With the integration of the digital world and the physical world, interactive wayfinding has become commonplace. This means much more than simply putting up some maps on a screen. Interacting with visual information is done in many ways today.
Digital designers are skilled at user interfaces and wayfinding designs while an organization is an expert on its own facility. Therefore, integrating experts from both groups – careful planning and open communication, will result in a wayfinding design that meets a firm’s goals and audience expectations.
There are some simple and effective strategies to follow when designing signage to make sure the digital wayfinding is clear and easy to navigate.
Clear and colorful; not overcrowded
Visitors will be able to comprehend clean and simple designs quick and easily. For visitor satisfaction, an important criteria is speed of service. Hence they need to be able to find their route as effortlessly as possible. If a vast amount of information has to be provided, consider interactive digital displays with multiple screens and have wayfinding only on one of those. This allows for people to sort through the information in their own time. But it is always best to have the wayfinding up front without having users to dig through long navigation processes.
Color coded maps
Color coding maps makes wayfinding faster and easier to remember for visitors. When designing with color codes, make sure to stick to a rationale. For instance, a mall should have all shops in one color, restaurants in another, washrooms in another and so on. Instead of using many colors to make it colorful, it needs to make sense to the audience. If printed wayfinding placards also are used within the building, those colors also should match the digital screen designs.
Visual paths to show the way
For large facilities, ‘you are here’ and destination icons are quite confusing because several steps (including change of floors and buildings) are involved in getting to the destination. Route lines are an effective solution for easier wayfinding. A person can obtain a complete visual of how to get to their destination from where they are as compared to a dot in the distance for which they have to figure out a route. Color coding for route lines is also a good idea – walking, elevators, lifts, etc.
Use standardized icons
Any additional visual cue, such as start and endpoint icons in the design, is always a bonus for the audience. Recognizable icons for common areas such as elevators, exits and washrooms should also be used. Setting up an information desk at the main entrance for about a week/month when the building first opens up is a good idea for taking notes when people inquire for directions.
ADA guidelines must be met
Digital signage must be designed in accordance with ADA guidelines. Usually, this means all touchable icons to be placed at the bottom. Also consider other issues such as colorblindness when considering design elements and colors. An effective design team will be able to provide recommendations for these.