Interior wayfinding signage plays an essential role in helping people visually navigate around a building, but how can a signage strategy also incorporate the needs of customers with visual impairment?
In this article, we discuss the diverse types of visual impairment, the kinds of issues that each customer could face, and how to consider the needs of visually impaired customers in your internal wayfinding signage.
Persons with visual impairments face several challenges when navigating physical and digital spaces. From not being able to identify objects to difficulty reading certain text or identifying colours, people with visual impairments require special accommodations to ensure they can navigate your premises with ease.
There are three main types of visual impairment:
Low vision or partial blindness is defined as a significant decrease in visual acuity or field of view, while colour blindness is a condition whereby an individual has difficulty perceiving certain colours and shades. Blindness involves the total or partial loss of vision and severely affects an individual’s ability to see any details or recognise objects or scenes.
The most common form of visual impairment is ‘red-green colour blindness,’ which affects how the person sees colours and contrasts. Someone affected by this condition might find it difficult to differentiate between certain shades such as green and yellow or blue and purple, making it difficult to read text on internal wayfinding signage or identify objects on maps. The customer may also have difficulty distinguishing between light and dark shades, making navigation around the building more challenging and stressful.
For someone who is blind, navigating physical spaces can be extremely difficult as he or she cannot rely on sight alone for guidance. This means that building owners need to think about signage solutions that go beyond traditional wayfinding designs.
When designing wayfinding signage for visually impaired customers, contrasting wayfinding colours against the signage background is essential for people with low vision or colour blindness. Creating tactile maps with written Braille instructions can also make it easier for customers to orient themselves within unfamiliar physical locations.
Incorporate a combination of colours, textures, patterns, and symbols within your designs when designing digital user interfaces to assist those with visual impairments to access your digital displays more easily.
For customers with full or partial blindness, some digital signage displays provide audio feedback through voice guidance systems and inbuilt Bluetooth beacons, so that people can locate specific areas within the building. Another solution for visually impaired people is to wirelessly link your wayfinding signage to their mobile devices, which would allow the device’s voice recognition software to read out where they are.
These solutions provide customers with receive real-time information about their environment while they navigate through physical spaces, giving them greater autonomy over their movements without having to ask for directions.
Visual impairments present unique challenges to customers when finding their way around both physical and digital spaces, but there are signage solutions available to make life easier for visually impaired customers.
Image Source: Unsplash