“Accessible design” refers to a design where the needs of people with disabilities are both considered and accommodated. A key goal of accessible design is to allow people with a variety of disabilities to independently access, use and navigate your space.
Under Australian law, some elements of accessible design are mandatory for different buildings. However, even if you’re not required to ensure accessibility at your premises, there are many benefits to choosing to incorporate it anyway.
To begin with, accessible design can help you attract and retain clients and talented employees who require certain design elements for accessibility. A focus on accessibility for your office or building also sends a positive message about your corporate values and your attitude towards inclusivity.
And it makes your building safer and frees up everyone’s time, as those with a disability are able to operate independently or with minimal assistance. Below are a few examples of accessible design for people with visual impairments.
Accessible signage is the most obvious aspect of accessible design for people with visual impairments. Braille signs can be used in lifts and toilets to make them easier to navigate and use. Braille can also be useful on signage that provides visual directions to different rooms and offices or to exits.
Braille signs should be located no less than 1,200mm and no higher than 1,600mm above the floor. This is in keeping with relevant Australian standards and allows for people of varying heights – including those in wheelchairs – to easily access the information provided on the sign.
In some cases, providing additional information via auditory means can be both practical and helpful. For example, lifts that announce the floor they have arrived at provide an auditory indicator for people who cannot read the numbers on the screen. Tactile ground surface indicators (those bumps on flooring, footpaths and other ground surfaces - i.e railway stations) may also be appropriate to help people with visual impairments navigate and stay safe around your premises.
Getting accessibility “right” by ensuring you meet any relevant standards and provide aides that are actually helpful is easier than you may think.
At Premis Solutions, we keep on top of relevant rules, standards and legislation to ensure we can help you get accessibility “right”. We can also apply our knowledge to help you go above and beyond the minimal requirements if desired.
To discuss how your premises can better incorporate accessible design for people with a visual impairment or other disability, contact us today on 1300 773 647.