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Want to work in inclusive design? Hear from WSPs Sarah Taylor

Want to work in inclusive design? Hear from WSP's Sarah Taylor

 May 31, 2023

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How can places and spaces be designed with everyone in mind?

Physical access principles are more embedded in design when compared with how industry designs for the mind. WSP wants to change this.

WSP understands the importance of embedding standards to create places and spaces that can be enjoyed by all. Although the industry has got better at designing for physical accessibility, WSP recognizes there is still much more to be done when thinking about fully inclusive design.

Designing for neurodiversity and mental health is key

Discussing this important topic, WSP Associate Director and accessibility expert Sarah Taylor co-wrote a whitepaper with colleague David Symons, exploring well-designed spaces.

"It’s estimated that about 15 per cent of people in the UK are neurodivergent – a term that recognises the variety in the way we speak, think, move, act, and communicate. Neurodiversity in its broadest sense includes people with autism, ADHD, dyslexia, depression, anxiety disorders, and dementia, but boundaries and definitions are very personal and can be hard to define. So how can we design for such diverse and varied experiences? We need to better understand these experiences, and any barriers, and build them into our thinking," explains Sarah.

"It's clear from our research that design requirements for shared spaces are complex and often conflicting. Because everyone’s experience is unique, it’s not possible to definitively link particular design interventions to any specific condition or symptom. But, drawing on our placemaking and street design experience gained on projects across the UK and globally, we’ve devised a high-level process and key themes that can help make places more accessible for all and support mental health," adds Sarah.

Read the full whitepaper to learn more about working in an area addressing design accessibility.

Striving to improve digital accessibility in the workplace

Furthermore, Sarah is on a journey to address digital accessibility and is proud that accessibility forms a central place within WSP's diversity and inclusion strategy

"We all see things through our own lens, but we need to broaden that perspective and pay attention to the barriers that are preventing others from being included," explains Sarah.

Hear more from Sarah on inclusive design via the Fit 4 Purpose podcast, where Sarah also highlights the importance encouraging women into STEM career pathways

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