Effective wayfinding in a large and complex site such as a hospital is essential. A hospital receives a large number of visitors every year. A hospital’s management should strive to improve the visitor & patient experience by ensuring members of the public find their destination quickly and efficiently. A significant majority of visitors to the hospital will be under considerable stress, whether receiving treatment or visiting a sick relative/friend. Wayfinding aims to reduce stress, provide clarity, & reduce ambiguity.

Challenge

A field trip to a designated site is planned. In this case study, the designated site is a hospital in the Calgary area. Groups of four are tasked to prepare an analysis and critique of the hospital with respect to wayfinding, its design and the personal experience it generates. The hospital had particular locations that were difficult to find, based on a number of issues such as inconsistency in design, complexity, lack of symbols, and more.

Solution

The group produced a report based on the hospital’s wayfinding system as collected evidence, while applying the principles of information design to a real-world situation. The evidence included first hand observations, process notes, discussions, and research. The group identified areas such as signage, orientation, naming conventions, consistency, building design, number systems, entrance, decision points, and information provided, which had wayfinding issues. In the report,they reported on their current provision and made suggestions for development.

Outcome

The report identified problems by providing recognition of how user-centred research informs the design process with respect to wayfinding problems. The initial report was presented to the hospital board for their feedback and collaboration, and the final report was submitted to the hospital and senior managers for their comments and action.