Two new ISO International Standards will help make products, signs and displays more accessible to older persons and those with disabilities – and the rest of us. They offer technical information, data and ergonomic know-how for visual and auditory design that addresses the needs of these often overlooked members of the population.
The first “solution document” is a new standard, ISO 24502:2010, Ergonomics – Accessible design – Specification of age-related luminance contrast for coloured light. It specifies a method of calculation that can be applied to the design of visual signs and displays, so that they are clearly visible to older people, although the luminance contrast can be applied to people aged from 10 to 79 years of age.
For example, increasing the contrast (especially for blue light), size and overall visibility of sign displays or integrating features such as oversized monitors or large character display fonts as part of product design can greatly help people with visual difficulties.
The second standard, ISO 24501:2010, Ergonomics – Accessible design – Sound pressure levels of auditory signals for consumer products, aims to determine an appropriate sound level range of auditory signals, so that all users, including people with age-related hearing loss, can hear them properly against interfering sounds.
The two standards are part of a set of accessible design suite that help make accessible products, services and environments encountered in all aspects of daily life, as well as in the consumer market. They adopt the principles of accessible design presented in ISO/IEC Guide 71:2001, Guidelines for standards developers to address the needs of older persons and persons with disabilities.
Kenji Kurakata, Convenor of the team that developed the new standards comments: “These standards will help accelerate the implementation of accessible design at different levels of the product development process, such as conceptualization, planning, management, and manufacturing.”
“Our final goal is to distribute the concept and methods of accessible design to the end of design process, which means manufacturing products that people enjoy in their daily lives.”
ISO 24501 and ISO 24502 were developed by ISO/TC 159, Ergonomics, subcommittee SC 5, Ergonomics of the physical environment, and are available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details). They may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, price 66 Swiss francs, through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication & Information department (see right-hand column).