People in our focus groups identified that environments which felt confining due to the lack of space could be more challenging compared to larger open spaces.
This was influenced by:
- The business and proximity (distance) of other people around them
- How confined the space feels due to the built environment
Individuals identified that they often preferred to go to places when they were less busy so that there were fewer people nearby and they could be more easily avoided. The architecture of the building itself could impact on their perception of space in public spaces, such as the height of ceilings/shelves or the width of pavements or walkways. Several people identified that they had appreciated the additional distance between tables in restaurants due to COVID restrictions increasing the space between them and other people.
Questions for businesses and organisations to think about:
- How close together are the tables/chairs in the seating area of your location? Do you have any tables that are further apart or booths which people could choose/request to sit in?
- If you do have booths/tables in quieter spaces, can people book these specifically in advance? Can people with sensory difficulties learn about these on your website?
- Can you identify ‘quieter hours’ when fewer people are booked to visit or when people tend to go less often? Is it possible to provide information about what times your space is less busy (such as on a website or social media)?
- How close together are the aisles and walkways in your space? Is it possible to introduce a one-way system to reduce the amount of people walking in both directions at once?
- Is it possible to alter the space so that it feels less confining? For example, reducing the height of shelving units or spreading them further apart from one another?
For more information on the other themes identified, click on the images below…