In a building or space, it can sometimes be difficult – especially on a first visit – to work out which facilities or features are available, and their locations. Few users of a space or building would have advance knowledge of what facilities have been provided.
The value and utility of good signage in a building or space lies not just in conveying information to an end user, but also in providing reassurance and confidence for that end user that they have indeed arrived at the right spot.
Conversely, poor identification signage, or a lack of signage altogether, might do little to aid user, especially if they already happened to be lost.
All of this would be as applicable to users with sensory impairment – such as vision or hearing loss – as it would be for everyone else.
The Building Code of Australia (‘BCA’) and the federal DDA Premises Standards 2010 contain a raft of minimum code prescriptions with respect to accessible identification signage, including – amongst other things – the provision of Braille and raised text.
Beyond simple compliance with the code, though, the following considerations can assist in providing additional guidance and reassurance for users.
Consistency of style and content. Having consistent content for the relevant facilities and consistent visual stylings in signage can reduce the need for users to have to reinterpret signs for similar things each time – meaning that they can comfortably know what to expect.
Provision of clear information on the availability of dedicated facilities and features. For example, a particular user might be specifically seeking information on the availability of hearing augmentation, or female ambulant toilets. If effort and expense has been expended on installing such facilities to begin with, it would make sense for their availability to be made known to the users that would benefit from them.
Provision of clear directions on how and where to obtain more assistance. A user may require further assistance if, for example, a piece of equipment in a building is defective, or if they need guidance on how that equipment works. Good signage practice would provide direction for those users as to how or where to seek assistance. In addition, general staff assistance could be provided at key points in a building or space, such as at the main entrance of a building or space.