– Human factors that designers need to consider when designing environments that will be used by individuals with neurological disorders is the topic of the latest issue of Implications
, a monthly research newsletter on design and human behavior produced by InformeDesign®
. This information is of special importance to designers who create healthcare environments and other spaces frequently used by children and the elderly.
“The key to successful environmental interventions is to understand where attention and consideration are most needed, and to prioritize these environments in such a way as to provide the least amount of disturbance and negative effect,” says author A.J. Paron-Wildes, LEED AP, an interior designer currently serving as architectural and design specialist for Allsteel.
Paron-Wildes points out that the dramatic increase in the incidence of such conditions as asthma, autism and Alzheimer’s disease has added yet another set of factors to the many attributes of the environment that can affect the health and well being of occupants. There is a growing body of evidence linking such conditions to exposure to certain environmental attributes, such as heavy metals (e.g., lead or mercury) and chemicals (e.g., dioxin). Reducing additional exposure to harmful substances through the use of natural products with simple ingredients is one way that designers can positively affect the health of these at-risk populations.
Designers also need to familiarize themselves with the ways in which the various disorders can affect how an individual experiences a space. Something as simple as signage or the ability to interpret wayfinding cues, for example, may need to be reexamined. Some disorders cause individuals to be overly sensitive to environmental stimuli, while in other cases they may barely respond to environmental stimuli at all.
This Implications describes a number of factors that designers should consider in assessing how the environment might affect the occupant. To view or download a copy of this issue, go to the InformeDesign Web site at http://www.informedesign.umn.edu/ and select Implications from the Main Menu.
InformeDesign is the first searchable database of design and human behavior research on the Web. The site currently contains more than 1,900 “practitioner-friendly” Research Summaries of findings from research literature transformed from more than 170 scholarly journals related to design and human behavior. All services on the InformeDesign Web site are available at no cost to visitors.
ASID is a community of people—designers, industry representatives, educators and students—committed to interior design. Through education, knowledge sharing, advocacy, community building and outreach, the Society strives to advance the interior design profession and, in the process, to demonstrate and celebrate the power of design to positively change people’s lives. Its more than 40,000 members engage in a variety of professional programs and activities through a network of 48 chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more about ASID, visit www.asid.org.
The University of Minnesota is one of the most comprehensive public universities in the United States and has been ranked among the top three public universities. It is a state land-grant university with a strong tradition of research, education, and public service with faculty of national and international reputation. The College of Design (http://www.cdes.umn.edu/) unites programs in architecture, clothing design, graphic design, interior design, housing studies, landscape architecture, and retail merchandising creating a nationally distinctive, multidisciplinary college engaged in research, teaching, creative production, and public engagement.