What Is Wayfinding ?

by Best Wayfinding Limited Shropshire

What Is Wayfinding ?

Wayfinding is the art and science of navigating traffic (vehicular and pedestrian) from one point to another in a safe and efficient manner, through the use of information…

In the 1960’s the American urban planner and theorist Kevin Lynch first introduced the term “Wayfinding” as it is now commonly used.

Factors effecting Wayfinding:
Type of traffic
Environment/topography
Legislation (Law)
DDA & Building regulations
Audience
Purpose
Viewing distances
Ease of use (mobility of visitors)
Language

Design Process of Wayfinding:
What message do you want to convey to a visitor/staff?
What is it you need to navigate to and where from?
What route do you want visitors/staff to take? Are they different?
Can symbols be used instead of words?
Would colour coding be appropriate?
Keeping it simple and consistent for staff and visitors alike.
Communicating at regular points or intervals.
Avoiding “visual clutter”
Are there multiple buildings with multiple floors?
Prioritising key destinations
Planning
Consultation with staff, visitors, Architects, Wayfinding experts
Health & Safety
Finance

Mechanisms for Wayfinding:
Maps
Compass
Signs
Satellite Navigation Systems (e.g. TomTom & Garmin)
Apps (on mobile devices)
Sound
Spoken

With all means of navigating staff and visitors alike to a complex, there is a need to make this as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. Consideration should be given to all users. Good signing will re-assure visitors and reduce unnecessary angst. Signs should be positioned for maximum effect, but with its surroundings and architecture in mind. All signs need to enhance or compliment their environment which will assist in the efficient movement of people.
It is important to engage with all users at the planning stage of Wayfinding, especially the staff.

Signs should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they are meeting the needs of the users. It is also important to ensure that lines of sight are not blocked by obstructions, or additional signs added which causes confusion.

Information on websites prior to visits, e.g. maps can assist visitor in advance, other considerations are landscaping and lighting.

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