How to Build Inclusive Experiences for All Brain Types

Understanding Neuroinclusion 

DE&I is an essential practice in 2022. However, neuroinclusion remains a gap in the industry, particularly in corporate events and experiences.

Neurodiversity is a valuable form of human diversity. It includes all brain types — both neurotypical and neurodivergent.

The term “neurodivergent” describes people whose brain differences affect how their brain works. Neurodivergent people make up approximately 20 percent of the global population.

Well-known types of neurodivergence include:

  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Dyscalculia
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Epilepsy
  • Hyperlexia
  • OCD
  • Tourette’s
  • Sensory Processing

We know that diversity boosts creativity and innovation by allowing different perspectives and experiences to come together in one space. So hosting inclusive events means more people feel heard, seen, understood, and appreciated. 

Attending an event can be a stressful process for neurodivergent people, and as experience designers and brand specialists at FIRST, we know a critical part of event design is understanding the audience. Neurodivergent people have always been present at events. But in the past, event professionals may have overlooked or been unaware of their needs.

The Neu Project

In partnership with FIRST, Google has launched The Neu Project, an initiative meant to create more inclusive experiences for neurodivergent people. 

The Neu Project features a guide to explore the topic of neurodiversity, its benefits, and the significance of creating events that are inclusive of all neurotypes. It’s full of practical strategies for curating experiences that are considerate of all minds.

While we encourage implementing as many practical strategies from the guide as possible, creating neuroinclusive events is a journey. Applying a few suggestions, to begin with, can still make a difference.


Designing Neuroinclusive Events

Here are a few tips when designing neuroinclusive events, according to The Event Professionals Guide to Neuroinclusion & Neuroinclusive Events:



Numerous studies continue to explore the impact of color on mood and emotion. Neurodivergent people can be more sensitive to colors with some studies indicating autistic children are 85 percent more influenced by color than neurotypical children.


Use non-stimulating colors when designing neuroinclusive spaces, such as blues, greens, pinks, and browns, with yellows and oranges used minimally for event areas requiring energy bursts. Red seems to be one color to minimize as much as possible or avoid entirely, with studies showing this high-intensity hue may trigger sensory overwhelm and increase hyperactivity.


Pre-event communications are important for giving attendees guidance on what to expect. It can be difficult for neurodivergent people to anticipate their needs. Once at the event, signage is an important indicator that allows attendees to be self-sufficient and explore the event comfortably. 



Know-before-you-go packages should include, at a minimum, full agendas, policies, dress codes, venue maps, and instructions about receiving additional clarity or support in preparing for the event. During the event, simple venue signage and wayfinding, speech-to-text communications, closed captioning, informing attendees of changes ahead of time, and trained in-person support personnel can all make a significant difference for neurodivergent attendees.


Some neurodivergent people prefer to minimize social interaction, while others prefer face-to-face engagement to observe social and communication cues in person. Some neurodivergent people prefer to consume content digitally, and others prefer live consumption. 



Providing a more inclusive event environment with the option to attend either in-person or online is essential. Providing on-demand content, transcripts, and session recordings create optionality, ensures accessibility, and empowers agency. Further, sharing online content pre-event allows more time for consumption and processing, which is strongly encouraged. 



While event professionals can take measures to minimize noise, harsh lighting, heavily crowded areas, and other potential triggers, sometimes this may not be possible. What would make an environment engaging and jubilant, can overwhelm most neurodivergent people with nowhere to go to regulate themselves.



In these instances, spaces like quiet rooms can offer a break away from the main event. These rooms will often feature muted colors, soft lighting, minimal noise, and other supportive tools such as fidget toys and headphones with access to refreshments and event content. 



Neurodivergent people can take longer to process information. In a world where people often expect immediate responses, budgeting for cognitive resources and thoughtful processing of new information is important to consider. 



Visual content should use single-color backgrounds, avoiding distracting backgrounds. Event professionals can achieve optimal readability by ensuring consistent contrast between background and text. Stark white backgrounds, however, can impede readability; a better option is using cream or a soft pastel. Other considerations include avoiding multiple columns and writing short, simple sentences — 60 to 70 characters is optimal. In long documents, break up the text with section headings and include a table of contents. 

To read the full Event Professionals Guide to Neuroinclusion & Neuroinclusive Events, visit

To see how FIRST helped launch the Neu Project, check out our case study here.

<- Watch the launch video