Staircases are surprisingly perilous. Most people have, at some point, attempted to step up onto a “phantom” additional top step or been surprised to encounter the ground floor a step early (Figure 1).
Some commercial buildings indicate the very top and bottom of a flight of stairs with a raised pattern. However, this is 1) not reliable and 2) rare in residential dwellings.
In order to intuitivelyinform the staircase user which step they are on, a few topmost and bottommost steps can be marked with standardized raised markings that can be easily felt while walking (Figure 2).
This could probably actually work! Standardization might be difficult, however, and it’s not immediately clear what the best solution would be for a small staircase with only a couple of steps.
PROS: Adds the possibility for new and exciting onerous regulations for property owners! Adds more work for OSHA inspectors to do.
CONS: People who expect these textures might then fall down regular unmarked stairs (“well I can’t be on the bottom step, I haven’t felt the textured pattern yet”).