Clearing Our Path

Creating accessible environments ­for people with vision loss

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Design Needs

Design Basics

Exteriors and Interiors

Exterior Design Elements

Interior Design Elements

Tactile Maps and Pre-Recorded Instructions

Tactile maps or pre-recorded instructions can help people with vision loss find their way independently in complex buildings or groups of buildings. There are two main types of tactile maps: large-scale maps that provide information about the general layout, and small hand-held maps that give specific route information.

A tactile directory and map located on an inclined podium featuring braille and tactile lettering. The map incorporates colour and shape coding to identify key elements and routes. The directory also provides audio information through the push of a button.

Maps that include a considerable amount of information sometimes incorporate one or more of the following design elements:

Tactile maps or pre-recorded instructions should be available at a building’s main entrance or reception area. They could also be sent to visitors upon request prior to their arrival.

Another strategy to assist people with vision loss better understand the layout of a facility is to make maps and route descriptions available on a company website. This allows individuals to print the map in advance and enhance the map’s accessibility as required (e.g., magnification and other screen-reading technologies). A route description should accompany any downloadable maps and the instructions should be formatted using CNIB’s Clear Print guidelines. Maps can be downloaded in advance and used to navigate the building on site using a printout or a text-to-speech application on a smartphone.