Posted by Yvonne on 11.06.2010

We have only just finished working on the bid phase of a PPP (Public Private Partnership – WikiPedia),  developing the wayshowing strategy for a large hospital and are already on to the next one.

PPP’s are challenging and exciting at the same time; challenging because the limited time that the team has to develop the design concepts, and exciting because the architects, landscape designers, interior designers and us wayshowing strategists, work very closely together.

A quality wayshowing system is a critical component of any complex built environment.

It employs established theories of human cognition and human factors research, to deliver information in a way that allow humans to intuitively and/or automatically navigate a complex environment.  It minimises the amount of time, attention, and energy a person spends finding their way to a destination.

Wayshowing strategists work with a number of built-form design disciplines from project inception through to implementation, review, and on going maintenance, to deliver buildings and environments that exploit innate human behavioural traits in order to achieve business or social outcomes.

Patients, visitors, educators, researchers, medical staff, administrators, retailers, delivery services, and the diverse surrounding community all have substantially different navigational needs. Additionally, within each user group, individuals use different methods of transport.

A successful wayshowing strategy ensures quality of service by carefully considering the individual needs of each type of user group, as well as the needs of the facility as a cohesive system. It requires a holistic approach, both geospatially and operationally.  To ensure quality and cost effectiveness, it is important that a wayshowing strategy develops in parallel with a hospital at all phases of development.

It is also important that the planning of the wayshowing system be front loaded at the higher conceptual levels or project development.  Doing so ensures consistency in the overall wayshowing strategy, which is paramount to a successful wayshowing system.  Front loading strategy also prevents the trickle down of wayshowing system defects that would require post design, post construction documentation, or post construction remediation.  Correction of such defects can be extremely costly and reduce the overall performance of the wayshowing system.

ID/Lab draws on its experience-based knowledge and current scientifically based research to employ a best practice wayfinding/wayshowing strategy. We utilise that knowledge and the research findings to assist architectural, interior, graphics, and urban designers with the development of both implicit and explicit environmental stimuli.