Archive for April 2012

Signage: A Day At The Hospital   Leave a comment


This may sound crazy, so please bear with me. I went to Sarasota Memorial Hospital for my class assignment in signage and wayfinding. I decided to stop by the Administration Department to get approval for photographing their signage. A woman stated I should talk to someone in their Operations Signage Department. Before we parted she remarked that if they were closed that she did not see why I couldn’t take a few pictures of the Hospitals wayfinding signs for my school project. The office was closed. And so I did…sneaking around, clicking when no-one was looking, yet knowing that I was on camera. I felt it was important to explain the photographs you are about to see just in case the Hospital contacts me.

I want to begin this signage/wayfinding assignment with a little background regarding Sarasota Memorial Hospital. I have a long history with this facility as my mother spent way too much time there between, diabetic issues, three heart attacks, a quad by pass (which I stayed with her the entire week sleeping in a chair in her room) and several other physical ailments leading to her stays in the hospital. This in and out went on for twelve years. Mom died four years ago. I worked in the accounting department in 2009 at SMH and was involved in the monthly meetings with the CEO which revolved around the new construction of the building and additional facilities.

Ok, so let’s begin. Signage and wayfinding are visual communications. It is through signage that united wayfinding and identity systems occur. This includes information design for exterior and interior signage through directory maps and signs that are color coded resulting in the user navigating easily through the medical facility.

Requirements for Interactive Indoor Wayfinding System:

1) The signs are easy to see

2) The message is clear

3) Shows “you are here” to the user

4) Allows choices to a destination

5) Depicts a route

6) The process is simple and understandable for various users

The construction has been going on for two years now and this trip was my first time back. Because of the chaos (building and reconstructing) the signage system needed to be clear and simple for all users.

As I pulled up I saw signs everywhere directing visitors. The colors of the signs are symbolic of patriotism red, white and blue. Immediately a user can see clear hierarchies by the use of different fields of color containing different types of content as well as easy to follow directional arrows. (para Chen Design, 91).

I had to park in the parking garage and there was the old signage that I was accustomed to:

As I walked out of the elevator a large yellow number one let me know I was on the first floor. The arrow pointed in the direction to guide me, the user to the main lobby.

The signage and wayfinding system can be seen as it helps the user quickly make the next decision of where to go and how to get there. “Maps and user guides. Fewer than half of all hospitals currently provide basic user guides and maps to aid in wayfinding. However, they can provide valuable assistance to patients and visitors and are fast becoming a necessity…”

A directory and other information maps are available and visible as the user walks through the lobby.

A sitemap is located within the first floor hallway as Baer describes, “…should give a visual outline of all components and informational elements of the project” (64).

The photograph below is the final version of the design in blueprint format that maps out the user experience. It reveals a detailed view of how the content is organized as it incorporates interactivity by being simple and easy to read. The visual information used in wayfinding is seen through maps, symbols and diagrams to guide the user. According to Romedi Passini, “… people need information to make and execute decisions. Therefore, the wayfinding decisions they make determine the content of the required information” (89).

Wayfinding provides direction for people in motion. The principles of wayfinding design are described by the Michigan street wayfinding signs conceptual approach:

1) Design for the first time user.

2) Design to simplify the visual environment (legibility, coherence).

3) Give only the information needed at a given decision point.

4) Integrate design elements.

5) Contribute to a sense of place.

6) Create synergy between destinations.

7) Respond to diverse stakeholders.

8) Design for flexibility and to minimize maintenance costs.

9) Design for adaptability to other media. (2)

The information based exhibits depict quality by organizing the data, showing clarity of the directional data and reducing visual disorder. The displays are clean with plain language. They are detailed to ensure a consistent quality in the sign information design as signage and interactive imagery are intertwined. The quality experience supports the goals of the exhibits and displays by meeting the priority of the target audiences through the mixed media that utilizes and meets the interests of all age groups and cultural backgrounds. The overall purpose includes the objectives relating to the quality and coherence. The quality of contextual information is in simple language regarding its background information. It also reveals continued changes due to the construction.

The new signage at SMH uses an approach known as Progressive Disclosure to engage the audience and make the information meaningful. Progressive Disclosure presents only the information needed to move from one decision point to the next. (para Phil Murphy). Effective stories are told from the moment the user arrives for example, does the user need the lobby to find an elevator or the emergency room to find a loved one? This information engages the audience in the decision process.

The hospital signage is clear and effective as it provides a design framework that establishes consistent aesthetics and quality. The integration of different components begins with the maps, naming, numbering, colors utilized such as the word “Emergency” in red, typography and general organization of the parts of a building which are important organizational aspects of the signage system. Wayfinding is unified as each sign is interrelated to the next and the clarity of purpose is clear in its plain language succeeding in showing complex data in a format which is understandable by various users.

The information is effectively designed for the variety in the audience between the various ages, genders and social status. In 2013 the Courtyard Tower will officially open.

What new signage will convey their final message? We will just have to wait and leave it up to the creative designers of the hospital signage department.

Works cited

Baer, Kim. Information Design Workbook: graphic approaches, solutions, and inspiration + 30 case studies. Beverly: Rockport Publishers, Inc., 2008.

Cooper, Randy and Craig M. Berger. 2009. “What’s new in wayfinding?” Healthcare Facilities Magazine. (2009). <;.


Murphy, Phil. Wayfinding Rx. 2012. 15 Apr. 2012>.

Romedi Passini. Information Design. Ed. Jacobson, R. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2000.

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Information = Knowledge = Sense-Making   1 comment

Sense-Making organizes information overload, let’s see what I mean below:

Did you know that change and Sense-Making seem to go hand in hand?

Brenda Devin remarked that it is through sense-making that we combine elements of time, space, and movement that results in a gap (para. 45). Notice the movement of the user as the author commented, “The Sense-Making assumptions are implemented through a core methodological metaphor that pictures the person as moving through time-space, bridging gaps, and moving on” (45).

Sense-making is a tool used to make something sensible. We see designs everyday on cereal boxes,

in business and

even in

advertisements for cell phones.

The designers have researched the audience and their needs and are passing on specific information to the user. According to Brenda Devin, “Information, no matter what it is called – data, knowledge, or fact, song, story or metaphor – has always been designed” (36).

What is information?

1. …describes an ordered reality.

2) …describes and ordered reality but can be “found” only be those with proper observing skills and technologies.

3) …describes an ordered reality that varies across time and space.

4) …describes an ordered reality that varies from culture to culture.

5) …describes an ordered reality that varies from person to person.

6) …is an instrument of power imposed in discourse on those without power.

7) …imposes order on a chaotic reality (37).

It is because of the vast amount of information given and received on a daily basis that there is a need to prevent information overload. This is where sense-making comes into play. By extracting pieces of information that seem relevant according to the context, organization and structure is created. Omitola et al. stated, “Information is being generated at such a prodigious rate that the challenge now is sense-making, how do we curate information, version it, maintain it, index it, search it, query it, retrieve it, and re-use it, thereby helping people discover relevant content.” If you really think about it, sense-making is based on our expectations about people, and what is important to society.

Works cited

Dervin, Brenda. Information Design. Ed. Jacobson, R. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2000.

Omitola, Tope, Ian C. Millard, Hugh Glaser, Nicholas Gibbins, and Nigel Shadbolt. Information to Sense-Making: Fetching and Querying Semantic Repositories. (n.d.) 05 Apr. 2012

Who am I? Wanna Know More? A Quick Peek!!!   Leave a comment

As I take an eagle’s eye view of my life I can see many individuals and events that have contributed to the person I am today. One person who was and always will be very dear to me, my mother, who passed away when I was 42 years old. She taught me the value of love, strength, goals and a good education. I found growing up that she did not push me for the “good grades” as I took it upon myself to strive for A’s.

When I was seven year old my mother took me to the doctor due to stomach pain. He told her I worried too much about school (I believe I was in second grade but, don’t quote me), and getting the gold stars from the teacher. I was one step away from an ulcer. I ate baby food for two weeks and will never forget that experience. I enjoyed the banana flavor but, the vegetable ones, not so much. The sense of striving to get A’s (but, would accept a B) from my educational studies appeared innate. My mother tried to reinforce that no matter what grade I received, as long as I tried, that was all that mattered.

I watched her, a single mother, holding down a job while going to school in the evenings in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in social work from Empire State College. Her struggles and courage inspired me to follow my dreams. One of the happiest days I spent with her was on her graduation day. When they called her name, I had a great sense of pride. Her perseverance had paid off, she did not give up.

My mother introduced me to a life of open mindedness. Sexual orientation, skin color and all the other categories of racism were considered taboo. “We are all the same”, she would say. Being a social worker, she worked with prisoners from Ryker’s Island to the street gangs in Harlem. They all loved her and she them. She brought a child/man of 18 years old into our home, a two bedroom apartment in rural upstateNew York. He lived with us because he was let out of the child care system as adult with no money or place to live. We became like a brother and sister…a brother I never had since I was an only child. He was big, black and scary looking, but his heart was filled with gold. After living with us for a few months he decided he needed to go home, to Harlem. His alcoholic mother lived there and he felt he needed to find “his roots”. He opened my eyes to his culture as I would go with him to visit his mother from time to time. He taught me that there are people out there better off than me and worse off, so I’m not doing so badly.

 Another individual that influenced me was my ex-husband. I know he deserves credit, and in this instance I am giving him his due. When I met him he was a she, a man trapped in a woman’s body. I was with him when he went through top and bottom surgeries to deem himself a man on the outside. We were married and divorced, legally. During my time with him, I was introduced to the Transgender community. When all was said and done, I realized these individual’s were a minority group that needed support regarding who and what they were. I saw the significance in society needing a wake up call. Knowledge is power and I wrote a book based on these issues and how they affected my life.

One event that took place changed my life from that point forward. I was in love with a female to male transgender and we were going to be adopting two young boys. The only way to describe what happened that day was by taking an excerpt from my Creative Non-Fiction Autobiographical Anthology regarding the hate crime. Cheaters, Sinners and Saints.

I believe that my values have guided me through life personally, academically and professionally. They include: compassion, ethics, integration, respect, honor, honesty, change, accountability, justice, integrity, curiosity, innovation and creativity, just to name a few. But, there are some that I would like to address now.

As a queer woman, I always held the motto, Live and let live. As fate would have it, I found a new group of individuals that held the same feelings as I did and willing to fight for what we all believed in, equality for the LGBT community, equality for all. I let my voice be heard on a documentary on MSNBC in 2009 (A television program that aired about transgenders getting married), and I had a meeting with the Senator of Florida regarding the LGBTQQ community.

While I found my values were innate and inherent within me, the cross cultural and individual expressions that I have learned, developed and practiced throughout my lifetime strengthened my values and beliefs. I realized that my sense of identity stemmed from a world of spiritual reality. I am a queer woman and proud of it. I follow my heart not gender. Though my own personal trauma I took many inward journeys and came to the realization that by working with others we could break down barriers of prejudice.

I carry this quote close to my heart:

Your beliefs become your thoughts / Your thoughts become your words / Your words become your actions / Your actions become your habits / Your habits become your character / Your character becomes your destiny ~ Gandhi

I have a talent for writing. Prior professors, friends and fellow students have given positive feed back on my abilities. I feel that my art of writing produces a combination of creativity, intelligence, approach and word power. I will be able to utilize my aptitude for the future as an author and screen play writer. The list is endless of the possibilities that await me.

On a personal note, I am an artist and my medium is acrylic. I have sold my art work mostly in New York and New Jersey but, my art also has traveled to Californiaand Delaware. I started painting for fun after my college homework was completed. I am a natural people have said. No real training just me, the brush and my canvas. I painted scenic scenes, oceanic scenes, clipper ships, and my highest seller was my lighthouses. I found this innate talent to be a great gift.

It was through these highs and lows, pains and moments of happiness that were intertwined with the feelings of anguish of watching lives being destroyed before my eyes by a hate crime (read my story) that brought me here…now, writing this quick autobiography. My life has been filled and weaved with a pattern of many people who influenced my life and in turn, opened a door for me to write my book, a screenplay, leading me at this time, to be a student, an eternal student.

Ooo…Ahhh…Pretty Fireworks~Celebrate Over 13,000 Hits and Counting!!!   Leave a comment


Over 13,000 Hits And Counting!!!

These fireworks are for YOU!

Wow ~ Thank you  🙂

Posted April 1, 2012 by in My College Papers