I want to dedicate today’s post to my thoughts on what should be considered when starting an interactive wayfinding project.
In previous posts, I have mentioned the phases of development, the quoting process, features to include and interface examples.
I will list everything out in one place, as a rough guide as to what goes into starting a project. This will include the following:
a. Needs Assessment – What will best suit your campus and how to determine
b. Quoting Process – What items are considered when reaching a quote
c. Features – Which features you should include for your unique app, stylizing, interfaces, and format
d. Development – What to expect from the development schedule, what will be requested of you to complete the project
e. Time frame for delivery – The estimated time for each process, setting integration dates, whether development phases will be implemented and what to expect from that structure
f. Release and on going support – What will occur during the release, and how on going service and support will serve you
When considering what will best serve your wayfinding needs, you must look at the visitors that you are catering to. When doing a needs assessment, I would ask the following questions.
1. Do you need to offer handicapped accessible directions? 508 Compliance?
2. Do you need to offer advertising?
3. Should this be for Web, kiosk or mobile?
4. Should there be multiple languages?
5. Should you include a directory?
6. Should there be an emergency alert system?
7. Should you include additional features such as an events calendar / search function?
There are many features to consider for implementation. For example, a hospital would want to include a department directory and alert system. The needs of each project are unique.
The itemized segments that affect cost, and what we consider when giving an estimate.
1. How many buildings?
2. How many floors?
3. How many languages?
4. For web, kiosk or mobile?
5. Where will project be hosted?
6. Will there be additional features?
Project Features / Additional Functions
The default features of an interactive wayfinding project are line directions, text directions, search function and department listing. Other items that you may want to integrate include:
1. QR code generator for mobile web projects
2. Images of destinations to include with directions
3. Distance in feet for each line of text directions (EX:”In 10 feet, turn left”)
4. Emergency alerts
5. Handicapped accessible directions
6. Digital Signage
8. Searchable directory
These items highlight what the development schedule will look like and what you will be asked to submit throughout this process.
The development phase is the biggest and most time consuming part of any wayfinding project. Typically, the biggest hitch in keeping to a predefined and agreed upon time line is waiting on approval of designs and delivery of floor plans from the client.
Development Schedule / What will be needed from client
1. A conference is scheduled to discuss interface designs, map designs, stylizing, fonts, and colors.
2. Client is to submit all floor plans relevant to project
3. Interface design and development begins, company submits samples for approval
4. Map design begins, company submits samples for approval
5. Project is completed and submitted to company’s quality end control team
6. Development / Design ends, company delivers end project for testing by client
7. Client is to request adjustments to design via change orders put in with the project manager
8. Any edits / adjustments are made as requested by client, end result is resubmitted to company’s quality end control team for testing
9. Quality end control is complete, end result is given to client for approval / final test
10. Project is released and made live
Time Frame for Delivery
The delivery date and estimated time for programming is all dependent on the type of project and the speed of the client’s cooperation and assistance with interface approval and floor plan submission. Each project is unique, as all are custom built to suit and every location is different. To give an idea of time frame, I will lay out an example project and quote the time needed.
1 Building, 4 floors, built for kiosk with department / staff directory.
a. All interface and map designs are communicated by client and project begins.
b. Interface is built by company, and during this time client delivers floor plans. (2 weeks)
c. Map design and plotting is completed. (2 weeks)
d. Designs are submitted to client for approval. (Best case scenario of speed on clients end, 1 week)
e. Client submits adjustments to be made, company makes edits (1 week)
f. Design and programming of department and staff directory begins, client is to deliver listing of all staff and departments (2 weeks)
g. Project is submitted to company’s quality end control team and tested (1 week)
h. Project is submitted from quality end control to client for testing (1 week)
i. Assuming client does not wish to make any edits through change order, project goes live
End total of time line: 10 weeks. All actual design and development only takes 6 weeks. the other 4 weeks are reliant on client’s delivery of items and approval of designs / testing. That time frame is assuming the client does all quickly.
Release and On Going Support
Upon release of project, the company will begin monitoring the usage of the app, error reports and any static units (kiosk) running the app. This will last for a default time of 6 weeks, or longer depending on the content and frequency of error reports.
After the initial release monitoring is complete, the client will have access to 24 hour support and maintenance to ensure that the app is always available to the users.