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Finding Your Way

It was Kevin Lynch who very first coined the word ‘wayfinding’ in his 1960 book The Image of the City. In it he described ‘the efficient movement of people in places and spaces’ as wayfinding.

Since the word was first coined, wayfinding has evolved into a common component of buildings and urban environments and has developed into a behavioural science, using strategies which aid human navigation.

However many people automatically assume wayfinding to be no more than signage, this is a misconception. Manoeuvring through an airport or the corridors of a hospital building can be difficult, and can either fill you with ease or frustration, depending on how well conceived the wayfinding system is. Given those examples, frustration is the last thing you want when you are trying to board your flight! How a person manages to navigate effectively without any problems is down to the how well a particular system works.

Understanding human behaviour is essential to wayfinding. The perception of information within a built environment allows people to navigate effectively.

An ideal wayfinding system allows users to intuitively travel towards their destination. Your customers or visitors who experience a seamless journey are much more likely to appreciate their surroundings and leave with a positive experience adding value to your brand. Wayfinding should be considered as part of your marketing.

A positive user experience will leave people with good memories of a building/location prompting them to visit again helping you to maximise your business objectives.

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