If a sign could talk, it might say, "Trying to get somewhere? Let me show you how."
Having a good wayfinding system is a universal need. Any business or organization that doesn't provide a personal escort for every visitor has the same challenge: how will a visitor find what they seek?
Wayfinding encompasses more than just directional signage; wayfinding is a system of navigation that includes directional signs, identification signs, maps and directories. It can call upon multiple senses to communicate, including audio and video messages, Braille for the visually impaired and other communication means needed to orient people to an area.
Wayfinding signage should both stand out and blend in. Why? Because it needs to be in many places and be easily seen, yet it needs to complement the décor of a building or facility to enhance (or at least not harm) the aesthetics of the location.
Here are three tips for effectively employing wayfinding signs:
1. LET PEOPLE KNOW WHERE THEY ARE
Orient visitors to where they are so they can map out their path, and make destinations easy and obvious. Visitors to hospitals might use a digital directory or floor graphics to provide an environment rich in navigational details.
2. GIVE THEM CONFIDENCE ALONG THE WAY
Use signs and graphics to remind visitors that they are on the right path and should keep going. Multiple twists or turns require reassurance that your visitor is walking or driving towards their destination.
3. REWARD UPON ARRIVAL
Use signs and graphics to identify the destination and visually say "You found it."
Helping a student find a classroom or a shopper find a sale rack will prevent frustration, but efficiently directing people out of a building in an emergency or quickly pointing them to the right entrance at a hospital could save a life. Either way, providing clear visual information is the key to good wayfinding. Anticipate your visitors' navigation needs with a visible and clear wayfinding system.