Wayfinding tech – does it help?

There have been a number of technology solutions emerging with the potential to support wayfinding.

For indoor environments there is a move to more dynamic signage that offers the potential to adapt the message as necessary.  A new product suggests we might also be able to do it with the floor soon – www.stuff.tv/philips/led-carpets-could-banish-boring-floors-good/news.  The product uses LEDs in the carpet to be able to show pretty much whatever you want.

Indications on the floor obviously have some limitations especially in crowded environments (when you can’t see the floor!) but we can see some value in moving images to encourage crowd flow or in providing supporting messages to reassure people they are moving in the right direction.  We’d see it more in encouraging behaviour rather than being used in isolation to navigate.

In an outdoor environment there is a new paint finish that is being trialled in Cambridge that glows in the dark.  The inventors claim that it could be bright enough to do away with street lights.

If it works (we saw the path soon after installation and on that evening it wasn’t as glowing as the images), we can see a wayfinding value in showing primary routes through a space.
Finally, there is the ever-present Google Street View now coming to an airport near you.  Street View has now mapped the interior of Gatwick Airport allowing passengers to tour the airport before they arrive.  The wayfinding value of this is pretty limited as the chances are we will have forgotten what we have seen by the time we arrive.  



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