Signage and wayfinding

Key requirements

Consideration should be given to the four main criteria in wayfinding design as follows:

  • architectural cues
  • graphic communication
  • audible communication
  • tactile communication.

Consideration should also be given to provision of the four main categories of graphic wayfinding elements including:

  • identification
  • reinforcement
  • orientation
  • destination.

General access requirements for all signage

  • Work within a hierarchy of signage to maximise impact and usability as follows:
  • identification - property, building number, name visible from the roadside, distance of travel
  • information - opening hours, facilities available, for example, toilets, picnic areas; located directly inside site or building entrance
  • direction - text and arrows directing users to facilities, for example, at directional decision points, car parking, set down and waiting areas
  • emergency and safety signs - at various locations including emergency exits.
  • Appropriate print size on all signs suitable for expected viewing distances.
  • A range of alternatives to printed signage only, for example, audio, raised tactile and Braille.

General access requirements for static signage

  • Appropriately located at entry to and along continuous accessible paths of travel.
  • Clearly visible to people when standing or seated.
  • Consistent graphic style and layout throughout a site or building.
  • Appropriate use of international symbols of access or deafness.
  • Concise and unambiguous content.
  • Use of common terms, names, colours rather than obscure, technical names, for example, orange, blue, brown rather than ochre, turquoise or beige.
  • Use of appropriate inclusive language, ‘accessible’ entry or ramp in preference to ‘disabled’ entry or ramp.
  • Factual and specific information about degrees of difficulty of pathways in outdoor spaces such as parks, suitable for tourist, experienced hiker, assisted wheelchair user and independent wheelchair user.
  • Capital and lower case letters (Title Case).
  • Use of Sans Serif font, Arial or Helvetica.
  • Effective contrast between sign and sign background and adjacent surfaces.
  • Raised tactile and Braille elements on facility identification and direction signs, toilets.
  • Back-lit without glare.
  • Low reflectivity (avoid glass and acrylic materials).
  • Consistent and even lighting (reflected downward - without pooling or providing glare) over key elements within the space.
  • Well maintained and free from any overhanging obstructions and graffiti.

General access requirements for screen and scrolling signage

  • Minimum six second static to allow for reading of sign.
  • Audio alternatives to screen or scrolling signs.

General access requirements for maps

  • Maps of any site or building at the entrance and at key directional points.
  • Maps that read in the direction that the user is facing, including information to assist users with their current location, ‘you are here’ and identifying fixtures or landmarks to assist with wayfinding e.g. water fountain, sculpture and arbour.
  • Continuity of language in informational maps and signage, that is, information map states ‘pavilion’, sign at building states ‘pavilion’.

General access requirements for tactile signs and maps

  • Tactile signs and maps at key points within a building or site.
  • Tactile signs or maps at the main entry to a venue.
  • Tactile information that includes general orientation cues, access and egress points, changes in direction and key facilities.

General access requirements for display and exhibition signage

  • Descriptive labelling on exhibits in Sans Serif font type and appropriate size.
  • Appropriate lighting.
  • Appropriate contrast to background and adjacent surfaces.
  • Use of non-reflective signage materials.
  • Audio programs as alternatives to signage on displays or exhibits.

General access requirements for tactile ground surface indicators

  • Hazard tactile ground surface indicators used to assist with wayfinding installed at the top and bottom of steps, stairs and ramps, along jetties, raised platforms etc and other areas where there is an overhead obstruction encroaching on to a pathway, underneath a stair croft, and at changes in direction on pathways.
  • Directional tactile ground surface indicators used to assist with wayfinding by providing direction to installations such at road crossing points, seating and public transport stops.
  • Appropriate luminance contrast between tactile ground surface indicators and background and adjacent surfaces.

Key access dimensions




Braille and tactile signage for toilets.Figure 1: Braille and tactile signage for toilet

  1. International Symbol of Access – white wheelchair on ultramarine blue background
  2. Braille and tactile signage installed latch side of door 1200 – 1600mm above floor level

  • Letters 17.5mm high for each metre of viewing distance.
  • Minimum 30% luminance contrast between sign and sign background - white on black, yellow on black and white on ultramarine blue to Australian Standards is recommended.
  • If signage can be obscured, installation of duplicate signage located above 2000mm.
  • Sans serif type font, Arial or Helvetica.
  • Signage located within the common ‘Zones for Viewing’ in accordance with Australian Standards.
  • Tactile and Braille signage installed to identify an accessible entry of a building at any non-accessible entry, an accessible toilet and the type of toilet provided, left hand use or right hand use, an ambulant toilet, hearing augmentation type and space covered and the location of receivers if in use, and lifts.
  • Tactile ground surface indicators set back 300mm ± 10mm from any hazard (600 - 800mm deep), extending across width of a path adjoining the hazard, and have a minimum of 30% luminance contrast to the surrounding ground surface and background. (Dimensions for tactile ground surface indicators, both hazard and directional, at specific locations and required luminance contrasts in accordance with Australian Standards).
  • Raised tactile and Braille signs mounted at a height of 1200 – 1600mm above the ground or floor surface.
  • Appropriate international symbol of access as required.

Table 1: Relevant Australian Standards for signage and wayfinding

AS/NZS 2890.6 - 2009Parking facilities - Off-street Parking for People with Disabilities
AS 1428.1 – 2009Design for access and mobility - General Requirements for Access - New Building Work
AS 1428.2 - 1992Design for access and mobility - Enhanced and Additional Requirements - Buildings and Facilities
AS 1428.3 – 1992
Obsolescent June 2012
Design for access and mobility - Requirements for Children and Adolescents with Physical Disabilities
AS/NZS 1428.4:1 - 2009Tactile Ground Surface Indicators for the Orientation of People with Vision Impairment
AS 1428.5Design for access and mobility - Communication for People who are Deaf or Hearing Impaired
AS 4586 - 2013Slip Resistance Classification of New Pedestrian Surface Materials
AS/NZS 1158 Set:2010Lighting for Roads and Public Spaces
AS 1680 - 2009Interior Lighting - Safe Movement
AS 1735Lifts, Escalators and Moving Walks
AS 1670.4 - 2004Fire detection system design, installation and
commissioning - Sound Systems and Intercom Systems for Emergency Purposes
AS 2293.1 - 2005Emergency escape lighting and exit signs for buildings - System Design, Installation and Operation
AS 4428.4 - 2004Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems - Control and Indicating Equipment - Intercommunication Systems for Emergency Purposes
AS 1744:1975Standard alphabets for road signs - metric units
AS 2700 -2011Colour standards for general purposes
AS 1742 Set:2010Street name and community facility name signs 
AS 2156.1 - 2001Walking Tracks - Classification and signage
ISO 7001:2007Graphical symbols - Public information symbols
Disability (Access to Premises - Buildings) Standards 2010

Links to other relevant information