5 ways to improve your digital signage wayfinding
When it comes to signage, wayfinding is one of the most useful, but often overlooked applications of digital displays. In a new setting—whether that be a school, expo, hospital, public building, museum, or gallery—it’s easy to get confused about where you need to be. This could make you late for a class, result in missing an appointment, or simply impact on your enjoyment of a tourist attraction. And these outcomes are all easily avoided with good use of digital signage.
“On a trip to the Louvre in Paris, my initial enthusiasm quickly turned to tension as I joined thousands of tourists being herded through this vast gallery,” explained Karen Hughes, creative director at True North.
“I shamefully skipped masterpiece after masterpiece, following a somewhat clumsy signage system that directed me almost straight to the Mona Lisa. I was stressed and exhausted by the time I left. I exited with a feeling of missed opportunity – not just on a personal level, but knowing that from a creative perspective there were so many ways in which the gallery could have employed effective wayfinding to better engage visitors.”
This isn’t an isolated experience, and in this post we’re going to highlight some of the ways you can take maximum advantage of digital signage with your wayfinding, ensuring that your visitors feel engaged, and confident that they can navigate with ease.
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It’s easy to make assumptions, but by taking a step back, and observing how people move through a building or area, you can begin to highlight where and when people need to be helped along their way. You can do this by creating a number of personas, who are given specific tasks. Observe them, and then interview then to discover where the pain points arise. And the perfect scenario? Integrate these processes into the creation of your building or space, as illustrated in this example at the Minneapolis Skyway, created by Spye and RSP Architects.
Keep it simple
Digital signage used for wayfinding should be kept as simple as possible, with information presented in a clear and legible way. Avoid too much colour, and avoid fonts with too much detail. Airports provide some great examples, with colour used to identify key information.
But remember: simple doesn’t mean boring
Although information must be presented clearly, that doesn’t mean that wayfinding should be boring. In fact, by introducing elements that draw attention to your screens, you’re helping visitors find the information they need to navigate successfully through your building. One of the best examples of this can be found at Toronto Pearson International Airport, where ICON Media mounted screens on a flower structure.
Colour code and use imagery
People are able to retain images and colours in their memory far better than words, so when you’re directing people back to a place they need to remember—such as a floor, zone or parking area—then colour coding is a great way to ensure that visitors retain the necessary information. Although not digital, the Eden Project does this to great effect, using coloured images of fruit to identify its different parking zones.
Don’t rely on digital signage alone
There’s more to wayfinding than digital signage. Although it can be a huge help, especially when located in the correct place, digital signage can also be supported by gentle, traditional reminders—such as markers and guide staff—as well as other digital aids such as maps and apps (such as the one for New York’s MoMA https://www.moma.org/explore/mobile/iphoneapp).