Wayfinding in Complex Medical Facilities: The Indexicality of Directional Arrows

Clementinah Rooke, John Rooke, Patricia Tzortzopoulos, Lauri Koskela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives, Purpose, or Aim: The aim of this article is to contribute to the better design of wayfinding systems by explicating the indexical properties of directional arrows and their consequences for wayfinding behavior.
Background: The challenges associated with designing for the wayfinding needs of the different groups of users continue to be documented with the poor design of built environments being largely to blame for the wayfinders’ inability to navigate complex settings. Directional arrows have been found to be especially problematic in such settings. Methods: Ethnographic data were collected and analyzed over a period of 3 years in three overlapping phases. The unique adequacy requirement of methods, which stipulates that the methods used to produce a description of a situation should originate from the situation they describe, was adopted.
Results: Directional arrows derive their meaning from the position they occupy within the physical environment and from three sources: the spatial configuration of the setting, the positioning of the sign within the setting, and the directional arrow itself. The affordance closest to the sign will be taken as the one which the sign refers to. Wayfinders treat that affordance as being indicated by the arrow until such time as it becomes apparent that it is not.
Conclusions: In response to the need to find lasting solutions to the enduring problems of wayfinding, this article demonstrates how better design of wayfinding systems can be achieved by explicating the indexical properties of directional arrows and their consequences for wayfinding behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-131
Number of pages14
JournalHealth Environments Research and Design Journal
Volume16
Issue number4
Early online date15 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Wayfinding in Complex Medical Facilities: The Indexicality of Directional Arrows'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this