Wayfinding solves problems of spatial orientation and navigation from place to place. At its essence, wayfinding answers two key questions: “Where am I now?” and “How do I get to where I want to go?”
Good wayfinding enhances the navigability of buildings and public spaces, and creates a positive experience for the user. Ineffective wayfinding increases costs, as the need for human assistance is greater.
There are four stages of the experiential wayfinding process for individuals.
- Orientation – knowing one’s current location and its relation to the desired destination.
- Route Selection – making a decision as to the specific course and direction to follow.
- Monitoring – confirming, along the route, that the individual is on the right path to reach the destination.
- Recognition – identifying that one has arrived at the proper destination.
The keys to wayfinding are effective use cases, advance planning, people-focused graphic design, and strategic architectural signage.