Braille Signage

When it comes to ADA signs that have Braille on them (or Braille signage, as some people call it), the dots that you see on these are not the ones that some people regularly see. You will find that when you search online, there are different kinds of Braille that are used by people with visual impairments – there is grade 1, grade 2, and grade 3 Braille. What is being used on ADA signs is grade 2 Braille.

What most people are probably familiar with is grade 1 Braille, which is the kind that has the letters of the alphabet translated in different sets of dots. You can spell words, names, and whatever you want with this kind of Braille, only that if you need to spell out something that is rather long, you will also have a long line of dots to write or create. Grade 2 Braille, on the other hand, is a contracted form of this tactile tool. This is what signs use.

Grade 2 Braille is called a space-saving version of the tactile dots that you see on these ADA signs. These dots are called space-saving because these are contracted, or are dots that translate not letters but syllables. The more commonly used syllables are in this particular type of Braille, and this is used to make reading easier and faster. This is the main reason why this particular type of Braille is used on signage.

This Braille type also has whole words translated into dots, like the more commonly used words but, more, not, people, and so on. Part word contractions and the more commonly used prefixes as well as suffixes like ing, er, in and st are also part of the list of dots that are in this particular type of Braille. You can easily combine the contracted dots into words by putting them together in one line.

This also another reason why grade 2 Braille is used on ADA Braille signage, and that is to help save space. Imagine needing to write long lines of Braille on signs that carry room names or a person’s name on it. This will require a bigger sign for you to put such a translation on. With the use of the contracted form, you can easily fit what is needed on the sign without having to expand it too much, and while still following the rules needed for dot size, dot spacing, and Braille translation placement.

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