Clearing Our Path

Creating accessible environments ­for people with vision loss

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Home > Design Needs > Exteriors and Interiors > Security systems

Card, Keypad and Other Security Systems

Security card access locks for a building should be placed on the latch side of a door at a height of 900 mm from the ground surface. They should be colour contrasted with the surrounding area, and the slot should be illuminated or colour contrasted from the mounting plate.

The security card itself should be a distinctive colour or texture.

A person with vision loss using a security card should be able to feel how the card is to be inserted into the lock to open it. For instance, cutting the left corner of the card at a 45-degree angle or punching a hole at the corner tells the cardholder which way is up.

Proximity cards are becoming increasingly common. These can greatly improve accessibility for people with vision loss, as there is no wrong way to swipe the card. As long as the card is within the detectable range of the door lock, the card will function.

In addition to clear visual indications that a card has successfully triggered, audible indications should be provided.

Keypad door locks should have the same layout as a typical telephone keypad with, at minimum, a tactile indicator located on the number 5. Avoid heat-sensitive touch pads, which can be difficult to use for people with vision loss. Keypads should follow the Canadian Standards Association’s “Accessible Design for Self-Service Interactive Devices” document, CAN/CSA-B651.2-07. It’s available through the ShopCSA website.

A signal intended for the public to indicate that a building security system is operating should be visual as well as audible.