Wayfinding System is a people-centric science that assists the customers in navigating through or around space. Although architecture and civil design foundations of a site usually dictate the movement of people at a structural level, the wayfinding system is the communication layer that guides the navigation of people throughout and into a specific built environment.
The complexity of the wayfinding system depends on the characteristic of the site. It can also include different solutions that are necessary to achieve a smoother customer journey. In addition to that, wayfinding systems could combine signage, maps, and any other form of communication that could guide the customers in accordance with the site requirements.
Since its aim is to help customers achieve a smooth journey, its process includes observing the customer’s behavior. Through knowing the behavior of customers, the designers will be able to analyze and enhance the facility based on the customer’s necessity. Journey mapping is also essential since it determines the routes of each user group. Afterward, concept designs, as well as the preparations, will be conducted. Additionally, some features like shapes, colors, and materials will also be considered in this process to produce a concept.
There are questions to ask and factors to consider in order to assess the quality of an efficient wayfinding system. Obviously, the easiest way to evaluate the quality of such a system is to observe whether it guides the customers or visitors without frustrations. It should also support a stress-free experience. However, such an evaluation can be done only after the system has been put in place. With that, we are going to discuss some components to consider in order to ensure a positive result.
The zoning and spaces
Different zones or spaces must be identified by the wayfinding system in a built environment. For instance, in a hospital, areas such as the reception, emergency rooms, and private rooms must be differentiated. As well as that, the routes and needs should also be addressed accordingly. If it is in a hotel, the system could have various arrival points for both pedestrians and drivers that could easily be found. Similarly, the wayfinding system should also consider the accessibility requirements of the customers depending on their situations. For example, there are different accessibility requirements for parents with a child versus parents without a child, or the needs of the people with cars or bicycles versus those who have not.
A good wayfinding system must consider its user groups as well as the design that would fit the needs of the customers.
Signages are some of the elements that can be included in evaluating a good wayfinding system. When it comes to functionality, it should consist of legibility and the visibility of the signage that is necessary to ensure that customers could access the information whenever they need it. It should also be designed according to the modern standard. Moreover, in the aspect of spatial considerations, it should be ensured that the user has what they need in order to navigate the space. However, in most cases, signages may be located on walls or floors. Materials should also be selected according to the required longevity and compatibility with its brand.
Consider the Branding and Graphics
A good wayfinding system should also consider the shapes, materials, colors, and finishes. These considerations should be aligned with the brand guidelines. Evaluation of these aspects could contribute to the success of the strategy of the brand.
Maps should help minimize the process of the customer’s decision-making. The journey mapping is a crucial element in order to ensure that disruptions along the journey are reduced. As was mentioned above, the mapping should also consider the user-groups. It should develop according to the needs of each group. A good wayfinding system puts itself in the eyes of the customer to see the space right through their eyes.
One of the things or aspects to consider is how easily space can be navigated. It should also answer the question of whether the path leads the customer to a different zone without disruption.