When designing spaces for your customers, you should be able to accommodate everyone that walks through your doors, including those who are visually impaired. Creating spaces where they can feel safe and comfortable require you to install tactile indicators that can help them navigate your commercial space without much assistance.
Most commercial spaces require both warning and directional tactile indicators. Warning tactile indicators are intended to alert customers who have visual impairments to possible dangers in their way. Directional tactile indicators are different – they are used to guide your customers with visual impairment towards a clear route that would lead them to the place they want to arrive at.
Though there are many types of tactile indicators available in the market based on their materials, any of the five options below are some of the best you can get for your business:
Polyurethane tactile indicators
Tactile indicators made from polyurethane are perfect to be applied to an existing area in your commercial space. Tactile indicators from this material tend to be durable and can withstand Australian weather and climate, making it a viable option for your indoor and outdoor areas. Although they usually come in yellow, it’s possible to request a specific colour from your tactile indicator supplier.
Polyurethane tactile indicators are less likely to tear and tend to be fungus resistant, making for easy maintenance. Depending on their quality, some types of tactile indicators can be installed on substrates ranging from concrete to glass and even wood flooring.
Stainless steel tactile indicators
If you’re looking for tactile indicators that are even more durable, ones made from stainless steel can be a good option. They are commonly used for commercial spaces such as car parks and outdoor stairs. Just like polyurethane, tactile indicators made from stainless steel can be installed on most substrates, such as ceramic and granite floors.
Maintenance for stainless steel tactile indicators is the same as with most stainless steel-based products, and thus the use of bleach-based cleaning products should be avoided to reduce damage to the finish. Depending on the foot traffic your commercial space deals with daily, the use of either polyurethane or stainless steel tactile indicators can be interchangeable.
Brass tactile indicators
As another metallic based tactile indicator, brass tactile indicators can be a good option for your commercial space. However, care needs to be employed while selecting the right brass quality since lower ones would end up becoming a hazard risk since low-quality brass is likely to corrode in a relatively short period of time.
Despite this, brass is quite durable and can be used for both indoor and outdoor commercial spaces. Do note, however, that brass tends to be high-maintenance compared to stainless steel and requires more special treatment than the latter.
Aluminium tactile indicators
If neither brass nor stainless steel seems to be the right tactile indicators for your commercial space, then you should consider using aluminium tactile indicators instead. Compared to either brass or stainless steel tactile indicators, however, aluminium tactile indicators can be less durable, especially if your commercial space experiences heavy daily traffic.
Aluminium can be a better option than brass tactile indicators, however, since, unlike brass, aluminium is corrosive-resistant.
Ceramic tactile indicators
Aside from plastic and metallic based materials which have been mentioned in this article, tactile indicators made from ceramic are also available. When it comes to design flexibility, ceramic has a competitive advantage compared to other materials.
However, there’s a tradeoff – it is very prone to cracking under heavy pressure and even due to extreme weather conditions. Thus, ceramic tactile indicators are best used for indoor commercial spaces and should not be applied in areas where vehicles often pass.
When operating a commercial space, you are required to install tactile indicators that adhere to the Australian Standards. The four types of tactile indicators above are made of materials that have been approved by the regulation and are reasonably easy to install. Each of the materials described above has its advantages and disadvantages, so make sure that you consult a reliable tactile indicator supplier and installer who can guide you in making the right choice for your commercial space.