Universal Design & Pedestrian Wayfinding Forum

drawing of people navigating doors, slopes, stairways, transit, and more

The principles of Universal Design can be applied to urban environments to make public spaces usable and inviting. Urban designers apply a variety of tools to help pedestrians determine where they are and where they need to go to reach their destination. These tools—known collectively as “wayfinding”—have adapted to incorporate new technologies and design methods. When designing and improving public spaces, considering and understanding the wayfinding needs of all, including people with disabilities, is essential for inclusion.

Wayfinding is the topic of a Northwest Universal Design Council forum on Thursday, February 27 (1–3 p.m.) in the Bertha Knight Landes reception room at Seattle City Hall (600 4th Ave, in downtown Seattle). At the forum, design and planning professionals will be joined by community representatives on a discussion panel. The discussion will focus on best practices and lessons learned from recent wayfinding projects, the wayfinding needs of people with disabilities, and how wayfinding can be improved by applying Universal Design principles.

Presenters include:

  • Aditi Kambuj, SDOT
  • Adrian Bell, Applied Wayfinding
  • Candace Toth, Sound Transit
  • David Miller, Lighthouse for the Blind
  • Debra Kahn, Washington State Deaf-Blind Citizens

The forum is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is available but not required. To register online, click here (EventBrite).

Click on the image above to open a PDF that you can print or post.

Click on the image above to open a PDF that you can print or post.

For City Hall access information, visit Live captioning will be offered during the program. In addition, the Bertha Knight Landes Room’s assisted listening system includes a hearing loop. Individuals who wear T-coil equipped hearing aids or Cochlear implants can switch to T-coil mode when the forum program begins. For others with hearing impairment, assisted listening devices will be available at the door. To request other disability accommodations or further accessibility information, contact Jon Morrison Winters at 206-684-0654 or at your earliest opportunity.

The Northwest Universal Design Council is grateful for the forum co-sponsors and partners including Age Friendly Seattle, the King County Mobility Coalition, Aging and Disability Services, and the Seattle Human Services Department, as well as our panelists from Applied Wayfinding, Lighthouse for the Blind, Seattle Department of Transportation, Sound Transit, and Washington State Deaf-Blind Citizens.

Contributor Jon Morrison Winters is a planner at Aging and Disability Services who provides staff support to the Northwest Universal Design Council (NWUDC). The NWUDC promotes incorporation of Universal Design principles, products, and processes in the built environment so that all people can “live actively by design,” regardless of age or ability. For more information about the NWUDC, visit

This article originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of AgeWise King County