Does Your Facility Need A Professional Wayfinding Audit?

Posted on Jan 21, 2013

By Erin Deshler, Director of Planning & Design

Wayfinding has an impact on how visitors perceive your facility. When visitors enter an unfamiliar setting – without clear direction – their level of frustration and stress can increase. The facility may be perceived as disorganized, unwelcoming, and even uncaring. An effective sign system can help ensure that your patients and visitors have a positive experience. Often times, hospital staff is so familiar with their workplace, that they don’t view it from the perspective of a first time visitor. An independent audit conducted by a professional wayfinder can identify what works and what needs improvement.

Less is more, but sometimes more is required… How do you avoid over-signing?

An effective sign system is more than placing a sign at every entrance, door, or room. It should begin with a process that considers the layout and design of the facility, the best way to guide traffic through a facility (and back out), and how to address future changes. A good sign system needs to be changeable and an independent wayfinding audit evaluates sign design and construction details as well. Can sign changes be made efficiently and cost effectively? Can signs be easily retrofitted or updated for code compliance or facilities requirements? What about branding and color changes?

Often basic “Wayfinding 101” adjustments can have a significant impact!



Start outside and answer the following questions:

  1. Parking areas and main entrances recognizable and accessible?
  2. Information and registration desks visible and easily identified?
  3. Directories with department listings and floor plan maps available?
  4. Directional signs clearly visible with key destinations listed?
  5. Signs have a “uniform” look – consistent copy, arrows, and symbols?
  6. Public elevator areas clearly marked and include elevator directories?
  7. Directional signs posted at all intersections and decision points?
  8. Reinforcing directional signs placed at reasonable distances?
  9. Restroom, Stair, Utility and Patient Room signs meet ADA code requirements?
  10. Is your sign system easy to manage and cost effective to maintain?

If you answered “No” to three or more questions, you might need help. Signage and wayfinding is one of the top 10 reasons why patients and visitors have a negative experience,and one of the easiest areas to improve.  Please feel free to contact us to schedule a free wayfinding audit. We can point you in the right direction.