Wayfinding can be defined as spatial problem solving. It is knowing where you are in a building or an environment, knowing where your desired location is, and knowing how to get there from your present location. Wayfinding encompasses all of the ways in which people orient themselves in physical space and navigate from place to place.
Even in this modern era of technology, the most popular means of wayfinding is static signage. Universities and hospitals are very public and high traffic environments but still reliant on floor lines, staff assistance and posted signs as the solution to traditional wayfinding.
The hindrance in upgrading to an interactive system used to be cost, with most projects exceeding the $25 k mark. The release of programs like Wayfinding Pro (www.wayfindingpro.com) has given subscribers the ability to build a complete wayfinding system for only dollars a month. Wayfinding apps can now be created on any budget for web, kiosk and mobile access to interactive navigation.
In addition to a more manageable price, digital wayfinding has evolved as well. What used to be line and text directions alone are now searchable directories, QR code generation and location based content, emergency alerting, advertising and content management integration.
Clients now have the power of choice and the advantage of low cost at their fingertips. Wayfinding can be offered by integrators like digital signage companies, as an additional product or integrated into their DS software. End users can purchase Wayfinding Pro, build their own system and offer navigation to their public. Distributors including companies like LGE and Lenovo, can combine wayfinding with their package offering and resale on a large scale. Wayfinding has become extremely versatile and is flexible enough to fit every corner of the market.
Prospective wayfinding candidates with a larger budget at their disposal such as hospitals and universities, can sub contract the design and development to experts like Here2There Wayfinding (www.here2theresoftware.com). H2T handles project management, development, design, integration and implementation at the direction of the client. Services like these put control in the clients hands while easing potential work load involved in designing a wayfinding project.
Interactive wayfinding is now viable and within reach for any organization seeking to offer or resell the system. Digital apps will replace static signage within the next 5 years, will you be ahead of the curve?