What is Wayfinding

About us and what we do

Wayfinding is not signage

It’s the collective term given to the many process by which human beings navigate places and spaces.

Today recognised as a necessary element for every built environment, the term “Wayfinding” was first coined by Kevin Lynch in his book “The Image of the City” (1960). In it he recognised the connection between psychology, human behaviour and the environment to explore how people perceived their environments in predictable ways. Thus, in scientific circles, wayfinding is understood as the collective term used to explain the cognitive processes used in navigation.

Although Lynch’s initial understandings have developed significantly in the world of behavioural science and are now well recognised as a means of influencing user experience, wayfinding has struggled to be truly understood commercially.  This is partly because it has been seized upon by many different disciplines to explain their own approach to navigation.  As such many of the benefits have been missed.

One of the most common misconceptions is that wayfinding is primarily about signage. This is due to the term being used by design studios or sign companies to describe add on services allied to their core business of graphic design, branding or sign manufacture.

At Wayfinder Associates we believe Wayfinding centres around three essential elements:
  1. Achieving the most efficient movement of people around any place or space.
  2. Ensuring they do not miss out on valuable experiences.
  3. Making sure they take away with them the most positive memory of their visit when they leave.

Our consultants were quick to recognise the significance of wayfinding as an independent discipline and understood if carried out correctly, the process can have a hugely beneficial role to play, not only in providing a framework for effective navigation, but also in delivering many other significant benefits to aid the effective functioning of human environments.

Who We Are

Wayfinder Associates are independent wayfinding strategists. We work closely with organisations to ensure the environments they operate within are intuitive, simple to navigate and work effectively for the human beings they serve.

Over the past 20 years our passion for delivering what we know to be an important message has seen us share information and produce presentations for delivery to clients as far afield as the Middle East and North America.

In 2009 our consultants were asked by the NBS Learning Channel (RIBA Enterprises Limited) to write and contribute towards the production of a Wayfinding training module for UK architects, titled “Signing up to Wayfinding techniques”.

The scope of our experience covers all human environments and our consultants have worked successfully with an impressive list of clients, including hospitals, universities, local authorities, airports and transportation groups.

In the Business sector, our clients range from large multi-national corporations, operating in the words of finance, manufacturing and logistics, to smaller localised enterprises with very specific needs.

We consider ourselves uniquely placed to provide all the important insight necessary to deliver the right answer.

What We Do

Wayfinder Associates are three dimensional problem solvers who deliver effective spatial communications for complex human environments; but we don’t stop there.

There is far more to wayfinding than helping people reach their destination. When applied correctly, wayfinding can be a powerful tool for the management of any environment.  As well as maximising an organisations brand image, it can have a hugely beneficial effect on how efficiently an environment operates.

We help human beings get the most from the places they visit and when they do, they feel less stressed, more positive and more fulfilled. They become less demanding, more willing and more supportive. This leads to a multitude of benefits for our clients, who see operating costs reduce, waste decrease and revenues grow.

We help our clients fulfill all the recognised wayfinding requirements by making sure their users have all the information they need to navigate with ease in even the most complex environments. We deliver the right information in the right place at the right time by delivering strategies that break down complexity, so environments appear cohesive, familiar and inviting.

How we do it

At Wayfinder Associates we follow a clearly defined methodology designed to deliver a holistic and systematic approach to Wayfinding.

Using a unique blend of experience and specialist techniques, backed by an essential understanding of human behaviour, we break down complexity to explain even the most complicated environments in a manner that is logical, user friendly and welcoming.

We recognise the cognitive processes associated with wayfinding and understand why they impact heavily on the way we perceive our environments; and behave as a result.  We use this knowledge to deliver successful solutions that harness these crucial processes to best effect, rather than working against them.

We follow a comprehensive process developed from our own unique experience with input from leading scientific experts.  Employed in the field successfully for almost 20 years, it delivers a staged and structured consultation, conducting analysis, offering information and responding to feedback.

Importantly, the process is designed to promote understanding through informed discussion, so our clients stay in complete control at all times, offering approval at every stage.

We know people do not respond well to change unless the message is carried in the right way. Experience show us good communication, clear understanding and an acknowledgement of the reasons behind it are essential for success, all of which are important parts of the process.

Fundamental Objectives

At Wayfinder Associates, every project begins with four fundamental objectives.

Easy navigation

Ensuring users are able to navigate even the most complex of environment in the most efficient way possible.

Valuable Experiences

While doing so we make sure valuable experiences are not missed.

Positive Memory

Ensuring users retain a positive memory of their visit when they leave.

Achieve Objectives

Finally, we look to achieve these aims while looking to support the organisations commercial and operational objectives

Developing technology that serves a purpose.

At Wayfinder Associates, we approach technology from a different direction and our primary concern is the benefit it will deliver to our client.

There are many important factors to consider before a decision is made. As wayfinding consultants, we are here to help you with that decision and advise you on the direction to take for the greatest benefit.

Like what you see?

We provide strategies which communicate clear and consistent messages, to meet the specific needs of all users.

07780 683 200