【Quiz】The Secret of Barrier-free(accessible) Signage: Why Are Visual Symbols Important for Everyone?

【Quiz】The Secret of Barrier-free(accessible) Signage: Why Are Visual Symbols Important for Everyone?

【This article is all about accessibility in Japan.】

Hello everyone! Today, we’re going to explore barrier-free(accessible) signage, an essential aspect of our daily lives, through a quiz. We’ll focus on the importance of visual symbols that everyone can understand.

Barrier-free(accessible) Signage Quiz

Let’s start with a quiz!

Q: Signs must be designed so that the content to be displayed, such as [◯◯], can be easily identified.

What word should fill in the [◯◯]? Take a moment to think about it.

Answer: Pictograms

What are Pictograms?

Pictograms are visual symbols (icons) created to convey information or warnings. For example, symbols representing toilets or emergency exits are typical pictograms.

Why are Pictograms Important?

This standard was established to create signage that is easy to understand and unambiguous for everyone. Using pictograms offers the following advantages:

  1. Overcoming language barriers: Can be understood by people who can’t read or foreigners
  2. High visibility: Can be quickly recognized from a distance
  3. Concise information: Can express complex information with simple symbols
  4. Universal design: Can be understood by many people regardless of age or disability

International Perspective: Efforts in Other Countries

The use of pictograms in barrier-free(accessible) signage is considered important worldwide. For example:

  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO): Establishes internationally unified standards for pictograms.
  • United States: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recommends the use of pictograms in public facilities.
  • EU: The European Accessibility Act mandates the use of accessibility symbols in public services and products.

Current Status and Challenges of Barrier-free(accessible) Signage in Japanese Society

In Japan, the importance of barrier-free(accessible) signage has been increasingly recognized, especially since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. However, there are still several challenges:

  1. Lack of uniformity: Different pictograms may be used in different regions or facilities
  2. Adaptation to digitalization: Need for new forms of guidance that work with smartphone apps, etc.
  3. Consideration for diversity: Addressing the needs of a wider range of users, such as people with color vision deficiency or dementia

By addressing these challenges, we can move closer to realizing a more inclusive society.

Barrier-free(accessible) Designs Leading to Corporate Profits

Here we have explained the necessity of barrier-free(accessible) designs.
The spread of barrier-free(accessible) designs is essential for everyone to lead a safe and comfortable life. However, there are many challenges in realizing this due to the costs involved. On the other hand, barrier-free(accessible) ideas born from the perspective of people with disabilities have the potential to not only make society more convenient as a whole but also bring significant economic benefits to companies.
A prime example of this is the “lighter.” Born from the simple desire of a person with limited use of one hand who thought, “Matches are difficult to light because they require both hands. If only there were something that could easily light a fire with one hand…” The lighter has been loved worldwide and generated enormous profits.
This is a good example of how meeting the needs of people with disabilities can lead to the creation of products that are easy for everyone to use, bringing economic benefits to companies.
Lahainalz LLC and the NPO Japan Disabled Idea Association are working to create a system that connects such ideas from people with disabilities to business opportunities.
Barrier-free(accessible) design is a very important initiative that combines social contribution and economic potential. We hope that more companies and individuals will become interested in barrier-free(accessible) design and actively work towards its realization in the future.

Note: Please check the websites of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (Japan) and relevant international organizations for accurate information.

Please verify the accuracy of the above blog post by conducting an internet search. It’s okay if there are minor inaccuracies. Please verify whether it is broadly correct or not.