A new section of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) came into force in October 2004. The new regulations are mandatory for service providers. Any information signs and sign systems that disregard the needs of the partially sighted will be deemed discriminatory. These brief notes will hopefully enable sign buyers to comply with the Act, make their signs more readable for everyone and in many cases cheaper too.
The theme of the new Act is very much about noticeability and comfortable readability by partially sighted people, but by everyone else as well. Readability comes before image. The following principles should be taken on board by anyone specifying a sign or sign system:
Further information on the Act can be obtained from the Disability Rights Commission website for general information or from the JMU handbook for sign specific information.
Location Try to locate signs where possible away from where idle hands congregate.
Height above ground Is it high enough to be out of harms way? I always reckon on having the bottom of the sign 8 feet above foot level. Most grafitti writers are too lazy to overcome such an obstacle.
Laminating It is only practical to laminate small signs. I won't laminate beyond 4' long and 18'' wide. It does add to the cost. I charge an additional 15%. You cannot modify a laminated sign at a later date, so beware if names or phone numbers may change over time. On the plus side, laminating does give a quality impression and makes it easier to get graffiti off.Minimising Vandal damage
Back Support It's harder to break a sign if it's back is flush with a wall. Signs in frames or signs set off from the wall with studs not only cost more; they are a lot more likely to fracture when hit by a brick.
Materials It's a lot easier to break a sign made of PVC foamboard than one of acrylic, polycarbonate or aluminium. Correx should only be used for small temporary signs (estate boards, event signage etc.) as a bend is a break and the sign is useless. When using acrylic for boards, spend the little extra to have cast acrylic instead of extruded acrylic. I never use extruded acrylic. It is too easy to shatter.
Fixings When drilling the board to fix to the wall, don't drill too near to the corners.
Jointing of large signs When putting two signs together, try to put support at the joint, especially on long sided joints (over 18'') or if using boards of less than 5mm