“Design Principles for Wayfinding”
In this article “Design Principles for Wayfinding”, the author defines three basic design criteria for making information spaces effectively navigable. First whether the navigator can discover or infer his (or her) present location; second, whether a route to the destination can be found; and third, how well the navigator can accumulate wafinding experience in the space (“5. Design Principles for Wayfinding”). The author supports these three criterions by outlining several principles that wafinding systems should employ, and provides illustrations to support several of the principles. The purpose of the article is to provide a basic outline for creating effective navigational systems and speaks in a very matter of fact tone that is authoritative yet does not speak down to the audience, which provides the author credibility with their assertions.
“Delightfully Lost: A New Kind of Wayfinding at Kew”
In this article Dawson and Jensen outline an in-depth commissioned study of the Kew Gardens visitors’ motivations and information needs around its facility. The aim of the study was to guide the development of new mobile applications. The article covers the scope of the study which included over 1,5000 visitor-tracking observations, 350 mini-interviews, 200 detailed exit interviews and 85 fulfillment maps, providing the Kew an incredibly useful insight into its visitors’ wants, needs and resulting behaviors (Dawson and Jensen). The study is interesting in that it explores how the counterintuitive idea – to help visitors become “delightfully lost” – has influenced mobile thinking at the Kew. The study outlines visitors’ social, emotional and spiritual, rather than intellectual motivations during their time visiting. The paper seeks to uncover the impact of mobile development, marketing and design and what principles apply to outdoor visitor attractions, and what effect that will have on future mobile developments for the Garden. The study is written in an easy going and caring voice, allowing users who may not be familiar with the concept of mobile applications to easily grasp the goals and outcomes for the Kew Gardens.
“Space Syntax And Spatial Cognition. Or Why the Axial Line?”
In this article, Penn describes space syntax (theories and techniques for the analysis of spatial configurations) research, which relates between how people move in different settings (both urban and in interior building space). Penn tries to outline not only how people move bases on this analyses, but also attempts to understand why people move in the ways they do (what are their motivations?). Penn reviews syntax research and cognition for individuals in the environmental space. The research proposes that cognitive space, defined as that space which supports our understanding of configurations more extensive than our current visual field, is not a metric space, but topological (Penn). Through this research, Penn is able to graph (and reasonably predict) how users will move about within a space. This article is written for the scientist, and uses high level thinking and explanations to derive at various conclusions. Readers in this space need to be interested in the topic to make it through both the research and conclusions.
“You Are Here: Why We Can Find Our Way to the Moon, but Get Lost in the Mall”
In his book “You Are Here: Why We Can Find Our Way to the Moon, but Get Lost in the Mall” Ellard writes whimsically about how humans are essentially lost in their own environment. Ellard draws parallels between animals with superior navigational skills, as well as some human outliers who are exceptionally directionally sound. Ellard tries to decode why humans, with technological advances in navigation, are prone to being lost. “In the age of GPS and iPhones, human beings it would seem have mastered the art of direction, but does the need for these devices signal something else—that as a species we are actually hopelessly lost.” (Ellard). Ellard points to several directional challenges that we face and ties them to our own (distorted) mental maps. This book concerns itself with not only the cartographic ineptitudes of humans but also delves into the deep seeded psychology behind how our brains are constructed to orient ourselves, even from an early age. Ellard uses several comical stories and references through the book, making this an entertaining and educational read.
“5. Design Principles for Wayfinding.” Web. 5 Feb. 2013. http://www.ai.mit.edu/projects/infoarch/publications/mfoltz-thesis/node8.html
Dawson, Emily, and Eric Jensen. “Towards A Contextual Turn in Visitor Studies: Evaluating Visitor Segmentation and Identity-Related Motivations.” Visitor Studies 14.2 (2011): 127–140. Web. 5 Feb. 2013. http://www.museumsandtheweb.com/mw2012/papers/delightfully_lost_a_new_kind_of_wayfinding_at_
Ellard, Colin. You Are Here: Why We Can Find Our Way to the Moon, but Get Lost in the Mall. 1st ed. Anchor, 2010. Print.
Penn, Alan. “Space Syntax And Spatial Cognition Or Why the Axial Line?” Environment and Behavior 35.1 (2003): 30–65. Web. 5 Feb. 2013. http://eab.sagepub.com/content/35/1/30.short