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ADA Signs: More than just compliance


In the world of graphics and signage, compliance holds as much value as aesthetic appeal and information. Signage firms must follow guidelines set by governing bodies to ensure that their signs are accessible, easily legible, and effectively communicate important information to the intended audience. While most people have no difficulty reading signs, someone with a visual impairment or disabilities might have a hard time. This is why, signs are made in compliance with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), the United States Access Board (ADAAG), and other regulations.

ADA Signs are developed to ensure people with disabilities can easily navigate through different environments. ADA signs are more than just a compliance requirement. They play a vital role in providing safety and inclusivity for everyone.

Today, we will look at how ADA signs help create an accessible and inclusive environment for individuals with disabilities.

ADA Signs and why do need them?

ADA signs are those that feature raised tactile characters and braille to provide information in a way that is accessible to those with visual impairments. These signs must meet specific design and placement requirements like font size, contrast, and use of braille, among others. ADA signs can include pictograms that help individuals with limited English proficiency or cognitive disabilities understand important information and incorporate elements such as tactile materials and colors to make reading easier.

By meeting these requirements, people with disabilities can navigate through public spaces, such as buildings, parking lots, malls, hospitals, and restrooms.

Now, what makes a sign ADA-compliant? To convey a navigation message, a simple board drawing will do the trick but it won’t be ADA-compliant. To make it so, we need to make sure the sign meets the following requirements-

Pictogram or symbol

The sign should have a pictogram or symbol that represents the message of the sign clearly. For example, a wheelchair symbol indicates accessibility for individuals with mobility disabilities, or a bright exclamation mark in red shows a warning sign.


The sign should have a high contrast between the background and text or pictogram to ensure maximum readability.


The sign should have tactile (raised) lettering or Braille text to ensure that people with visual disabilities can read the sign.


The sign should be large enough to be seen and read easily. The text should be 1 inch high and maintain a maximum distance of 2 inches from the baseline of the lowest character to the top of the highest character.


The sign should be made of durable materials such as acrylic, metal, or plastic. The characters should not wear or tear away.

Mounting height

The sign should be mounted between 48 and 60 inches above the ground, with the center of the sign at 60 inches.


The sign should be placed in a location where it can be seen easily, like near the entrance to a building or room.

If a sign includes these parameters, it will be accessible to everyone, including those with visual or mobility disabilities.

Signs that should be ADA compliant

Signs are everywhere and any signs that are essential for navigating public spaces need to be ADA-compliant. This includes signs that provide information on the location of restrooms, exits, elevators, and stairs, as well as signs that indicate the function of rooms or spaces, such as meeting rooms or offices.

Furthermore, signs that relay information about parking spaces, entrances, exits, directional signs, and any others that guide people through an environment, need to be ADA compliant. Here’s a brief look at different signs that can be ADA compliant-

  1. Room Identification Signs: Signs used to identify a room or space, such as a restroom or a conference room. Room identification signs should feature tactile characters and braille to ensure accessibility for individuals with visual impairments.
  2. Wayfinding Signs: Wayfinding signs provide directions or guide individuals through a building, mall, school, and other spaces. Characters and backgrounds in wayfinding signs must have high contrast between them to ensure readability. They should also have raised tactile characters and braille.
  3. Informational Signs: Informational signs provide information about a specific area like hours of operation or emergency exits in a theatre and hospital. These signs must have raised tactile characters and braille and be in an accessible location.
  4. Directional Signs: Directional information such as arrows or directions to a specific area is provided by directional signs. These signs must have raised tactile characters and braille and be in an accessible location.
  5. Parking Signs: These are used to identify accessible parking spaces. Parking signs must have the international symbol of accessibility and the words “Accessible Parking” in raised characters and braille.
  6. Public restrooms signs: Public restrooms should be ADA compliant indicating that the facility is accessible to individuals with disabilities.
  7. Entrances and exits: ADA signs must be posted to identify accessible entrances and exits in and around a building.
  8. Elevators and escalators: ADA signs must be installed in elevators and on escalators to indicate floor levels, emergency procedures, and other important information.
  9. Emergency exits and evacuation routes: ADA signs must be posted to indicate emergency exits and evacuation routes in public buildings.
  10. Public transportation: ADA signs must be placed on buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation to identify accessible seating and areas.
  11. Service counters: ADA signs must be placed at service counters to indicate where individuals with disabilities can access assistance or receive service.
  12. ATM machines: ADA signs must be installed on ATM machines to indicate how individuals with disabilities can access and use the machine.
  13. Public telephones: ADA signs must be installed on public telephones to indicate how individuals with disabilities can access and use the phone
  14. Medical facilities: ADA signs must be placed throughout medical facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices, to indicate facilities like restrooms, waiting rooms, and more.
  15. Theatres and performance spaces: ADA signs must be installed in theatres and other performance spaces to indicate accessible seating.
  16. Hotels and lodging facilities: ADA signs must be placed throughout hotels and other lodging facilities to indicate accessible features like swimming pools, waiting rooms, and more.

Overall, ADA signs are essential for creating an accessible and welcoming environment for everyone, regardless of their abilities. By going beyond compliance, ADA signs help businesses and organizations demonstrate their commitment to inclusion and diversity.

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Indovance Inc  with its exclusive delivery hub in India is a global CAD technology partner serving the needs of the AEC industry since 2003. We focus on the unique need of each project or client and believe in addressing the real challenges and guarantee that the process will be well-coordinated, smooth, efficient, and hassle-free. 

We collaborate with our customers around the world to develop bespoke business solutions using our enormous engineering talent pool and state-of-the-art technology. To deliver long-term engineering and business strategies, we align with your culture and processes to create an unbreakable partnership. With over 700 full-time employees and more than 500 customers in the US, Europe, Canada, and Australia, we are poised for the next level of success. 

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