understanding the relationship between signage and mobile map for indoor wayfinding
Wayfinding, a fundamental task in daily life, becomes more complicated and difficult with greater development of a society. People can become lost and frustrated by being disoriented in complex built environments. This study investigates the effect of combining a physical wayfinding system with a digital device on users’ wayfinding performance in a building with architectural complexity. Through exploring the combined use of signage and the Google Indoor Map, the study provides information on their interactivity, effectiveness and reliability for use in a wayfinding system that may increase understanding the design of well-functioning wayfinding systems. Twenty participants ranging widely in age were divided into four groups, which performed under different combination of four variables: existing signage, newly-designed prototype signage, and combination of the Google Indoor Map with the two signage systems. The task was to find three given destinations: Bookends Café, Tier 5 and CELT. When video recordings of the participants’ wayfinding behavior during the three tasks were reviewed and the post-survey after the task was analyzed, the limitations of using the Google Indoor Map as an interactive wayfinding aid were revealed and the significant role of physical sign system was reinforced. The study discussed these findings and suggested future directions for the combined use of physical signage systems with digital aids to improve the quality of the wayfinding experience for users.
Prototype Wayfinding system for the Parks Library in Iowa State University