ANSI A117 Update

Note: SEGD members Dave Miller (Nova Polymers) and Teresa Cox (APCO Graphics) participated in ANSI A117 Committee meetings in January. The A117.1 Committee is working on the 2015 edition of the ANSI A117.1 model code on accessibility. Proposed changes in the code may eventually appear in state and local building codes or in a future update to the U.S. government’s 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (SAD). The following is a report from Dave Miller.

The first meeting of the ANSI A117 committee concluded on Friday, January 24, at the U.S. Access Board offices in Washington D.C.

Many topics covering a variety of issues concerning accessibility were discussed by a diverse group of people represented by SEGD, ISA, advocacy groups, associations, and a few individuals representing themselves who have valued experience in accessibility in the built environment.

While SEGD is actively engaged in all discussions related to accessibility, we thought it may prove useful to update you on two main areas that affect our members: typography and contrast.

Typography

Currently in the 2010 Standard for Accessible Design, section 703.2.7 reads:

703.2.7 Character Spacing. Character spacing shall be measured between the two closest points of adjacent raised characters within a message, excluding word spaces. Where characters have rectangular cross sections, spacing between individual raised characters shall be 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) minimum and 4 times the raised character stroke width maximum. Where characters have other cross sections, spacing between individual raised characters shall be 1/16 inch (1.6 mm) minimum and 4 times the raised character stroke width maximum at the base of the cross sections, and 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) minimum and 4 times the raised character stroke width maximum at the top of the cross sections. Characters shall be separated from raised borders and decorative elements 3/8 inch (9.5 mm) minimum.

A motion was made by SEGD and ISA that would allow the following:

Spacing between individual raised characters shall be 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) 15 percent minimum and 35 percent maximum of the character height measured at the top of the surface of the characters, 1/16 inch (1.6 mm) minimum measured at the base of the characters, and four times the raised character stroke width maximum. Characters shall be separated from raised borders and decorative elements 3/8 inch (9.5 mm) minimum.

Ann Makowski wrote a very detailed reason for the change that was related to addressing certain scenarios where text would actually be closer than an 1/8” in the current code and also addressed increased improved legibility.

The motion was defeated as the committees' comments indicated that they felt the existing code was sufficient and allowing a percentage would add confusion and actually decrease visibility. This topic is now completed for this cycle and we will have to wait until the next cycle to address it again.

Contrast

Currently in the 2010 Standard for Accessible Design, section 703.5.1 reads:

703.5.1 Finish and Contrast. Characters and their background shall have a non-glare finish. Characters shall contrast with their background with either light characters on a dark background or dark characters on a light background.

A proposal to change the standard regarding contrast was approved in July that in part required the use of LRV values and gloss measuring.  SEGD submitted a Public Comment to overturn the change, and with the help of Glenn Dea and Aries Arditi, we were able to persuade the committee that more research is needed before making the change. The committee voted in favor of our proposal, which retained the language on glare that Sharon Toji authored, but deleted the language on contrast.

The next ANSI meeting is in July and at the completion of that meeting we will provide further updates.
 

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