In Canada, there are approximately 500,000 people who are blind or partially blind. An additional 1.5 million have some degree of sight loss. Braille signs provide assistance for people with sight loss or blindness so they can find their way in unfamiliar areas. These tactile signs allow them to navigate safely through buildings and find their destination without trouble.
Using a series of raised dots for letters, those with sight issues can read the signs using their fingers to read the words. Because people with sight loss or blindness depend on these signs to find their way, your business should consider adding braille signs to your location. Here we share eight reasons your business needs braille signs.
1. It reflects accessibility best practises
Canada has yet to come up with a Canadian Disabilities Act that matches the same standards of the U.S. Although each province has its own guidelines, using the American Disabilities Act as a guide reflects accessibility best practices. If you adhere to these inclusive regulations, you will ensure your business is making your location accessible to everyone. As a result braille signs should be used to help the blind find the following areas:
- Public restrooms
- Public changing rooms
- Electric rooms
- Storage rooms
- Break rooms
You might find there are specific areas that also require braille signs on your premises to keep people safe or guide them to the services offered. This might include off-limit areas that are dangerous such as factory space, a customer service counter, security or reception desks, etc.
2. It supports independence
Loss of sight does not take away a person’s capacity to live independently. When you install braille signs you are helping support independence and make your business more inclusive. Simple installations, such as braille signs at elevators to tell people what floor they need to visit or where someone can purchase a coffee in your building, help empower people to find their way without depending on others to help them. Even installing a braille sign at your main entry indicating your door should be pushed or pulled helps blind people navigate their way independently.
3. Easier navigation of restrooms
We take using public washrooms for granted as we can see if the restroom is male, female or universal. We can also see whether there are stalls or urinals, see where the taps are to wash our hands and see where we can dry our hands. All of these details are important, yet difficult or impossible for someone with sight loss to determine. Since we all need to use the restroom, public bathrooms should always include braille signs that assist those with vision loss to find what they need.
4. Makes it easier and safer to navigate unfamiliar buildings
Even when you have perfect vision, entering a new building can be very confusing. The larger the building and the more complicated the layout, the more difficult it becomes to find where you are going. Braille direction signs allow people with vision loss to find their way without the worry of getting lost in new surroundings.
5. Basic consideration
Braille signs are a basic consideration for the people who visit your business. It shows you respect all people and want everyone to feel welcome and safe on your premises.
6. Prevent accidents and avoid lawsuits
Without good vision, it’s very easy to end up in a dangerous area. It’s also impossible to spot risks that those with good eyesight can avoid. Using braille signs alerts people with limited vision to possible dangers such as approaching steps or ramps, level changes, when an elevator is out of order or which areas should be avoided. Your arrangements ensure your premises are safe for everyone. From a strictly financial standpoint, you also reduce liability for accidents that occur.
7. Braille and easy-to-read signage assist people of all visual abilities
Using braille and designs that are easy-to-read will assist people of all visual abilities. With this in mind, you can also adopt best practices to assist those with partial sight loss including:
- Non-Glare Finishes: Matte signs reduce glare making it easier for everyone to read signage.
- High Contrast: High contrast between the text and background ensures the words stand out and can be read more easily by those with visual impairments.
- Raised Text: Because not all those with visual impairments understand how to read braille, you can include both braille and raised lettering on signage.
- San Serif Font: San serif fonts such as Helvetica, Trebuchet, Futura and Ariel are easier to read for those with visual impairments.
- Uppercase and Lowercase: A mix of upper and lower case letters can help those with visual impairment detect word separation more easily.
Using these best practices for signage will ensure people of all levels of visual ability can understand the signs posted.
8. Improve PR
Your reputation in the community is important to your success. The more accessible your business, the more positive your PR. Both people with vision and those without will appreciate your sensitivity and consideration, helping heighten awareness of your commitment to the community and inclusivity.
Providing equal access to everyone is an obligation all businesses owe their community. Every business should identify areas likely to pose a challenge for those with visual impairment and install braille signs to keep everyone safe.
For more information on braille signage, or to get your own custom sign made in Toronto, call New Style Signs at 866-591-6938 or contact us here.