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Mind friendly wayfinding – the significance of neuro-sensory context

Thursday 10 November 2022 (12pm GMT start)

View of contrasting step changes (one invisible to the left of the handrail and are terraced seating and therefore hazardous)About the event

This talk comes from an inclusive design consultancy perspective and addresses the subject of mind friendly environments.

Until relatively recently if you sought guidance, from an inclusive design perceptive, on matters relating to people’s neurological needs and requirements, you were usually only pointed to the relevance and benefits of good wayfinding. Wayfinding is of course important to inclusive design, but what we were missing is the significance of other neurological, sensory, and contextual matters that add to our understanding of how people navigate and participate within the built environment.

Our speaker Steve Maslin draws upon his knowledge gained as an architect, working with people with additional needs and requirements, writing about mind-friendly environments, and upon the insights and observation of his access consultancy colleague Kelda Lyons, a children’s and play specialist.

What has made a difference to Steve and others’ understanding of this subject, are the insights one can acquire (for the benefit of everyone) from the experiences of people with neuro-diverse conditions, such as autism and people living with dementia. Also, the learning gained from applying Sensory Integration Theory to the built environment.

On 15 October ’22, PAS 6463:2022, Design for the Mind – Neurodiversity and the built environment – Guide was published. This, along with other recent activities and publications over the last decade and a half have set the context to a step-change as to how designers can now better understand design in the context of peoples’ neurological and sensory needs and requirements.

Attendees can expect to learn about what some might regard as basics such as tonal contrast, but also about more advanced subjects such as sensory processing, sensory noise, sensory overload, and the significance of context to memory. The relevance and paradoxes of choice and permission also feature in the talk.

Steve shares anecdotes where designers have arguably over or under done the provision of sensory stimulus, with not only implications for people’s movement through an environment, but also their ability to navigate through spaces and through time. These serve to reinforce why calm without clutter and placemaking are so important.

Steve also refers to wayfinding projects that he has been involved in, such as tactile wayfinding and warning surfaces, and the use (or otherwise) of Makaton symbols. He aims to deconstruct colourful road crossings and explain why they are not a good idea, giving constructive pointers to alternatives.

About our speaker

Steve Maslin is Atkins’s Technical Authority and discipline lead for Access and Inclusive Design Consultancy. He is currently Subject Matter Expert lead for the audit of 2500+ Rail Stations for DfT. Recent work has included advising local authority regarding proposals for cities such as Bath, providing Inclusive Design lead for HS2 projects and providing consultancy services to Sky, Network Rail, TfL and Associated British Ports projects. His work also includes a variety of specific research and wayfinding projects, and working with human factors, active travel, urban design and wayfinding specialists.

Steve has been a Chartered Architect since 1992, a Consultant Member of the National Register of Access Consultants since 2003, and has also worked directly, voluntarily and via social services and charities, in support / enabling capacities with a diverse range of people with additional requirements. As an architect Steve’s experience ranges from design, technical delivery, onsite, advisory to research work. Consequently, Steve’s combination or expertise and experience makes him well suited to guiding and evaluating the design process with the aim of achieving positive and inclusive User Experiences within built environments.

Steve has lived experience of Dyslexia, is a writer, blogger, Schumacher Institute Fellow and National Register of Access Consultants Advisory Group member. He has served as an expert at the Design Council and the Building Research Establishment (BRE) regarding BREEAM; and has sat on British Standards Institute (BSI) steering panels for Dementia Friendly Communities, FM & Inclusive Design standards , and the Design for the Mind PAS 6463.

Register for the event

This talk is free for SDS members. For non-members, the ticket cost is £10 per person (available to purchase via PayPal or by invoice / bank transfer. Unfortunately we are unable to process credit card transactions). To book your place, please get in touch with our administrator Kate at for the event details (and Zoom link, ID and password).

Not a member, unable to join us for the live-streamed event but would like to watch it at a time convenient to you? We offer the option to watch the event recording on a time-limited basis for the cost of a £10 ticket. Please email Kate for more information.

[Note: this event will be recorded and available to paid-up SDS members via our Talks Archive within a week of taking place.]


Online via Zoom


10 Nov 2022 12:00

Price : £10.00

Already a member? See details above for booking details.