Digital signage systems are becoming more popular among organizations of all sizes for marketing and administration. Providing easy access to digital signage solutions is no longer a luxury as digitalization becomes the standard in businesses.
According to the research on ADA lawsuit data from 2022, there were 2,387 website accessibility lawsuits, with significant corporations in the Consumer Goods, Services, and Retail sectors as the targets. Statistics like these show that despite the need for ADA compliance for displays and digital content, many businesses fail to do so.
Businesses should place a premium on accessibility to create products that users of all abilities can enjoy. Here's when ADA comes in handy.
ADA Compliance Basics
Digital signage should meet ADA standards to ensure they are accessible to everyone. Under the ADA, people with disabilities get equal access to all amenities of public life. Many public places now use digital signs to communicate with visitors, employees, and passers-by. However, what should happen if someone with low vision encounters a sign that they cannot read? What if, for instance, a wheelchair user can't use a touchscreen? What are the specifications for ADA-compliant signage? In particular, these problems may affect visitors' satisfaction, the efficacy of internal communications, the likelihood of legal action, and financial gains.
Defining ADA Compliance
The ADA uses the phrase "easily achievable." Put another way, if you can make your building ADA compliant "without much effort or expense," then you should make the necessary changes. If you don't, you're breaking the law and might face consequences. Your organization may qualify for grants or explore other cost-cutting measures if the total cost is much higher. "reasonable accommodation" is crucial to the ADA's overall concept. It implies that persons with disabilities have the same opportunities for participation in procedures as those without impairments. You are responsible for providing the means for everyone to have access to the same content.
Why ADA Compliance Matters for Digital Signage
The Americans with Impairments Act (ADA) ensures that people with impairments have the same freedoms and opportunities as everyone else. Think about how difficult it would be for someone with low vision to read the train timetable on a digital sign with tiny font and numbers. If this individual couldn't read the train timetable, they wouldn't know when or where to catch their train.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 12 million Americans aged 40 and over have some visual impairment. In reality, one in every seven individuals has a disability. In other words, they feel discriminated against when signs don't cater to their demands.
Some people could disagree with this fact, but there's also another perspective. As a company or organization owner, do you want to cut out a significant portion of your customer base because they can't see your signs? Even worse, there is a potential $75,000 punishment for failing to follow ADA regulations concerning signage.
The growth of the digital signage market indicates several advantages. However, if your signage is unclear, you risk losing potential customers. If you get a lawsuit, the cost to alter or replace the signs might be substantial. A confluence of factors calls for ADA compliance in all forms of signage, including digital displays. All businesses would be well to pay attention since doing so has legal, communicative, and economic benefits.
ADA Requirements for Digital Signage
Aiming towards ADA compliance is a good goal for digital signage. Here are the ADA's rules that all companies have to adhere to or face fines. Companies should follow several regulations that vary by location. When designing digital signage displays, keep in mind the following factors:
Digital signage displays need readable, large type, at least 12 points wide. The best color contrast between the text and background is a ratio of 3:1. You should also use Times New Roman, Helvetica, and Cabri as some of the few ADA-compliant typefaces on digital displays for optimal legibility. The American Disabilities Act (ADA) suggests a text height between 5/8 and 2 inches. You should avoid elements that flash or change color. For ADA compliance, you will also require Grade 2 braille signs with a minimum of 38-inch clearance on all sides.
ADA suggests that all videos provide transcripts and closed captions. All digital displays should include Audio explanations of visual aspects for the benefit of those with visual impairments. There should also be support for assistive listening devices in digital signage displays.
Interactive and Touchscreen Signage
Digital displays should allow people with impairments to successfully use touch screens and gesture controls to meet ADA guidelines. Likewise, as assistive technology, digital displays should allow for alternative input methods, including voice commands, switches, and joysticks.
Implementing ADA Compliance in Digital Signage
Today's fast-paced society relies heavily on digital signs. Digital signage is becoming more prevalent in public spaces such as airports, retail centers, hospitals, schools, and universities. It is essential, however, that digital signage become accessible to people of all abilities. Find out how you can implement ADA-compliant digital signage to make your space more welcoming to everyone.
Design and Content Considerations
A minimum of 70% contrast is essential when creating content, and your typefaces should be legible. Consider how it might seem to someone who is visually impaired or how they would be able to use it. Also very useful are pictograms and well-recognized icons. People have become used to seeing them and understanding their significance. They're more comfortable on the eyes and take up less visual real estate in your designs, making them more accessible to persons with visual impairments.
The need for accessible routes is one of the most often discussed ADA regulations. In addition to the many businesses that focus on producing compliant wayfinding signs, you can also make your wayfinding interactive by including many of the criteria above and recommendations. The good thing is that, for certain buildings, you may satisfy two ADA guidelines at once by installing a touchscreen that serves as both a directory and a navigation tool. Remember that impaired users should still be part of the screen's layout.
The more resources you give individuals access to, the better off they'll be. Remember that not all impairments are visible or even physical; persons with autism, for instance, may have difficulty communicating with others. Finally, there is something that isn't technically ADA, but you should consider it anyway: different languages. A great method to make people feel at home and included is to provide crucial messaging in different languages or a touchscreen hotspot that can alter the language of the UI.
Regular Audits and Testing
You can easily modify digital signs in ways that traditional signage cannot. As a result, you will be in a stronger position if and when you need to do audits or test if everything is ADA-compliant. To be more specific, digital signage is well suited for accommodating such variations as the ADA laws may require in the future. The same logic applies to your signage; ensure it's set up so everyone can read it.
Implementing ADA compliance for your digital signage
Businesses and groups increasingly turn to digital signage solutions to expand their operations. To achieve this goal, companies should use digital signage systems that are both appealing and easily accessible. Noncompliance with the ADA's display criteria may result in substantial fines and penalties for government and commercial organizations. In addition to potential legal consequences, the cost of neglecting accessibility might include alienating a sizable portion of the target audience and suffering reputational harm. Businesses can only profit from ensuring their services are accessible to all customers; thus, they should adhere to ADA compliance rules.