This leads to hours of staff time lost redirecting and escorting patients and visitors to their destinations. It also increases the likelihood that patients will arrive at their appointment late, and this wastes the time of their healthcare provider who is left waiting.
Due to the nature of the facilities, visitors can often be stressed, worried or anxious before even setting foot in the building. Add to this the stress of poor navigation and disorientation, patients are more likely to arrive at their appointments flustered and frustrated with a negative frame of mind from the outset.
We have found that the best method for wayfinding strategy is to walk a mile in the shoes of the user.
Taking into account the impairments as discussed above, and the varying mental states of visitors and patients, we map the route that would be taken to the desired location – where are they entering the building? What are they doing before they enter the building? How did they arrive at the building? Are they travelling horizontally across one floor or do they need to travel vertically with the use of lifts or stairs?
Importantly, where do they look for navigational cues? A comfortable middle ground for seated wheelchair users and those who are standing is 1200mm to 1600mm from the floor, but placement strategy doesn’t stop there – where on the wall will the user be most likely to look, and what is the clearest way to communicate the intended message?
Taking into account the deeply psychological nature of wayfinding, we map out the route to answer the questions most likely to arise during navigation and place the answers in the area where it’s most likely to be seen.