the Braille signs should be made accessible to the disabled or more specifically to the visually impaired. Here is a list of some of the important factors that need to be kept in mind while designing and installing Braille signs:
Background Contrast: The characters on the Braille sign should have an eggshell, matte, or other non-glare finish. The background has to be devoid of glare or any kind of shine except in the case of parking signs and other traffic signs that are suppose to be reflective. It is essential to maintain a 70%contrast between the characters and the background for easy readability. Either light characters should be used on a dark background or dark characters should be used on a light background.
Pictograms: A pictogram on the sign is not mandatory but can be used to make the sign more suggestive. If used, the pictogram must be at least 6' high and exactly below it a verbal description with the Grade 2 Braille should be placed.
Use Approved Typestyles: The font to be used in Braille signs must be sans serif or a simple serif font, and the typefaces of the text should be non-decorative. For room signs, upper case characters must be used and text font must have a minimum height of 5/8' and maximum height of 2'. Fonts for overhead signs must be at least 3' high.
Use Contracted Braille: Room signs should have raised characters and must use Contracted Braille. Both Tactile characters and Braille must be raised 1/32'. Contracted Braille is formerly known as Grade 2 Braille. Grade 2 Braille resembles the shorthand version of the text as it is written using sequence of contractions from it.
Inserts Made in the Field: Text in insertion fields on signs with don't require ADA compliance. Information, such as employee names, dates, policies, directional information and schedules that need to be inserted don't fall under the purview of the ADA and can be hand written or typed by the user.
Mounting Location: Braille signs must be mounted on the wall next to the latch side of a door where a permanent identification is required for a room or a space. In case of no availability of an adjacent wall, the Braille sign should be placed on the nearest possible wall. When mounted, the centreline of a Braille room sign must be 60' from the floor.