The Future of Wayfinding at the 2018 Wayfinding and Placemaking Conference

There’s plenty of signs that wayfinding design is turning to technology to improve user experiences. While maps have been employed for basic wayfinding for some time, the industry simply hasn’t been swayed – but that’s changing. If the 2018 SEGD Wayfinding and Placemaking Conference is any indication, we’ll see digital, interactive and personal wayfinding experiences become a staple of designed environments in the near future.

A presentation on the City of Columbus highlighted why there’s a move towards integrated methods for providing wayfinding. The city has made major investments in improving the public space of the city, and tying the city to Ohio State University. To provide a great user experience in such a complex environment is a challenge, and is where having a more personalized experience becomes essential. By building the city’s wayfinding system on a robust platform of centralized information, then delivering that information through an array of unified media, the city hasn’t just built an amazing place for visitors, it’s giving them the tools to get the most from their visit.

Of course, physical wayfinding remains the mainstay of the wayfinding system. Digital must supplement and enhance the brand and the experience, and must reach customers in the way they want to use the space. Integrated experiential solutions extend the gateway beyond the physical boundaries of the property, into living rooms. There must be a consistency of information, brand and message, to ensure that the first impression (the first intersection between people and place) is indicative of what to expect from the journey. This has long been the challenge, and it appears that technology is finally meeting that challenge head on.

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