This section provides recommendations on how to make public spaces, such as swimming pools, gyms, libraries and exhibition halls, barrier-free for people impacted by blindness.

Common safety concerns at public swimming pools for swimmers with blindness include:

  • Finding the edge of the pool
  • Safe movement and orientation within the pool
  • Confusion or discomfort caused by glare reflected off the water

Use a continuous attention TWSI on the pool deck, around the entire perimeter of the pool. It should be 600 – 650 mm wide, and its closest edge should be 1,000 mm from the pool’s edge. This will help people impacted by blindness find the pool safely.

Handrails for ladders that give access to the pool should extend at least 300 mm above the pool deck and contrast in colour and brightness to the surrounding area. Ladders should not project beyond the wall of the pool. They should be recessed into the wall to prevent limbs from being caught behind the ladder’s rails.

Rope-and-float partitions that are colour contrasted to their surroundings will help swimmers orient themselves in the pool.

In indoor swimming pools, use indirect lighting or uplighting to reduce the effects of glare from the water’s surface.

Indirect lighting should also be used in gyms together with non-glare flooring. Designers should be careful when preparing the floor pattern of a gym. School gyms, in particular, can become cluttered with many sets of coloured lines intended for a wide variety of games. Reduce the use of these lines to benefit gym users with blindness.

Equipment rooms should be clearly marked. When considering the door systems for equipment rooms, it’s best when they open into the equipment room itself and not the gym space. This makes them less of a hazard for everyone, and particularly for people impacted by blindness.

Arrange exhibition halls so that all displays are detectable by people using long canes. Further information is provided in the section on protruding objects.

The clear path of travel in exhibition halls should be a minimum of 1,200 mm wide. Low-pile carpeting that contrasts to the surrounding floor surface can be used to indicate the path of travel. The layout of displays and other facilities should be logical and easy to follow. Non-glare finishes should be used in displays. Care should be taken in the position and type of lighting used for an exhibit. There should be sufficient lighting, but it should not produce glare.

In libraries, the Colour and Brightness Contrast principles outlined in this website should be used for the flooring to help people find their way from open areas to bookshelves. Appropriate signage should be posted at the ends of bookshelves to indicate their contents. Further information is provided in the signage section.

Designers should provide spaces for book carts, chairs, step stools and other objects so that they do not create obstructions in the clear path of travel. For instance, bookshelves could include a space where footstools can be stored when not in use.