ADA Requirements for Displays: Ensuring Digital Signage Compliance

Various ADA signage compliance considerations for individuals with disabilities


Small and large businesses are increasingly turning to digital signage solutions for promotional and internal management tasks. As digitization is becoming the norm in organizations, ensuring the accessibility of digital signage solutions is not an afterthought anymore.

As per the 2022 ADA lawsuit statistics report, an astonishing 2,387 website accessibility lawsuits were filed with major companies targeted in the Consumer Goods, Services & Retail sectors. These numbers prove that companies often forget to adhere to the ADA requirements for displays, websites or otherwise.

To make digital experiences delightful for everyone, companies need to prioritize accessibility in design. And that’s where ADA comes into the picture.

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),and why does it matter?

The ADA signage compliance guidelines are in place to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to information and functionality as individuals without disabilities. Title III of the ADA covers private accommodation, including but not limited to private businesses such as restaurants and schools.

ADA non-compliance can result in a civil penalty of up to $75,000 for a first-time violation and a maximum fine of $150,000 for subsequent violations.

( Why should companies care? To avoid lawsuits and penalties, yes, but also to create a brand that customers trust. Businesses that care about inclusivity and accessibility expand their customer base and build a good reputation.)

ADA Requirements for Digital Displays

Digital signage displays should strive to be ADA-compliant. Below are the ADA guidelines that businesses should follow to avoid penalties. There are specific guidelines that companies should follow as per their jurisdiction. Some critical considerations for the accessibility of digital signage displays include:

1. Visual Accessibility Considerations

  • The text for digital signage displays should be large and clear with a maximum 12-point width. The text should contrast well against the background, ideally with a color ratio of 3:1.

  • For maximum readability, Digital displays should use ADA-approved fonts such as Times New Roman, Helvetica, and Cabri.

  • The ADA recommended size range for text height is 5/8 – 2 inches.

  • Rapidly changing or flashing elements should be avoided.

  • ADA-compliant braille signs must be Grade 2 with a minimum of ⅜ inch clearance on all sides.

2. Auditory Accessibility Considerations

A boy looking at a digital display showing closed captions for video content.
  • ADA recommends including transcription and closed captions for video content

  • Digital displays should include audio descriptions for visual elements to assist individuals with visual impairments.

  • Digital signage displays should be compatible with assistive listening technology.

3. Interactive Accessibility Considerations

  • To comply with ADA requirements for touch screens, digital displays should be designed so that individuals with disabilities can use touch screen and gesture-based controls effectively.

  • Digital displays should have provisions for alternate input methods such as voice commands, switches, and joysticks as assistive technology.

4. Physical Placement Requirements

A woman in a wheelchair and a woman without any disability using accessibly designed kiosks.

Image source: Vision-Box

  • The ADA recommends the height placement of digital displays where individuals using wheelchairs can view and interact with the system.

  • The displays should not obstruct the pathways of individuals with disabilities.

5. Display System Navigation

  • The digital system menus should be intuitive and easily accessible with clear instructions.

  • Companies should maintain design consistency across their digital signage displays to aid users.

Final Thoughts

Companies and organizations are increasingly adopting digital signage systems to scale their operations. In doing so, businesses need to rely on digital signage solutions that are equally delightful and accessible. Government and private organizations must follow the ADA requirements for displays, where non-compliance can mean hefty fines and penalties. Apart from legal ramifications, the cost of ignoring accessibility can involve leaving out a significant market segment of customers and a damaged reputation. Thus, companies should follow ADA signage compliance guidelines as they only benefit from making their services inclusive and accessible to everyone.

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Ishika Dhawan

Ishika writes for Pickcel. Her writing intersects where consumer behavior and business meet. When she is not writing for Pickcel, she is thinking about the deeper meaning of life and analyzing a sitcom or two.

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