Speaking of the best navigation device ever, the Marauder’s Map from the Harry Potter universe is quite literally the ultimate and utopian wayfinding system. The map not only shows every classroom and hallway, it leads you to far corners of the castle, it is also powered by GPS technology and is able to spot the exact location of every person on the grounds.
Marauder’s map is certainly an inspiration; particularly for organizations with dozens of departments and complex environments where wayfinding often feels like navigating a labyrinth. Unfortunately, many organizations often overlook the importance of wayfinding systems when it is certainly something that can make or break a visitor’s experience.
At BlinkSigns, we provide wayfinding system design solutions to clients across various industries. In this article, we are sharing some tips to help you create an effective wayfinding system.
Follow the KISS Principle for Effective Wayfinding
KISS, an acronym for Keep It Simple, Stupid is a popular design principle. The principle states that most systems perform optimally when they are kept simple and complications are avoided.
Simplicity is crucial for wayfinding systems. The design should focus more on readability and important information must be presented in a clear and concise fashion. So it is recommended to keep your wayfinding systems easy to understand and avoid unnecessary elements to create a clear visual environment.
Consistency is important for an effective wayfinding experience and it is also important to ensure that all the signs have the same design. Use the same colors, shapes, fonts, and symbols consistently so that people can spot them easily and understand immediately that they are wayfinding signs.
Create an Identity at each location
A good wayfinding system helps the navigator to successfully move the bits of information from his present location to the final destination. The navigator must, at all times be able to easily process the information and can definitively answer the questions, “Where am I?” and “Which way am I facing?
One Of the most important best wayfinding practice is to give each location a unique perceptual identity so that navigators can easily find themselves in the bigger picture by associating with their immediate surroundings. Helping a visitor to quickly recover their position and orientation is the core wayfinding principle.
Create Well-Structured Paths for Your Wayfinding System
For paths to qualify as well structured, they must possess a set of characteristics. The premier quality of a structured path is that it leads you to the destination without getting you lost in the middle. The signs should easily guide the navigator between points. Users must be able to determine how far their destination is and are able to measure their progress as they move.
Well-structured paths and strategically placed signs remove confusion and give the visitors more control over the process by displaying the right information, at the right time, at the right place.
Be a little Creative with Wayfinding System Design
Simplicity and user-friendliness don’t mean that wayfinding systems must be boring and dry. You can increase the interactivity and usability of your signs by incorporating a little creativity. To make the most of your investment, you can show off your brand personality by integrating the colors, fonts, and designs that represent your organization’s brand.
Regardless of how small or large the space is, directional signs and graphics can still be seamlessly incorporated into the decor. Keep the environment engage-able to make sure that the signs do their job with visual consistency to reinforce your organization’s branding.
Don’t Give User Too Many Navigational Choices
Another good practice for wayfinding systems is to avoid giving a lot of choices to the users. This often leads to confusion and is particularly important for hospitals where visitors are already stressed and too many options can add to the anxiety and frustration.
While there can be multiple options to get from point A to point B, the wayfinding system should only show 1 or a max of 2 routes. Limiting user choice not only prevents confusion and but also allows them to orient themselves to their surroundings faster.
Walk the routes
To gauge the practicality and resourcefulness of your wayfinding system, it’s important to walk the route yourself before the visitors do. This will ensure that the routes are well defined and will also help to identify the areas of confusion. Ensure clarity to your maps before revealing them to the public.
Physical Accessibility is also an important factor that is often overlooked. Ensure that special visitors using a wheelchair can easily see and read the signs.
Wayfinding Systems With BlinkSigns:
At BlinkSigns, we provide wayfinding system solutions to organizations that include industries like shopping centers, theatres, public parks, healthcare facilities, and more. We also provide digital wayfinding signage solutions. Contact us for more information. Let’s Talk about a new wayfinding system for your facility!