PAM Series #3: Understand your user

Universities spaces are always in flux. With students, academics, visitors and staff moving around the campus in all different directions for all different needs – knowing your user is integral to smart wayfinding. To tackle this enormous task, we broke it down into four key points: Demographics, behaviours, goals and brand.

Visitor Demographics

Campus demographics tie into every element of the university life and wayfinding is no exception. Once you understand the encouraged behaviours of the visitor from your master plan, you can use this to gain an understanding of future use. Demographics for wayfinding extend beyond age, gender identity, and background. When making informed decisions, your team must understand everything from language preferences to traffic types, cyclists, cars or pedestrians?

Visitor behaviours

With a foundational understanding of demographics, you can plan for the behaviours of your visitor to encourage or support their journey. You wayfinding and ability to create a magnetic campus rely on recognising common behaviours of visitors. For instance, the busy university periods – will all the students’ flood to the pub or the food court come 1 pm? How about at 5 pm? Informing yourself on the day to day interactions of visitors with the space allows you to design the most immersive possible experience.

Visitor goals

The goal of every campus visitor is vastly different. Student attendance fluctuates throughout the semester with the start of classes, exam periods or study breaks. Graduations bring mass influxes of happy (and often lost) visitors. Managing multiple use cases and goals with one signage ecosystem is no small achievement, but gathering this detail at the start, plans a better system long term.


What is it you want your visitors to experience as they pursue these goals and behaviours? If you can guide them along this while reinforcing your brand throughout campus, it becomes more than just a wayfinding exercise. If the brand is aspirational, how can you carry this into wayfinding? More difficult than that, managing multiple stakeholders from marketing, facility management and operations is the tricky part of the task. The only way to achieve this is by investing time into particular workflow systems to collaborate on work without tedious back and forth.

Find out how to achieve this with integrated systems like PAM – Wayfinding made simple.

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