Clearing Our Path

Creating accessible environments ­for people with vision loss

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Design Basics

Designers should consider four fundamental elements when creating built environments to meet the needs of people with vision loss: layout, lighting, colour/brightness contrast, and acoustics.

This section introduces the benefits and potential pitfalls of various planning strategies, as well as the importance of design consistency. Lighting types, styles and placement are reviewed along with concepts for using lighting as a means to support wayfinding and orientation. Colour and brightness contrast is introduced as a critical concept in making environments safer and more usable for everyone, which has a significant impact on many elements within a built environment. The section concludes with the importance of acoustics for individuals with vision loss, and how the acoustic environment impacts usability.

The technical requirements within this section are derived from a number of sources including the National Building Code of Canada, CAN/CSA B651 Accessible design for the built environment, ISO/FDIS 21542 Building Construction - Accessibility and usability of the built environment and ISO 23599 - Assistive products for blind and vision-impaired persons - Tactile walking surface indicators. Please refer to these documents for more complete technical requirements.

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