Your heart is about to beat out of your chest. You’re running late for a job fair but can’t seem to find where you need to go on the technology campus. You’ve been staring at the “You are here” point on the lobby map for eternity. You take an educated guess on the route and cross your fingers the instructions you’ve deciphered are correct.
Most of us have experienced, the “where am I going” panic before. No matter if you’re on route to a job interview, touring the campus of a large university, or visiting a loved one at the hospital, navigating a new location is never easy.
Digital wayfinding is most often seen in large establishments with high foot traffic – university campuses, museums, large tech campuses, and hospital systems use interactive wayfinding to guide their customers through an otherwise difficult-to-navigate space. Creating a positive visitor journey experience starts with wayfinding. Let’s review 10 ways that wayfinding makes the visitor experience better and increases the customer experience.
- Create a smooth arrival
Think a first impression starts when guests arrive at the campus? Think again. Consider ways you can minimize friction before visitors leave their homes. For some organizations, this may be as simple as an email with parking instructions. For other facilities, it’s detailed instructions of what a visitor can bring along with a short video of what to expect.
- Treat every visit like a first visit
As much as I’d like to think I’m still an expert in navigating my way around my alma mater, it’s been a few years since I was last on campus. Memories fade and routes change. Plus there’s always the matter of construction. Don’t assume returning visitors will know exactly where to go.
- Be consistent
Guests want to spend less time deciphering signage and more time enjoying the experience. Names, icons, and iconography should be consistent throughout the entire journey.
- Simplify your signage
Parking is often the source of stress for many visitors. Couple that with a parking sign that feels like it’s written in a different language and you could have guests vowing they’ll never return.
- Walk a mile in your guests’ shoes
Understand not only what the route entails, but be on the lookout for some hazards or points of decision. This will help you determine if guests need additional signage or help along the way.
- Define simple paths
Shortcuts can save time, but more often than cause navigation trouble for the guest. Focus on routes with clear paths and landmarks to guide visitors where they need to go.
- Encourage internal cooperation
When it comes to updating wayfinding changes, do you feel like the facilities team are often reactive or proactive? Get your team to witness what guests experience so they can appreciate everything that goes into creating a wayfinding strategy for your guests. No more scrambling in the last hour to design additional signage!
- Personalize the experience
What’s the one thing guests bring with them no matter where they go? Their mobile device. Leverage this by creating a personalized mobile experience with detailed instructions on where to go specific to each user. Bonus points if these steps are coupled with pictures of turning points.
- Get feedback
Think about different ways you can start a dialogue with your visitors. Is there a gap in the wayfinding experience you missed when walking a mile in their shoes? Consider requesting suggestions from guests; this will demonstrate how dedicated the facility is to delivering the best visitor experience possible.
- Give visitors what they want
We know a simple, guest-centric approach to wayfinding is important, but how do you implement changes using what you have? Come up with a plan on how you can act on the guest feedback you’ve received using resources at your disposal. It doesn’t need to be a complete renovation of your facilities; it can be as simple as adding additional signage throughout the campus.
- Create a smooth arrival
There are many ways to integrate wayfinding technology into the customer journey. One of the easiest ways is to create a custom web app without code that customers can access through their mobile devices, allowing them to find information and help navigate in real-time.
We dive into more detail about how you can delight guests throughout the entire journey here.