According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one out of every five U.S. adults lives with a disability. In order to communicate effectively with these citizens, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, was passed in 1990 and has been in effect for nearly 30 years. Prior to the passage of the ADA, it was difficult at best, and sometimes nearly impossible, for people with disabilities to hold certain jobs or patronize certain businesses. The purpose of the ADA is to level the playing field; by requiring reasonable accommodations of businesses and employers, the ADA assures that everyone has equal access to the same jobs, the same products and the same services.
The ADA was created specifically to address the needs of Americans with disabilities, and making changes to your premises, such as installing ADA signs, may seem like a challenge at first. However, making your business ADA compliant benefits you in several ways:
You don't want anyone to come to harm on your property. With ADA signs, you can alert all customers and employees to potential danger. You can direct everyone where to go and what to do in the event of an emergency so that everyone remains safe and unharmed.
If the worst should happen and someone does become injured on your property, your ADA-compliant signs on your property alerting visitors and employees to potential danger may prevent you from being sued or cause such a lawsuit to be dismissed. Businesses that are not compliant with the law may be subject to heavy fines.
The perfect candidate for an open position at your company may be someone with a disability, but if he or she can't get in the door for an interview because your entrance isn't accessible, or if he or she can't find the door because your signs are not ADA compliant, you'll be missing out.
If people with disabilities cannot access your business, it will cost you not only in lost revenue but in loss of goodwill from the public. ADA compliance will make your customers with disabilities feel valued and appreciated, which will not only keep them coming back but make them more likely to recommend you to others.
You should know that ADA standards do not apply to every sign on your property. The law applies to signs that direct people where to go or identify the purpose or function of each room. It does not apply to temporary signs, nor does it apply signs that are used solely for advertising or marketing purposes.
However, the ADA does apply to any business that is open to the public. If you conduct business online, ADA compliance may be a higher priority for your website than your physical location.
An important feature of ADA signs is that they must be able to be read by people with visual impairments. You will need to include Braille dots on signage and they must be rounded rather than square, and rendered in lowercase letters except for proper nouns.
Raised letters must be no larger than two inches and no smaller than 5/8 of an inch and should be rendered in a sans-serif font.
Another way the ADA requires you to enhance the visibility of signs is with high contrast between the background and the lettering. If the background is dark, the lettering must be in a light color that stands out, and vice versa. The ADA also limits the choices of colors you can use.
ADA signs must be accessible for people with visual impairments to find and touch. For that reason, the characters on the sign must be no higher than 60 inches from the floor and no lower than 48 inches. An exception is signs next to elevator cars.
The rules that govern where a door sign should be placed are intended to allow individuals to read the sign safely without danger of being hit if someone should open the door. The general rule is that the sign should be located on the wall next to the latch side of the door, but there are different requirements for doors that open outward, doors without a latch that swing inward, and double doors.
Requirements for ADA signs may seem complicated at first, but when you look more closely, they're largely based on common sense. Signs By Tomorrow can create custom signs for your business that are ADA compliant while still conforming to your brand identity. Click here to learn more about ADA signs or call us at 844-957-4467.
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