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about 7 years ago

Put the “way” in wayfinding

Not quite sure how to approach your wayfinding app? Not entirely sure what wayfinding is? Don’t worry, we’re here to help!

What is wayfinding?

Wayfinding refers to information systems that guide people through a physical environment and enhance their understanding and experience of the space.

Wayfinding is particularly important in complex built environments such as urban centers, healthcare and educational campuses, and transportation facilities. As architectural environments become more complicated, people need visual cues such as maps, directions, and symbols to help guide them to their destinations. In these often high-stress environments, effective wayfinding systems contribute to a sense of well-being, safety, and security.

Are there standards for wayfinding?

MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab cites eight principles for effective wayfinding:

  1. Create an identity at each location, different from all others.
  2. Use landmarks to provide orientation cues and memorable locations.
  3. Create well-structured paths.
  4. Create regions of differing visual character.
  5. Don't give the user too many choices in navigation.
  6. Use survey views (give navigators a vista or map).
  7. Provide signs at decision points to help wayfinding decisions.
  8. Use sight lines to show what's ahead.
What sort of technology is used for wayfinding?

There are a variety of technologies you can use when creating a wayfinding application. For instance you could use NFC tags or scannable QR codes to identify locations and provide information about the area.

You could also use iBeacon and geofencing technology to push notifications to your device based on its proximity to points of interest.

If you’re creating an iOS application you may want to consider using a combination of Core Location and Map Kit. Apple has a good document that will help you. You will need to take the GPS coordinates of all the locations you want to include and store these locations in resource files.

No matter what tech tools you choose to employ, don’t forget that submitted applications must:

  • Help visitors and members of the University of Pennsylvania community navigate and learn about Philadelphia AND the Penn campus.
  • Integrate wayfinding technology.
  • Use written, verbal, and/or visual cues to provide information about one or more of the following - on and off campus: current events, educational resources, historical  landmarks, landscape, and public art.
  • Run on a mobile device.

We’re here to help. If you have any questions about the challenge, post on the discussion forum or email and we’ll respond as soon as we can.