What are the ADA requirements? :: JPPlus Resources
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What are the ADA requirements?

Color contrast is a very important factor in the creation of tactile/ADA signage. While the regulations do not specify or require a particular contrast ratio percentage, The U.S. DOJ ADA Standards for Accessible Design Title III, section 4.30.5 reads: “Finish and Contrast. The characters and background of signs shall be eggshell, matte, or other non-glare finish. Characters and symbols shall contrast with their background – either light characters on a dark background or dark characters on a light background.”

Size & Space Requirements ADA size requirements specify a text height range of 5/8-2". Use the below chart as a reference for the amount of text that will fit on a sign.

Font Size (standard sans-serif font)

Sign Width

5/8”

3/4”

7/8”

1”

1-1/4”

1-1/2”

4

5

4

3

3

-

-

6

7

6

5

4

4

3

8

11

9

8

7

5

4

10

14

11

10

9

7

6

12

18

14

12

11

8

7

18

25

21

18

16

13

11

Number of Characters (including spaces)
  • For 5/8” letters (common size), allow 2" of height per line of text, including the Braille translation below.
  • Allow 2x the height of the characters for larger text sizes, plus 1" per line of Braille

NOTE: This is only a guideline. The actual space needed may be more or less depending on the text.

See ANSI/ADA guidelines for more complete information.

Text Requirements

Use simple, sans-serif fonts, in a medium or bold weight. The use of italics, scripts, or other hard-to-read styles is not recommended.

Sample fonts that meet ADA guidelines

  • HELVETICA
  • FUTURA
  • ARIAL
  • TAHOMA
  • FRANKLIN GOTHIC
  • TREBUCHET
  • VERANDA
  • MYRIAD PRO
  • CALIBRI
  • CENTURY GOTHIC
  • Letters and pictograms shall contrast with their background, using either dark on light, or light on dark.
  • The Braille should be positioned directly below the text.
  • Font is all UPPERCASE, sans serif and 5/8” high minimum.

Braille Regulations Quick Reference

Grade II Braille must accompany any text on tactile signs. Unlike Grade I, Grade II is not a “letter for letter” translation of the text; it contains 265 contractions, single characters used to represent whole words or groups of letters. Using accurate translation software is a must. We recommend Duxbury.

Capitalization

All Braille should be lowercase, excluding proper names (“John Smith”), letters which are part of a room number (“105A”), initials, and acronyms or before the first word of sentences. Typically, translation software is case-sensitive so if you type your text as lowercase, then the Braille will be lowercase, and vice versa.

Braille Dot Sizing & Spacing

These are the standard dimensions for Braille from ANSI A117.1 and 2010 ADA Standards.

Dot Height

0.025” to 0.037”

Dot Diameter

0.059” to 0.063”

Spacing between dots

0.090” to 0.100”

Vertical Cell Spacing

0.395” to 0.400”

Horizontal Cell Spacing

0.241” to 0.300”

Dot Shape

Domed or Rounded

Important to Note: Check state laws regarding Braille. Some states, for example California, have their own requirements, which are stricter than these standards.

Reference Chart for USA ADA-Compliant Signage (2010 Standards)

FEATURE

Signs which designate permanent rooms and spaces: room #s, restrooms, exit signs.

Signs which provide direction to or information about functional spaces.

Overhead signs 80” (2030 mm) above the floor.

Tactile Depth

1/32” (0.8 mm) minimum

N/A

N/A

Letter Height

5/8 – 2” (16-51 mm)

Sized to viewing distance

Sized to viewing distance

Letter Type

Uppercase Only

Upper or lowercase

Upper or lowercase

Letter Style

Sans serif * Character width: 55-110% of character height*

Character stroke: 15% max. of character height*

Inter-character spacing: 1/8” (3 mm) min. | 4x stroke max.* 1/16” (1.6 mm) min. for beveled

Sans serif or Serif * Character width: 55-110% of character height*

Character stroke: 10-30% of character height*

Inter-character spacing: 10-35% of character height*

Sans serif * Character width: 55-110% of character height*

Character stroke: 10-30% of character height*

Inter-character spacing: 10-35% of character height*

Conclusion

Today, designers and sign makers have unlimited creative possibilities and design options for ADA-compliant signage. A sign can now be 100% ADA-compliant with the added potential to fit into a building’s overall design and aesthetic appeal.

Though the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires adherence to specific rules, ADA signage is not difficult to create and can be made using most of the equipment that sign makers already have.

The appeal of the ADA market is demand; ADA signs are required by law, so the need is constant. With a combination of creativity, functionality, and skill, fabricators have a tremendous opportunity for repeat business and a loyal customer base.

For additional information, JPPlus recommends visiting the following websites:

  • Rowmark.comADA Color Contrast Charts, Complete ADA Sign-Making Guide.
  • Access-board.gov – The U.S. Access Board is an independent federal agency whose primary mission is accessibility for people with disabilities.
  • Ansi.org – ANSI, the American National Standards Institute, provides the latest in national standards.
  • ADA.gov – Department of Justice, ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act website.
  • Ada.gov/taman3.html – Americans with Disabilities Act Title III Technical Assistance Manual.

 

 

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