Wayfinding relate to how users reach destinations and how they situate themselves in space
Wayfinding encompasses the perceptual, cognitive and behavioral processes involved in reaching destinations
The notion of wayfinding Emphasize the processes involved in reaching destinations 1.Decision making and the development of a plan of action 2.Decision execution, transforming decisions and the decision plan into physical behavior 3.Information processing comprising environmental perception and cognition, underlying both decision related processes Can be seen a problem solving process with space and requires spatial information
The wayfinding problem - Legibility of a city Design characteristics could affect the ‘legibility’ of a city Legibility as ‘the ease with which the city’s part can be recognized and can be organized into a coherent pattern’ At the building scale, it define as ‘the degree to which a building facilitates the ability of users to find their way within it’ Legibility also implies that there is a link between the characteristics of the physical environment, and subsequent wayfinding behavior Legibility of the architectural environment influences the ease of wayfinding behavior
The wayfinding problem Illegibility may induce stress by producing confusion and a feeling of incompetence. The cost of illegibility design in lost time, money and efficiency Influence the degree of activity, sense of control, and safety in emergency situation 70% staff had given directions to visitors in a week at UM hospital
Why wayfinding problems still continues… Only resolve the problems in applying signage, or redesign existing signs Lack of understanding about the cognitive processes that people employ to understand and use environmental information to solve wayfinding problems Lack of understanding about the environmental cues that people employ to orient and find their way within buildings Inability to integrate knowledge about the cognitive processes involved in orientation and wayfinding, and the role of environmental clues in these processes into the design of signage
The feeling of disorientation and being lost is the consequence of not having a cognitive map and of not having or not being able to develop a decision plan to get somewhere
The wayfinding model Finding the destination does not happen in one step (starting point -> sub-goal(s) - > destination) Decision making process takes place at each choice point in the environment Physical landmarks play a role in orientation during the wayfinding process The wayfinding process is composed by perceptual input from physical features within the built environment And cognitive processes we structure and use this information to find our way
The cognitive map Animals learned to find destinations in a maze arrangement
The cognitive map Physical characteristics of the environment that we use as cues to find our way through the environment are stored in a mental representation Psychological structure responsible for storing and retrieving spatial information about the environment is often referred to as the ‘cognitive map’ The accuracy of the information in the ‘cognitive map’ can influence wayfinding performance
The cognitive map The cognitive map can store ‘route’ and ‘survey’ representations Route representations contain knowledge about individual places and the way they are connected through experience; the ‘travelability’ between places Survey representations contain knowledge about metrical relations, such as the distance and direction of places in relation to each other Thus a successful wayfinding is knowledge of the connections between places
Environmental features Landmarks – serve as important physical cues to memory about individual locations within a building (Hang Seng Bank in MTR) Plan configuration – overall form of the building’s floor plan layout Visual access – involves the ability to see ahead to other useful landmarks or cues within/outside the building Architectural differentiation – different areas within a building are visually distinct from each other (wall color, type of carpet and ceiling heights) Signage – a form of environment information are employed to compensate for the complex floor plan layout setting such as subways
Signage as environmental information Identification – room numbers, business or department names Directional – arrows, text directions and graphic symbols Layout – ‘You Are Here’ maps and floor plans
Research on YAH maps and signage Signage placed at decision points in buildings improved wayfinding performance Decision places are such as lobby area, corridor intersections, reception area and entrance Length of wait, crowding and anger were significantly reduced for visitors YAH map can overcome the negative effects of buildings design with poor visual access
Research on YAH maps and signage Two fundamental principles for design of YAH maps: Structure Matching and Orientation Structure Matching – relate the layout of the drawing of the floor plan to the shape of the actual building it represents. Orientation – the map should be oriented that the features displayed by the map are logically aligned with the view seen from a position in front of the sign
Research on YAH maps and signage – decrease wayfinding performance Signs are poorly design or overall signage strategy is incorrect and redundant signs that confused visitors User group characteristics Number of signs in a hospital hallway increased, wayfinding performance decreased 76% of people who had difficulty wayfinding in a large metropolitan airport 30% of the sample felt there were too many signs 18% of nursing home residents mentioned the use of signage as a strategy for wayfinding Less than 8% of people fleeing fires reported relying on signage to find their way to exits
Research on YAH maps and signage Examined the effects of 3 different signage conditions ( no signage, textual signage, or graphic signage) 13% increase in rate of travel 50% decrease in wrong turns 62% decrease in backtracking Graphic signage produced the greatest rate of travel, but less effective and accuracy Textual signage was the most effective in reducing wayfinding errors, but taking longer to process
User group and situational considerations A general analysis of the situational context and user’s needs must be conducted Is long-term learning desired over the course of repeated visits to the facility (YAH Map as primary source), or is the goal of the signage to provide immediate guidance to specific locations? Consider the different between a visit to a shopping mall and a visit to a hospital The characteristics of a typical user, such as age, language spoken or physical disabilities should be considered when deciding on the placement, location and design
A understanding of the wayfinding process Analysis of the MTR Station’s YAH maps and Signage
MTR Station’s YAH maps and signage Passengers rely on a variety of architectural cues (wall color, elevators and plan configuration, visual access to inside building) to find their way through MTR station
MTR Station’s YAH maps and signage Information required for a correct decision must be close at hand. Place directional signage and YAH maps at decision points within the environment (such as corridor intersections). This will serve dual purpose of placing information and becoming landmark.
MTR Station’s YAH maps and signage Related the shape of the floor plan drawn in the YAH map to the actual shape of the building floor plan. This will reinforce learning of the facility layout, and make the YAH map easier to use.
MTR Station’s YAH maps and signage YAH maps should combine graphics with minimal text to enhance the speed of wayfinding through the building, and maximize accuracy.
MTR Station’s YAH maps and signage People can understand YAH maps that are drawn in perspective view better than maps drawn in plan view. However, care must be taken to minimize the complexity of the perspective drawing.