Don’t Put Braille on Toilet Room Doors!
A common mistake in ADA signage projects is putting the ADA required Braille on the door face. Of course it doesn’t take long to figure out why this is a problem. Imagine a sight impaired person feeling the face of a door to read the accessibility signage… and then to have somebody open the door at the same time. At the very least it would be an awkward face-to-face encounter, at the worst; it would result in a sight-impaired person needing medical care from getting a door opened into their face.
It is important to separate the two different accessibility signage requirements at toilet room doors.
1. Signage indicating accessible facilities:
Section 1115B.6 of the 2010 California Building Code requires the triangle or circle symbol to be placed on the actual toilet room door face (no Braille). This let’s those with disabilities know that this particular toilet room is indeed accessible. It is understood that these symbols on the door face are useful to those with sight.
2. Signage for the sight-impaired:
Section 1117B.5 of the California Building Code requires a sign next to a door into a room to be posted that states the room name and to have it also written in Braille below the text. The sight impaired community is taught to feel for a door handle, and then to feel for Braille signage at the handle-side of the door on the wall next to the door at a height of 5’-0” off the ground. This will allow them to read that it is a “Men’s Toilet Room” for example.
Some well-intentioned people try to combine these two separate requirements and put Braille on the door face underneath the circle/triangle symbol…which doesn’t work as we have already noted.
There are certainly still going to be awkward moments as the sight impaired work their way through a building; but we all can make it a little easier on them by not placing Braille on the door face.