04/03/2006

Develop a Successful Wayfinding System

Wayfinding should be designed to address the appropriate audience

 

Playing the Numbers
When numbering rooms in a facility, whether at a resort or in a hospital, think about the end-user. Consider using the “hotel model” of placing odd numbers on one side of the hall and even numbers on the other. Begin room-number sequences at points of entry or elevator lobbies rather than at arbitrary locations, such as the end of a hallway. On multi-level buildings, use “stackable” numbering schemes where the logic of the room numbers from one floor matches that of the room numbers on the floors above and below. This makes for easier wayfinding, staff-given directions, and maintenance.

 

Few things are more frustrating than getting lost, and few things can affect visitors’ feelings about a facility more than the ease with which they can get around. When upgrading the wayfinding in an existing facility or developing a new wayfinding and signage system for a new building, several rules help to ensure a successful wayfinding program:

Wayfinding should be designed to address the appropriate audience. This means designing wayfinding for the first-time visitor, since repeat visitors can rely more on past experiences to navigate a campus or facility. Take into account the average visitor’s state of mind as well: This may range from distracted and road-weary tourists at a resort to nervous and stressed-out patients at a medical facility. The greater the level of distraction or stress, the less able a visitor may be to grasp complex destination terminology or direction-giving.

Control circulation. Controlling how visitors move across a campus or through a building can minimize the confusion brought on by street geometry or corridor configurations and alleviate congestion along more heavily trafficked thoroughfares. Routing traffic, whether vehicular or pedestrian, along selected public pathways can help assure zones of quiet privacy for staff and clients, and enhance security by reducing traffic near sensitive and restricted areas of a facility.

Wayfinding cues should come as much as possible from the environment or the architecture. Where it is possible to take advantage of intuitive design and landmarks in the environment, successful wayfinding to a desired destination can often become self-evident. Along major public pathways, landmarks can help visitors remember where they’ve been and provide a “speakable” reference when giving guidance to visitors. Examples of effective landmarks include sculptures, water elements, and unique works of art.

Information should be organized consistently and structured hierarchically. Upon arriving at a new campus or facility, visitors may not be able to directly access their final destination. This makes it important to provide a point of reference to where they are and where they want to be. It’s also important to present information to the public as they encounter it in the environment. Use the names of buildings, component areas, entrances, and elevators to move people longer distances, and follow with detailed information about the destinations in a given area. This is a more effective way of providing the guidance that people need when they need it, and not overwhelming them with too much information.

Wayfinding elements should be designed to allow for easy updating as information changes over time. This is especially important in facilities where staff and department names change regularly, such as healthcare facilities.

Ensure user participation. It is important that a signage consultant or owner give an organization’s staff and end-users an opportunity to provide detailed input into a wayfinding system. This can be accomplished by establishing a committee with members from throughout the organization, including executives, marketing representatives, and facilities managers.

Mark VanderKlipp is president at Traverse City, MI-based Corbin Design (www.corbindesign.com).

 


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Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

Replace core drilling with Connectrac In-Carpet and On-Floor Wireways, the proven connectivity solution in open interior spaces of all kinds. These elegant low-profile wireways are great for AV / telecom connectivity wherever it’s needed.

 


 
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