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Accessible PracticesBest PracticesInformation Desks

Checklist for Accessible Information Desks
The checklist that follows was written by Jan Majewski, in 2000, in her capacity as coordinator of the Smithsonian Institution's Accessibility Program.

Height
1. The information desk public-side surface is either at a uniform height across the desk or at dual heights. If it is uniform, it is no higher (on the visitor side) than 36" above the floor. If it is dual height, the lower section is at least 36" wide and no higher than 36" above the floor. The lower section is in the center of the desk rather than off to one end.

2. The information desk work surface on the staff side is between 28" and 34" above the floor. The staff side provides adequate knee clearance (minimum 30" wide, 27" high, and 19" deep, with no footrests or heaters intruding into the floor space) in at least one of each type of work station.

Turning Space
3. Clear floor space (minimum 5' diameter turning circle) in front of the public side of the desk is provided for someone who uses a wheelchair. Clear floor space also is provided behind the desk for staff. Both the accessible visitor area and the accessible staff area is connected to an accessible route.

Staff Entry
4. If there is a change in floor level greater than ½" to reach the staff area of the desk, the transition is ramped.

5. If there is a door to enter the staff area of the desk, it has accessible hardware and provides at least 36" of clear open width.

Reach Range, Storage & Light
6. All materials and equipment necessary to do the staff person's job are within reach range of a person who is short or uses a wheelchair. All materials and equipment available to visitors are within reach range of a person who is short or uses a wheelchair. A staff person who is short or uses a wheelchair is able to reach across the desk comfortably to hand something to a visitor who is short or uses a wheelchair.

7. Visitors and staff are able to remove materials from storage and display areas with the use of one hand in a loosely closed fist. It does not require more than 5 pounds of force to operate any controls or hardware on the storage or display areas.

8. Sufficient light for reading (at least 30 footcandles) is provided at all portions of the desk,
particularly at the accessible areas for visitors and staff.

Signs
9. Signs that meet all accessibility criteria for readability and that use appropriate language concerning people with disabilities are provided. Signs that make visitors aware of available accessibility accommodations are provided at the information desk.

TTY
10. A text telephone is provided for staff use and, if there is no text telephone in the public phone bank, for visitor use.

This web site is not intended to offer legal, architectural, engineering, or similar professional advice. Refer specific questions to an attorney or an ADA authority.

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