Wayfinding Signage: What it is and How it Helps
The Benefits of Wayfinding Signage
Imagine you’re running late for a crucial meeting in a large campus facility.
You arrive after desperately searching for a parking space, then rush to the front entrance with relief, only to be greeted by an expansive lobby filled with other visitors going to different meetings, surrounded by elevators and hallways.
Where do you go next?
We’ve all been there – it’s stressful. And the longer it takes to find your meeting room, the more likely you’ll greet your colleagues looking like you swam there.
If only there had been effective wayfinding signs. Sure, we’ve all seen those laminated arrows pointing to specific rooms, but what happens if they fall off the wall or are out of date?
Luckily, digital displays make excellent wayfinding signs, and this article will explore how wayfinding digital signage does the job better, more efficiently, and with less hassle.
What is Wayfinding Signage?
Wayfinding signage directs internal and external traffic – be it on foot or by vehicle.
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to examine how facilities use indoor wayfinding signs to help their visitors navigate around their buildings.
Not all buildings need wayfinding signage, of course – especially smaller venues. But large office complexes and educational- or healthcare facilities are notoriously high-stress, labyrinthine environments; your visitors will undoubtedly benefit from clear guidance to help them calmly move around your building.
Digital displays offer the most versatile wayfinding signs because they’re infinitely updatable, accommodating last-minute room changes, utilizing graphics such as maps, arrows, and images. And, in emergencies, digital wayfinding signs help people evacuate buildings 30% more quickly.
The Different Types of Wayfinding Signage
There are four types of wayfinding signage:
- Directional signs
- Informational signage
- Identification sign
- Regulatory signs
Directional signs are probably the most common type of wayfinding signage – they keep people moving in the right direction towards their destination. They can delineate the best routes to a particular room, managing foot traffic around a building.
Directional signs have been used extensively throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for outlining one-way systems within buildings and public spaces to promote social distancing.
They can be used widely throughout a facility, replacing traditional door plaques, and are particularly useful at corridor junctions, reception desks, inside elevators, or building entrances.
Informational signs on digital displays offer an array of ways to deliver essential data and information.
Of course, you could simply use text to get your information across. However, digital displays are infinitely versatile – it’s possible to use pictograms and infographics to make the message more visual.
Informational signs help reduce visitor stress by providing helpful information when it’s most needed. You can use your digital display to signpost visitors to staff who can help or display QR codes that link to online digital maps.
And when your visitor finds their way to their conference room, a digital informational sign is the perfect way to share WIFI access codes and signpost bathrooms or the cafeteria and emergency exits.
Identification signs help orient visitors around large complexes. These are typically located around elevators and restrooms or in meeting rooms.
One of the most commonly used orientation strategies is the familiar “You Are Here” arrow, helping visitors familiarize themselves with their surroundings. Psychologically, these orientation approaches help put your visitors at ease, promoting a positive experience within your building.
Regulatory signs help everyone stay safe. These types of signs have been used widely during the pandemic to help people understand the safety requirements for the building they’re entering.
Examples of regulatory signage can be found in factories and manufacturing plants, reminding staff to wear PPE and helmets or offer warnings regarding off-limits spaces.
Additionally, regulatory signs around parking lots help users understand where they can park and the maximum driving speed.
Beyond the Basics
In today’s increasingly digital world, interactive signs are becoming more and more popular.
For example, interactive digital displays can simplify check-in at conferences via self-serve kiosks, allowing delegates to confirm their arrival and register for their events. Used in conjunction with simple web-cam set-ups, delegates can print their own photo IDs and book themselves into sessions, negating the need for extra staff at reception desks.
And once delegates have registered, wayfinding signs provide all the information needed to navigate and stay safe within the building.
They can also provide information about opening hours, helpful contact details, and where to seek help.
The Benefits of Wayfinding Signage
We’ve all become accustomed to using wayfinder apps on our phones – Google Maps or Apple Maps being among the most popular.
Recently, What3Words has given us the ability to direct visitors with great accuracy around buildings. Visitors can scan a QR code displayed on wayfinding signage that leads them around the building with impressive accuracy.
Wayfinding signage frees up reception staff to carry out alternative duties that complement a visitor’s arrival and orientation, saving time and increasing staff efficiencies. And screens around the building help ensure that meetings start on time, without the inevitable stragglers who couldn’t find the room.
But one of the most significant benefits of leveraging digital signage for wayfinding is the ability to customize and adapt the information at short notice. Specialized software systems allow you to swiftly make changes, offering a range of video, website, and imagery capabilities, as well as confirming variations in published event listings.
Ease of installation
It may all sound very complicated, but digital signs are straightforward to install and maintain. You don’t need highly trained technical staff to create and manage the signage content across your facility, and installation can be as simple as hanging a TV screen on the wall if you’re using wireless connectivity.
An experienced digital signage partner can help you analyze your needs and create a portfolio of visually compelling and efficient wayfinding signage.
And don’t forget: Mvix is here to help you make the most effective use of your wayfinding signage network. Get in touch for more information.
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