Growing up you believe the world is meant to be the way it is. The older I get the more I realise that this is not the case. The world is full of injustices and atrocities that governments and the voice of faith expect us to accept, though with each passing year they grow fewer and fewer, at least one would hope. I have created this blog as a space for me to rant about all things science, politics, philosophy and religion, before it’s too late and the vessel of new atheism propelled by a growing surge in secularism solves all of the world’s problems for good.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Signs for the blind surely remain unused?

I keep seeing this braille signs everywhere I go. On signs for toilets, on the up and down buttons for lifts, at traffic lights, at the station, at the shopping centre, at sports game venues, at restaurants, everywhere! However, I am still waiting to ever see a single blind person 1. find one of these signs on their own, to then 2. actually make use of it.

Who's idea was it to cover every single sign in braille? Do we really need to be that politically correct? How hard is it for others to take a few seconds out of their day to help a blind person through a door, or into a lift, or to show them which toilet is for males, etc? Or is this more about those who can see being able to say "they can do it themselves now, they don't need to ask others"? I seriously don't get it, and as I've said, am still waiting to see anyone make use of these signs.

For one thing, if you're blind, you'll need to almost certainly be shown directly to the sign to then be able to run your fingers over it and read what it says, and if someone's just shown you there surely they won't bail before telling you what it says?!

I can imagine they'd be somewhat useful for the partially blind who can see to some extent, and are able to negotiate themselves to the signs on their own, but the majority of these signs are 3 dimensional. Sections of the signs protrude and are undoubtedly as easy to have their meaning derived from touch as braille is, if not even more so. For instance, lift buttons are always: up on top, down on bottom. Up is an arrow pointing up, down is an arrow pointing down. It's not that hard, and almost feels like we're patronising the blind by filling our world with these useless signs. I might be wrong, I'm only speaking from my subjective experiences so feel free to correct me if you've experienced something different.


  1. What about the (partially) blind and mute? just to play devil's advocate what would happen to them, unless there was, against all odds, someone with a braile typewriter passing by...


    Also, bad enough vision to not be able to read, and completely blind are not the same thing - I don't reckon my mum'd be able to see the difference between male/female signs w/o her glasses at any kind of distance, noticing that it looks like a sign on the other hand is much easier...

  2. As if a blind mute would be left to wander the streets alone... Yeah but your mother won't know how to read braille and wouldn't bother, she'd ask someone surely, or just look for which people are female and which toilet they're coming out of. Or just take a chance and if it's the guys' toilets, use them anyway!