When we hear the term “accessibility,” we often think of those in wheelchairs. We sometimes forget that there are other disabilities which create accessibility challenges for individuals. The blind and visually impaired are a prime example. Not only do they struggle with accessing buildings, they also have difficulty navigating unfamiliar spaces. There are a number of things you can do as a building owner to make your property more accessible to the blind and visually impaired. Here are some accessibility tips.
Not only is it law that signage must be appropriate for the blind, it is simply the right thing to do. Signs should be tactile with raised lettering and/or include braille. Blind people must be able to use their hands to read the information on your signs. This is extremely important for wayfinding in unfamiliar areas. Without proper signage, these people can become lost. In order to make your property accessible to the blind and visually impaired, you must provide appropriate signage.
Stairs and steps
Stairs create a unique challenge for the blind and visually impaired. You can help by lining the lip of each step with brightly colored paint or material. This helps the visually impaired determine where each step is located. If you have an unusual lip or step into a room, do the same by adding color to make it stand out. Depth perception is often lost for the visually impaired, so this will assist them in determining distance and depth of steps.
Your walkways and hallways should be clear of clutter. This includes furniture or equipment that you may be storing in hallways. These create unnecessary obstacles for the blind and visually impaired. Clearing all walkways and hallways provides these people with an unobstructed path. Additionally, arrange furniture in sitting areas in a logical manner that provides easy access. Art and decor should remain on the walls, not in the floor or in frequently traveled areas.
The tips above will help you provide a safe and accessible environment for the blind and visually impaired. It is difficult for the sighted to truly understand the challenges these people face. Anything we can do to make buildings easier to navigate is much appreciated. Some of these suggestions are laws and others are recommendation. Contact us for more information and assistance. Our professionals are very knowledgeable in this field and are happy help.