If you are looking across the city landscape, it is easy to see the navigation systems that are well designed while others can be improved.
As architects working on projects ranging from small-scale infill public spaces to large-scale destination projects for cities, you must have constantly come across signage and wayfinding systems that are confusing or non-existent.
You must have noticed that this confusion often comes at a price. According to a study done, signage and wayfinding deficiencies cost an economy an estimated more than a hundred billion dollars every year.
Considering that figure, architects need to understand how to design systems that are effective.
Read on to understand more about these digital navigation systems.
What are Signage and Wayfinding Systems?
These systems are digital navigation tools that help people navigate public spaces. They help guide the users through the various building spaces, rooms, facilities and other landmarks.
It enhances the ease of use for these areas while minimising user frustration or confusion when finding their desired destination.
The guidance should be accessible for all users, including those with disabilities. Many cities are now using wayfinding software to better assist the needs of people who are sight-impaired or who have difficulty reading.
Many direction systems are designed with digital enhancements in mind, making them useful in offline and online situations.
Whether you’re looking to provide digital guidance through a website or smartphone app, it is essential to understand the steps you should take when developing a wayfinding system.
Why Do You Need a Signage and Wayfinding System?
Today’s wayfinding systems have developed from painted signs to digital enhancements, including maps, touchscreens and more. These systems are essential for several reasons:
- They help to improve the usability of a space.
- They make it easier for people to find their way around space.
- They provide information about the space in which they are located.
- They can be used as marketing tools to promote businesses or other landmarks within an area.
Factors to Consider When Designing a Signage and Wayfinding System
When designing a wayfinding system, there are several factors you must take into account:
The location of your signage and wayfinding system is crucial. It will help guide users from the beginning of their route to the end, which impacts how intuitive it is.
You must place signs at both ends of a route so that users can quickly orient themselves during their journey.
It includes any paths or routes they must take to reach a destination.
They should also be accessible from the main entrance, if possible. If there are multiple entrances or exits for a particular space, you can have signs installed at various points to help users navigate these areas more easily.
Size and Legibility of Signs
The size and legibility of your signage are other essential elements that need to be considered. Signs that are too small will be difficult to read, mainly if they are located in high-traffic areas.
Likewise, too large signs can take up unnecessary space and become a distraction. Finding the right balance to effectively your signage without becoming an eyesore is vital.
In terms of legibility, you’ll also need to consider your text’s font type and colour. Sans-serif fonts are often recommended for signage because they are easy to read from a distance. It is essential to use a high contrast colour scheme to make your signs visible even in low light conditions.
Layout and Design
The layout and design of your signage is also an essential factor to consider. It should be easy to read, with essential points placed towards the top for users who may have little time to view them.
If these systems include maps, it’s essential to ensure they are up-to-date and easy to understand. They should consist of all the relevant information a user needs, such as businesses or other landmarks within the space.
If you’re incorporating touchscreen technology into your signage system, it’s essential to include this information on your maps.
It is beneficial to provide additional information about a landmark or business that isn’t included in the physical signage.
If you’re using audio as part of your wayfinding system, it’s essential to make sure the volume is at a level that is audible but not distracting. And, if possible, you should provide an option to turn off the audio so that users can navigate the space in silence if they prefer.
Your navigation system should reflect your business or organisation’s brand to provide a uniform look. It is essential to use these systems to market your business in the space.
It is just as crucial for direction systems to be adequately maintained as it is for them to be installed correctly in the first place.
If you neglect to keep up with maintenance, it can begin to look unprofessional and damage the brand image you’re trying to create.
They must be planned ahead of time so that they fit your business or organisation’s needs while meeting your budget requirements.
Finding a Wayfinding and Signage System Design Specialist
It’s essential to find a specialist when looking for new wayfinding systems, especially if you want the best results. They will help you with everything from planning your system ahead of time to maintaining it after installation.
Using Technology Effectively
Today, there are many options for using technology for signage and wayfinding. Technology can be a great tool, but you need to ensure that the system is well-planned, easy to use and cost-effective.
Before investing in it, it’s essential to consider how technology might improve these systems. If you plan correctly, you might find that the latest technology can be a great asset to your business.
Incorporating Wayfinding and Signage Systems in the Design of a Space
If you’re designing a new space, one of the best ways to make sure it’s user-friendly is to incorporate wayfinding and signage systems from the beginning.
It will help improve communication between your team and ensure that everyone has access to relevant information.
And as always, it’s essential to think about how these wayfinding systems could improve the user experience as you’re designing a space.
It will help ensure that everything from your floor plan to your colour scheme is well-suited to the people using it.
Using Signs for Direction
One of the most basic and essential functions of signage and wayfinding systems is to provide directional information.
It means making sure that users can easily find their way to the places they need to go, whether a business or a specific landmark.
Signage systems are an essential part of any space, whether a new build or an existing one. You can create a practical, easy-to-use and fit your budget by planning and using the right tools.
And don’t forget that technology can be a great asset when used correctly!