Imagine you’re running late for an important meeting on a large campus. You arrive, find the front door, and enter into an expansive lobby with various elevators and hallways. The trouble is, you don’t see any signage to point you toward your destination. Pretty frustrating, right? Now imagine your own facility. Can visitors find what they’re looking for quickly and easily? If not, you may want to consider wayfinding signage in your facilities to help your visitors.

Wayfinding Signage in a lobby

What is Wayfinding Signage?

To put it simply, wayfinding signage refers to the system that guides visitors through a physical environment. This type of signage helps individuals understand where they are and have a better experience within a space. It’s not essential for every building, but most can benefit from a little more guidance. Complex environments like large office buildings, healthcare systems, education facilities, transportation hubs, and so many more can benefit from giving people visual cues such as maps, directions and symbols. Complicated environments can create high-stress for visitors, but wayfinding signage helps to guide people and contributes to a sense of calm and well-being that business leaders shouldn’t underestimate. 75% of people’s knowledge is acquired visually, and 30% of building evacuation times were reportedly reduced when highly visible wayfinding signs were displayed.

Show: Illustrate the Path

There are four types of wayfinding signage. Directional signs are what most people think of when they think of wayfinding. Directional signage keeps people moving on their way to a destination. They are typically a plaque format and used anywhere throughout a facility where someone may look for directions, particularly at junctions, by reception desks or entrances, in lobbies, and outside of elevators. They often have arrows and literally point the way to a destination that someone might be looking for. Common examples are the “Exit” signs you see with an arrow posted in almost any building.

Example of signage that has a map and directions

Tell: Explain with Wayfinding Signage

The other sorts of signs are informational, identification, and regulatory signs. These signs use verbiage to help visitors identify where they are or get more information about the environment they are in. Informational signs supplement a visitor’s trip with useful information along their way. Some particularly helpful examples are letting people know where they can ask more questions (like a receptionist area) or keeping wifi information viewable in conference rooms.

Identification signs let visitors know where they are and also point out a specific landmark or structure. They don’t provide directions – instead they tend to serve as a “you are here” type of notice. You might use these to identify common areas such as elevators, restrooms, meeting rooms, etc.

Regulatory signs inform users of regulations and requirements that are in place. Inside a facility, some of this signage might remind people to wear PPE gear or helmets, or warn of areas that are off limits. You can also post parking restrictions or speed limits around parking lots.

Go Beyond the Basics

These are just the most commonly used forms of wayfinding signage. In today’s increasingly digital world, interactive designs are becoming more popular. Directory signage where visitors can find certain offices or professionals, along with their hours of operation, are always helpful. Robust wayfinding systems often combine signage, maps, digital displays, and other wireless technologies.

Digital wayfinding helps people to get where they’re going, and fast. Self-service kiosk or interactive maps can help people learn about your environment without having to wait in a reception area or track down staff.

Wayfinding - with times, dates and location of events

Benefits of Wayfinding Signage

Today’s generation of “Google Maps” users are eager to find their way alone. Providing them the information and the tools to find their own way will enhance their comfort while allowing them to move at their own pace. Additionally, people tend to absorb information better when they absorb it themselves. This means visitors are more likely to remember where they’re going next time!

You can also save reception staff’s time across buildings, floors, or department spaces. One of the best attributes of any form of digital signage is it’s ability to save time. Screens that help people navigate more effectively not only save staff effort, but also help to ensure meetings and events begin on time (without stragglers who couldn’t find the right place).

Furthermore, leveraging digital signage for wayfinding means you can customize and adapt the signage on short notice, and often. A specialized software system allows you to quickly make changes and also be flexible, displaying videos, websites, images, event listings, alerts, and so much more.

Finally, if you work with an experienced partner, wayfinding signage can be easy to install and maintain. You don’t need highly technical staff to create and manage the helpful signage across your facility.

A comprehensive digital signage partner can help you to analyze your needs and create  visually compelling and efficient wayfinding signage that makes visiting your facility a more satisfying experience.  Turn to Mvix to help make your most effective wayfinding signage decisions.