What Makes a Good Wayfinding Strategy?

Signage isn’t Wayfinding…

There is a big difference between signage and wayfinding. Wayfinding is the whole journey, whilst signage is just an element, albeit a strong one, of that journey.

The presence of good signage is something we rely on day-to-day, and would be noticeable by its absence. Yet it is often overlooked and most of us are unaware to the impact it makes on our day-to-day lives. It’s worth considering just how lost we would be without it…

Wayfinding: Why is it important?

Here we take a look at some of the main factors in delivering a successful wayfinding journey, from the research involved, the strategy itself and the development and testing to implement a successful bespoke solution.

The Strategy itself…

A good wayfinding strategy is about delivering a better experience by aiding navigation and orientation for all users in a flawless, simple and effective manner. The considerations and needs of your audience need to be analysed and should play an integral part in the thought processes of your wayfinding scheme.

Planning your Wayfinding Strategy

Planning a wayfinding strategy can be overwhelming at first, particularly if you are relatively new to the concept of wayfinding.

There are an infinite number of things to allow for and generally there tends to be a number of stakeholders who need to be considered and catered for.

What Makes a Good Wayfinding Strategy?

A good wayfinding strategy has to deliver its primary function of supporting people and vehicular navigation and movement around your site, be it a hospital, shopping centre, educational campus, or an airport.

In these often stressful environments, efficient wayfinding systems contribute to a sense of comfort, safety and security.

To create a good strategy, firstly consider that wayfinding is a well thought out process involving studies of:

  • The space, architecture and landscape in question
  • User behaviour
  • Navigational needs
  • The cultural and language diversity of your users

What makes good Wayfinding Signage?

In order to build successful wayfinding signage within your strategy, you should consider the following:

  • Is it a clear communication system with concise messaging? It’s essential that a logical sequence is used.
  • Is it fully inclusive i.e. have users with a visual impairment or are wheelchair bound been catered for?
  • Where are the decision points i.e. the locations where users have a choice of paths to take?
  • What are the lighting conditions like? The lighting, such as directly behind a sign, can be vital to get right
  • Is there a clustering situation i.e. do signs you put up compete for space with other signs?
  • Is it aesthetically pleasing?

Putting a Good Wayfinding Strategy to the Test

A wayfinding strategy often combines signage, maps, symbols, colours, and other communications. More so now than ever, they integrate mobile applications, digital displays and radio-frequency identification (RFID).

To ensure your wayfaring strategy is a success, you’ll need to…

  1. Arrange a meeting with all stakeholders
  2. Document all existing signage
  3. Consider undergoing qualitative interviews with a number of users
  4. Identify the layout of the area and, where possible, get floor plans and maps of the area
  5. Plan the main routes which need to be developed, working out where key decision points will be

Implement a Successful Bespoke Solution

At mödel, we provide a complete branding and wayfinding service to clients throughout the UK for a wide range of environments, from education establishments, hospitals, government buildings, retail spaces, offices and more. For all your signage, wayfinding and branding solutions, call us today on 08000 24 24 81.