Creating accessible digital signs

Digital signs have the potential to engage, inform, and inspire. Brands have an opportunity to leave a lasting memory if the customer has a positive experience. If you are planning to develop a digital sign ecosystem, be sure to build in strategies to support interactions for people with visual, hearing, or physical impairments. People with disabilities are about 15 percent of the global population, according to a World Health Organization report.  

Making sure your content can add value for everyone in your audience is part of developing an “audience-driven” approach to your digital signs. Creating a digital sign ecosystem full of audience-driven content is challenging but can have a major impact on long-term brand recognition and growth. In this post, we will suggest design principles to keep in mind when creating your digital sign network.  

Smart placement of signs 

It is a no brainer that signs need to be placed where they can be seen, but they also need to be positioned where they can be accessed by individuals who are sitting or standing.  

In the past twenty years or so, principles of “universal design” have started to take shape. The principles are based on the premise that today’s inaccessible built environments are primarily the result of inattention to the needs of special needs users, not realistic cost considerations, and that properly designed built environments have the power to cost-effectively serve a much wider range of users than today’s.  

There are seven fundamental principles of “universal design” to follow. 

  1. Equitable use 

  2. Flexibility in use 

  3. Simple and intuitive use 

  4. Perceptible information 

  5. Tolerance of error 

  6. Low physical effort 

  7. Size and space for approach and use  

Some of the practical applications of these ideas-  

Height of the sign: make sure individuals utilizing wheelchairs can access the interface in an effective way, including interactive buttons on the bottom of the sign.  

Traffic: The sign should also be placed in a location that has ample room for people to interact with it without interrupting the flow of foot traffic.  

Stable surface: it is considered a best practice to have a 4 foot radius of flat space around the sign for comfortable approach and use  



Provide multiple ways to intake the information 

Learning happens best when it is multi-sensory. Presenting the same information in a variety of formats (text, visual, and audio) will give your audience a greater chance of remembering what you are trying to tell them.  

For example, you might have a written recipe explaining how to bake an apple crisp, an infographic illustrating the process, and an audio recording of someone reading the text.  

Including resources that people can listen to rather than read will help individuals with visual or learning impairments. Additionally, signs need to have a significant contrast between the text and the background so older eyes and color blind individuals will be able to read it. 


Provide translated materials, if possible 

Depending on your audience, it might make sense to invest in translated audio recordings or translated text of the material for the digital sign. 

MediaVue has helped customers create a solution for their customers that allowed every single sign to be changes between multiple different language offerings to engage a wider variety of viewers.  

The Bottom Line 

Digital signs are only effective if you engage your audience effectively. International research shows around 15 percent of the global population deals with a physical, visual, hearing, or learning impairment. Effective digital sign ecosystems include supports to engage individuals who are less able to benefit from traditional signs.  

There are tons of resources available to inspire accessible design. We have only just started to scratch the surface here. We encourage you to work with an accessibility auditor to analyze your content at a deeper level. 

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