Awards & Engraving

September '16

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24 a-e-mag.com • A&E SEPTEMBER 2016 I t's been almost 25 years since the date when barriers were to be removed from buildings, and submitted architectural plans were to reflect the ADA Accessibility Guidelines. Even though the "new" ADA Standards for Accessible Design were written in the late 90s, first published by the U.S. Access Board in 2004, approved by the Department of Justice in 2010, and made legally enforceable in 2012, in 2016, they are still puzzling sign designers and code officials alike. SOME SIMPLE COMPONENTS Let's break it down into the simplest components: First, don't try to lump all people with disabilities or even blind people together. Although there is a certain amount of crossover, we can group people generally into those who have disabilities based on mobility issues and those who have communication issues—they have problems seeing, hearing, speaking, under- standing, or with general communication. Second, ask yourself some questions. For instance, why don't we need the tactile word "accessible" beneath the wheelchair symbol or International Symbol of Acces- sibility (ISA), along with braille? How are people who are blind supposed to know something is accessible? Don't confuse the ISA with accessi- bility for people who don't see or hear. It's true that there are blind people who use wheelchairs, but it's hard to imagine that any sensible person with no usable vision would navigate alone in a wheelchair or scooter around a strange building. And that's your answer! If you can't see the wheelchair symbol, you probably can't see to navigate, either. If you can see well enough to navigate, you can see the ISA on the entrance or restroom door, you can recognize the accessible drinking foun- tain or lavatory, and you can find your assigned locker. We don't need to label every object, either, even for those who are both deaf and blind. Blind people iden- Some education on the topic of ADA signage by Sharon Toji Directional signs have their own rules, but number one is always contrast and non-glare material. It's crucial for the character size to be appropriate for the distance of the reader from the sign. ALL SIGNS DESIGNED BY ULLRICH HEPPERLIN After 25 Years of the ADA, Questions Still Abound

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