Question: I’m so embarrassed! I thought I knew every 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) change, but changes to design guidelines for interior sign height caught me off guard. I had to correct someone on my punch list review when I realized the error. Please address this so your other readers don’t make the same mistake. -- Aubrey, Miss.

Answer: I made the same mistake! As closely as I studied the updates, I realized the change only when questioning a sign’s height. Here’s the scoop.

1994 Accessibility Guidelines  2010 Accessibility Guidelines
 4.30.6 Mounting Location and Height
Where permanent identification is provided for rooms and spaces:
  • Place signs on wall next to latch side of the door. If there’s no space, including at double-leaf doors, place sign on nearest adjacent wall.
  • Mounting height: 60 inches above floor to sign centerline.
  • Mounting location: a person may come within 3 inches without encountering protruding objects or standing within the swing of a door.
703.4.1 Height Above Finish Floor or Ground
Tactile characters on signs shall be located:
  • Min. 48 inches above floor or surface (measured from baseline of lowest tactile character), and
  • Max. 60 inches above floor or surface (measured from baseline of highest tactile character).
  • Exception: Tactile characters for elevator car controls.

Click here for other details regarding signage.

 This graphic is from the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (USFAS) Retrofit Manual.

The U.S. Access Board recently posted an animation that explains these and other design considerations. Click here for more information.