ADA signs are just one of the many considerations that the Americans with Disabilities Act mandates be implemented by what are called “public accommodations”. These signs, along with other accessibility options, are to be provided by businesses and establishments that are accessed by the public. The reason why such accessibility options like ramps and elevators are needed by such buildings and businesses is to provide people with disabilities the chance to access these establishments as easily as other people without disabilities.

The alterations and additions needed on these buildings, along with the removal of certain obstacles that may cause injuries or make it difficult for people with disabilities to move around, is found in the ADAAG. Along with these are the regulations that have to be followed for signage installed both inside and outside these establishments. Called ADA signage, these are subject to a variety of guidelines, depending on where these are to be used and for what purpose.

One of the sign types that your business may need to help it become compliant with ADA standards is Braille signage. These signs are usually those that are used to mark permanent rooms and offices. Rooms like bathrooms, kitchens, conference rooms and the like need to carry not only tactile letters on them but a translation of the same message in grade 2 Braille directly underneath it.

Some people may wonder why Grade 2 Braille is required on these signs and may even ask why not use Grade 1 Braille instead. For those who do not know what the difference is, here is a small primer. Braille is a writing system that people with vision impairments can easily read and understand with their sense of touch. Grade 1 Braille is essentially just the alphabet translated into this series of dots. It is called the uncontracted Braille. This is often used by people who are just beginning to learn how to read with the use of these dots. This is composed of the 26 letters of the alphabet and punctuations.

Braille Used on Braille Signage

Grade 2 Braille is a more advanced form of the Grade 1 set. Although this still contains the 26 letters and the punctuations that are in the primary set, it also carries contractions. These are used to shorten text written using Braille and carry some of the more commonly used words in the English language. With Braille being bulkier than regular letters of the alphabet, this grade is used so that more text will fit in the space that is provided for.

Hence the use of Grade 2 Braille on ADA signs. Except for numbers, Braille signage carries on it contracted forms of Braille to make the messages on these fit in the small space provided for it under the tactile letters on the sign. These are added onto ADA signs to give people with vision impairments the chance to read the signs with their fingers, if they know how to read Braille.