Let’s talk about Wayfinding. What is the objective for Wayfinding? According to Romedi Passini, “…the objective of information design for wayfinding is not to design signs but to help people move efficiently to their chosen destinations” (87). For example, a sign to a men’s room will use an iconic image or a symbol to represent the destination of the user. In this case either the language could be read or a known convention is held by the individual in order to follow the signs.
This pro of wayfinding is considered a way to, “devise a logical system that quickly, understandably and easily guides visitors through a space” (Flinchpaugh, 9). When done correctly an interior signage system will inform the user where they are, where they want to go, the best route to get there, an understanding that they have arrived, and even how to get back. It sounds simple enough, or is it? First there is a blue print or a decision plan.
At each type of decision point, the wayfinding system is reviewed for the best practices such as visibility, readable, flexibility, ease of use, proper amount of information, appropriateness to location, consistency, reliability and continued updates. (para. Jennifer M. Mclaughlin, Brendan B. McNeil, Sarah E. Sebald). One of the major cons of wayfinding is the possibility of the any one of the requirements mentioned will not be successful. Wayfinding then fails. If there is lack of information to guide routes or updates, it will fail and cause frustration and confusion among the users. Passini commented that the additional decisions are called higher order decisions where a hierarchy is created.
From the hierarchy, a decision can be made based on schematic designs which involve a family of signs. This includes the following sign types: parking directional sign, parking garage identification and entry/exit sign, building-mounted format, lot identification, parking garage/lot “You Are Here” pedestrian informational sign, transit stop sign, highway sign cluster and sign system pole for traffic signs. Romedi Passini remarked that one downside to this is it will not propose a structured way to actually solve a problem. (para. 94).
What it comes down to is weighing the pros and cons. The pros of wayfinding can be simple to use, easily modified, could have a mapping system on display, can deal with multi-lingual issues, have dynamic information like scrolling data and display large signs from highways for user easy interaction. Whereas, the cons of wayfinding might be that it cannot be easily modified, some multi-lingual limitations like it only has two languages that can be displayed, there might be technical requirements for operation and if these fail to operate, the whole system can be ineffectual and last, sometimes cost could be a factor.
Wayfinding, the theory is being used in practice on all four of my blogs. Wayfinding is more than signage; it uses visual clues as it documents locations and makes my messages easier to understand. Möser Sebastian, Patrick Degener, Roland Wahl and Reinhard Klein stated, “The two main constraints for the design of more general perspectives are simplicity for the designer and comprehensibility for the user” (1855). It is about the intertwining of interpretation and wayfinding to get to a destination. It could be implemented in the blog environment by providing, links, legible font and color, and navigation using graphics and images.
Navigation is about wayfinding, you can’t treat it as separate because many other things run parallel with it. If you look at studies in wayfinding, everything from exhibit design to building the cathedrals, it’s about creating a complete system. It’s about looking at the whole. ~ Clement Mok
Downtown Fort Collins Wayfinding Sign System. 2008. 12 Feb. 2012 <http://www.fcgov.com/advanceplanning/pdf/downtown-sign-system-doc.pdf>
Flinchpaugh, Jennifer. Signs of the Times. 2004. 14 Feb. 2012 <http://www.signweb.com/ada/cont/adasigns0800.html>
Mclaughlin, Jennifer M., Brendan B. McNeil and Sarah E. Sebald. Addressing wayfinding at Bumrungrad Hospital. 2005. 13 Feb. 2012 http://www.wpi.edu/Pubs/E- project/Available/E-project-031105- 234749/unrestricted/Addressing_Wayfinding_at_Bumrungrad_Hospital.pdf
Möser Sebastian, Patrick Degener, Roland Wahl and Reinhard Klein. “Context Aware Terrain Visualization for Wayfinding and Navigation.” Pacific Graphics 27.7 (2008): 1853-1860.
Passini, Romedi. Information Design. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2000.