Their work has ranged from the successful transformation of complex wayfinding strategies for international airports, to major transport interchanges and the production of wayfinding guidelines for their management and control.
Previous clients include Manchester Airport Group, Merseyrail, National Express and BAA and our experience across all sectors has provided us with a unique insight into your world. It means we not only understand your problems, but we know exactly how to identify the causes and structure the best solution.
Stress is one of the main causes of disorientation, as individuals become task focussed, causing them to miss out on important information if not presented in the right way. As wayfinders we understand, we understand the impact of stress and other factors on the human cognitive processes, including our spatial awareness and as such we know exactly what must be done to combat it.
Evolution within the sector has seen dramatic change in the way services and information is delivered. Technology including real time information and ticketing processes has changed the way services are accessed, but has also brought with it new and different challenges.
Facilities are often hugely different in character, ranging from tight crowded and restrictive to bright, spacious and modern. Individual modes of travel have evolved their own cultures, which brings with it certain expectations, yet when users move between services they are often hugely different in character, which causes them to question their understanding, even when there should be no doubt. This is particularly true of interchanges where it is important to explain the transfer from one stage to another. Each brings its own set of wayfinding challenges and as such they not only need to offer clear direction but carefully control the way they are recognised and understood.
Although access can be quite literally at their fingertips, some users can feel more isolated than ever from the personal contact they need for reassurance. For this reason, exceptional wayfinding is not only essential for these facilities to work effectively but also to explain and promote themselves correctly. As such good wayfinding must be a fundamental part of their communications strategies.
In the most rudimentary operational context, transport providers are in the business of moving and processing people and in doing so they need to meet budgets and targets. However, they exist to help, connect, support and enrich their users and each person they serve is an individual with their own emotions, their own needs and their own understanding of the world.
As wayfinders, our task is to answer the operational demands, while creating a stimulating environment, offering the perfect balance of satisfaction, opportunity and care. Our experience has proved that focussing on the individual is the only way to achieve both. For it is only when the user’s needs are met can they reach their objectives and the operation work effectively.
As Wayfinding specialists we know one of the most important aims of any wayfinding strategy is to promote positive brand image. We understand that brand image extends well beyond your logo and corporate colour pallet and is affected by every aspect of your operation.
We know if the image you project is to show your organisation in the most positive light, care must be taken to introduce the correct brand elements into the wayfinding solution, in the right place at the right time so they connect all aspects of the operation in a cohesive and intuitive way.
We know the individuals who use these facilities are the products of differing backgrounds and different cultures and as such see the world in completely different ways. We also understand their needs are varied and often bring with them extreme personal challenges.
As such we understand the individual challenges faced by every user as they try to make sense of what are often visually stimulating environments, where information overload often assaults the senses and important information is often lost amidst a crescendo of competing messages.
We realise that commercial opportunities are sadly missed because they fail to attract attention or explain how they can be accessed. We know users are frustrated by signage that sends them in the wrong direction, stops short of taking them to where they want to be, does not account for their need, or simply goes unseen.
We also know these issues are not as straightforward as they might appear. We know there is rarely a single isolated reason for a person getting lost, confused, becoming anxious, or feeling unvalued, rather a large number of individual factors that come together to create a situation that is often impossible to avoid.
We understand how the user’s perception of what they will encounter will control their thinking even before they arrive on site and why it will cause them to become confused when situations are not as they expect.
We appreciate how the cultural comprehension of a site by its staff can cross unrecognised over to the public domain, to compromise understanding.
We understand the importance of understanding the user demographic and as such the limits it places on the wayfinding elements we can use to deliver the solution.
We know the importance of social norms and why simple things like the identification of levels can have a profound effect on a person’s ability to navigate. We also know why the format and placement of information is crucial to user understanding. We know why a change colour or a slight change in sign type or position can send out a completely different message.
We know that change is constant and inevitable. We know operations evolve, processes change and priorities alter with demand and we know the disruptive impact this can have if not handled correctly. We also know how to deliver the right solutions to accommodate change, with minimum of impact and at the minimum of cost.
The key to exceptional wayfinding lies in understanding how the environment is perceived and how we as human beings relate to it. This begins with the unique way we structure our analysis.
For many these facilities are a cause of concern, anxiety or fear, while for others an opportunity to take a breath. Many may be visiting on a daily basis or others simply passing through. This gives rise to a challenging set of circumstances. However, the common factor is that each and every one must visit for the very first time. For this reason we must focus on understanding the site through the eyes of the first time user.
The user must never be over-burdened, or unduly challenged. Information must be broken down into manageable amounts and displayed in a manner that is clear and consistent.
Not only must the user be able to reach their primary objective with ease, but they must be given a structure which allows them to orientate themselves effectively throughout the space, so they can move effortlessly from any given point to another.
As wayfinding consultants we know there is no better way to build a positive brand image than to deliver a positive experience. If the user is able to reach their required destinations and realise their objectives easily and in a relaxed manner this will be achieved.
At Wayfinder Associates we understand your environments and our specialist knowledge and techniques allow us to deliver solutions capable of overcoming these challenges, to ensure success long into the future.
In addition to the core functionality, our solution allows for a number of different elements to be included on the app to satisfy individual need, providing opportunities no matter the environment.