Context and Problem:
Maps and signs, as a visual element of orientation, are an integral primary component to wayfinding. These illustrations allow the user to efficiently analyze information in order to identity one’s location in relation to the surrounding built environment, whilst navigating through it from point A to point B.
However, the current campus map and the signage system that accompanies it fail to enhance one’s geosocial awareness especially when transmigrating along ‘Broadway’, the main outdoor passage on the main ground floor stemming from the West side to the East side of campus. Despite its simplicity in design, the continuous flow of external visitors to campus find it difficult to use Broadway as an effective means of navigating across campus due to their poor prior knowledge of the campus layout which ones need in order to not to get lost and disorientated by the complexity of the shapes of the buildings.
As such it is important to enhance the campus map and the signage system which accompanies it based on the concept of geospatial awareness.
Proposal and ideas:
Floor Hubs as a new wayfinding tool on campus, specifically to be implemented on ‘Broadway’, the place of first encounter for all visitors on campus, can provide a solution to the initial and continual disorientation caused by the campus layout, poor mapping, and failing signage. An inspiration for the idea came from the desire to exploit the almost artistic patterns the geometric shapes of the pavement (image below) stimulates in one’s imagination.
The use of floor signage instead of the conventional wall sings is not a new concept. One successful implementation of floor signage is the floor lines present in London Victoria station, UK, a form of route following from point A to Point B, crossing the station which allows the user to intercept the route all mid-way from Point C (image below). However, unlike the idea a propose below, there is a lack of interactive component of this system.
The integral component of Floor Hubs is replicating the idea of a sign post in which several directions are given in relations to one’s current geospatial position in the built environment. The floor hubs would operationalize the shapes and patterns of the pavement whilst providing information in the form of arrows, place names, and distances. This is similar to the use of geometric shapes to formulate arrows (image below) but this signage fails to translate other integral information such as distance and the location in which the arrow guides to.
Like the floor lines implemented in London Victoria Station, UK it is easier to flow a hypothetical line on a 2 dimensional flat surface instead of relying on an ambiguous three-dimension orientation in which the current wall signage generates. Floor hubs provide the interactive opportunity for the user to orient themselves in relation to their current location, use of the floor hub, due to the circular dynamics of the signage which allows the user to gain direction from a 360 degree prospective. The initial shapes that feasible for the floor hubs to provide an interactive aspect are below:
It is important to highlight that one problem the current camps maps exhibit is the overload of information. As mentioned in Gibson’s The Wayfinding Handbook: Information Design for Public Places in an era of ‘Information Architecture’ it is of heightened importance, in the context of implanting floor hubs to effectively balance the available information. As such it can be argued that too much information can distract the user’s geospatial awareness in relation to the built environment and this needs to be taken into account with floor hubs which also illustrate information. Taking this into account, these are the initial ideas of the visual design of the floor hubs:
The idea of using the floor as a medium for signage can be also stemmed to building names, often absent throughout campus. This would complement the places the floor hubs direct the users to, through later reinstating one’s location. An initial example of this is found below: