The International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA) is easy enough to recognize mainly because it comes in a design that has been used for decades. This particular symbol, which shows a blue square with a white stylized graphic of a person in a wheelchair, is a design that was made by Susanne Koefoed in the late 60s. This symbol is used internationally for a number of reasons.

One of the reasons why this symbol is used is to help indicate that access has been improved in an area for people with disabilities, particularly for wheelchair users. Improvements that are often considered ideal for the use of people with disabilities include the removal of steps, which are then replaced by ramps. These improvements are not only for the exclusive use of people with disabilities though. These are also used by the elderly, people with baby strollers and even those who have heavy packages that need to be wheeled up or down the area.

Some of the places where you can find this symbol being used include:

Parking spaces that are reserved for the use of vehicles driven by or conveying disabled passengers

Bathrooms that have facilities that can be used by people in wheelchairs

Entryways that can be accessed easily by people in wheelchairs or people with disabilities

Building ramps, curb ramps, elevators and buttons that open automatic doors

While the International Symbol of Accessibility is generally the blue and white symbol everyone is familiar with, there are some places that do allow the use of slightly varied versions of this pictogram. Some states, like Massachusetts for example, do not require the regular color scheme to be used. As long as the signs follow the 70% contrast rule, it can be considered ADA compliant.

This does not apply to all states though, so it would be wise for you to check out state, as well as local, regulations when you are thinking of straying a bit from the norm. If you find that there is no reason at all for you to shift from the regular pictograms used for compliance, then don’t. After all, these signs are there for people to easily recognize areas of accessibility, and using revised symbols may defeat the purpose of their being there in the first place.