Great Wayfinding and Architectural Signage at Work in a Hospital
In previous posts, we talked about hospital wayfinding as being an extension of its advocacy for health and healing. Patients, visitors and even staff who can easily navigate around the sprawl of a typical metropolitan hospital campus avoid the stress and confusion of poor (or lack of) signage at the key decision points throughout the facility. Even more important, critical healthcare decisions are often made against the clock, such as when an ambulance rolls onto the campus and must locate the emergency room stat.
A good friend recently visited a hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, and was absolutely floored by the clarity of the architectural signage and the wayfinding plan of the hospital. Designers may quibble with the bright, Crayola colors, but make no mistake: my friend, a medical professional himself who works in one of the largest healthcare research institutions in the US, and whose own patients are routinely at least half an hour late because of the hospital’s bad wayfinding, was impressed with how easy it was to find exactly what he was looking for at the Canadian facility.
Yes, bright, canary-yellow may not be the most pleasing aesthetic choice, but its visibility and contrast with the heavy, black print make for arresting and therefore easily scanned signs. What’s more, the hospital used color-coding to direct visitors, patients and staff to different wings and buildings and carried through with the color scheme on its directories.
To make wayfinding even easier, the hospital also included clear, easy-to-understand directional symbols on the floor that also continued the same color scheme as those on the wall signage. Note that the hospital chose to highlight what are likely the most requested locations, including the parking lot, the information desk and the emergency room.
People searching for the Cardiac Echo lab, for example, are instructed by the above signage to “follow the red floor line,” which you can see towards the bottom-left half of the photo above.
Regardless of how you feel about the color palette above, surely you’ll agree that the wayfinding solution has done its primary job: to direct people to their destination quickly, effortlessly and efficiently.
I’d love to hear your own examples of great hospital wayfinding solutions. Feel free to share them in the comments section below!