Community Author: Hannah Day
Due to a family emergency I found myself spending a lot of time in an aging hospital waiting room. I won’t soon forget the moment of panic as my fiancé and I first pulled into the hospital parking garage and were suddenly unable to locate the elevator that would take us to the emergency room. We had seen the sign for the main emergency entrance only moments before when pulling into the hospital campus, but that was four floors down. Once inside, the directional signs in the hospital didn’t offer much assistance. In a moment of crisis when we should have been supporting our family, we argued as to which way the sign was telling us to turn.
When navigating a high-stress environment, it is important for information be presented clearly and consistently. This is where a carefully planned and executed wayfinding system comes into play. Making sure that your wayfinding and identification system is not only attractive but functional is a must for healthcare environments.
What Have You Not Thought Of?
If you work in a hospital, you know that place like the back of your hand. Most often if you see a confused couple arguing about the direction they should take you’d be able to set them on the right path verbally. This information, however, should be presented to patients and visitors clearly and consistently without having to take up the valuable time of you or your staff.
Stop and ask yourself; what seems obvious to me but I continually find myself explaining to patients and visitors? The list may be as short as “which elevator should I take to visit the maternity ward” or it could be as serious as a visitor using the wrong entrance unable to locate a family member who is in the emergency room.
If you find that there are directional and identification challenges you often have to commit hours each month to verbally clear up, you might benefit from having an experiential designer survey your campus and provide a Wayfinding audit. These services can help you identify a first time patient or visitor’s frustrations related to finding their way. A survey of your campus can also identify and help to address other issues you might not have thought about, like making sure signs are ADA compliant, or that fire and emergency exits are clearly marked and visible from a distance.
You may realize while reading the information presented here that your campus needs a wayfinding tune-up. Perhaps you aren’t sure that your signs are update with ADA or other code compliance issues. If you have any of these questions, you may be wondering what is next? Thankfully, most wayfinding and identification challenges can be addressed by working with an Experiential Graphic Designer. At INNERFACE, we pride ourselves in offering clients expertise in wayfinding and design. Get in touch today to learn more about how to make your campus a friendlier environment that best represents your brand.