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Designing for Accessibility during COVID-19

There is an understanding that the Coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone, but with the new requirements to wear masks and socially distance in public, tactile design solutions have been a focus for those with disabilities. Some of those include the inability for people with hearing disabilities to read lips due to face coverings and for those with visual disabilities to know where to stand to maintain social distancing.

One solution we found helpful for those with hearing disabilities was to create masks with transparent coverings over the mouth. These type of face masks provide virus protection while allowing the ability to lip read.

Masks with transparent coverings over the mouth.

Those with visual disabilities need to have a tactile understanding of safe social distancing, and tape does not work because they cannot feel it. Tactile detectable warnings give people with visual disabilities the comfort to navigate public places safely. They have been designed to be set on firm ground surfaces and can consist of raised lines or small domes to indicate a path of travel or place to stop.

Image of social distancing using Tactile detectable warnings.

Additionally, the City of Baltimore published design guidelines for distancing and found that tactile paint could provide those with visual disabilities the detectability to ensure safety in outdoor environments. This tactile paint will be stencil sprayed on a ground surface. The colors can be modified to show higher contrast for visibility.

Distancing using Tactile Paint.

These are just a few examples of what we are encountering in a rapidly changing world, but accommodations for all is a must for the Altura team. Forward thinking is part of what we do best so we got to work and it is our mission to continue to tackle these obstacles with solutions for all.

Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or want further guidance on this or any other accessibility issue! (512) 410-7059.

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