Wayfinding: Design for Understanding
All visitors to a healthcare facility are striving for the same goal: to navigate the complex, high-tech medical environment of a healthcare facility at a time when illness, stress, and fatigue have depleted their emotional, physical, and cognitive resources.
Often, the first challenge for visitors in achieving this goal—the successful navigation of the often-overwhelming medical environment—is simply being able to find their way around the facility. Unfortunately, most hospitals and medical centers are complex mazes of long and confusing corridor systems with bends, turns, and foreign-sounding signs. Nothing looks familiar, and visitors, often stressed with demands of an illness, can find coping with confusing corridors frustrating to say the least.
More than just a convenience, the basic ability for people to get from point A to point B—a process called wayfinding—with minimal anxiety and aggravation provides patients, visitors, and, ultimately, the healthcare facility with some significant benefits.