Design for the mind

brain mindSteve Maslin has a blog page with an interesting post about designing dementia friendly environments. He makes a good point when he says that, “the pursuit of inclusion is as much about informing and enabling those who are unawares – as it is about including people with particular needs.” This helps “the unawares” to take the issues seriously, particularly designers. The engagement process is paramount to success. He explains for key areas:

  1. Sensory, social and spatial characteristics of an environment
  2. Orientation (in time and space) within an environment
  3. Safeguarding within an environment
  4. Neurological and psychological aspects of physical and sensory interactions

Anecdotally, some people find highly reflective floors look wet and slippery; locked doorways are distressing – so if a door leads only to a store then don’t draw attention to it; and audible and visual fire alarms can be un-conducive to safety during emergencies. Dappled light and shadows causing stripes are confusing, and black mats at doorways look like a hole in the ground.