What is Wayfinding?

What is Wayfinding?

There are many headaches associated with airports, but their layout is often one of the biggest complaints.  A 2016 Curbed article featured commentary from 5 experts about airport design. The big takeaway? They weren’t designed to handle the influx of people that they handle today.  One thing that could help alleviate some of these issues is better wayfinding.

Wayfinding is the practice of using different information systems to navigate a physical space.  Quite often, wayfinding is bolstered by digital signage.

Imagine a centrally located, interactive map in each airport terminal.   You could not only see your current location but plan your trip.  You could see a map of your route and figure out where to grab a snack along the way.  You can see great examples of this at Auckland, Darwin International, and Christchurch Airports.

But wayfinding is important in many instances beyond airport travel.  Navigating big cities, hospitals, college campuses, and even parking garages can be difficult without proper signage.  Digital signage can help in all of these instances.

For example, in New York City, several subway stations feature an interactive touch-screen kiosk.  Straphangers can view estimated wait times for trains, get directions for their trip, and check the service status of every subway line.  This helps passengers get from point A to point B with ease, and it also alleviates the stress of a lengthy wait time.

In short, wayfinding is the method by which we get around.  It’s most effective and intuitive with digital signage.  Anything less makes travel unnecessarily difficult.