Wayfinder UK – wayfinding for Merseyrail
Wayfinder UK were commissioned by Merseyrail to undertake a general analysis of the organisation’s current wayfinding provision across 64 stations. Concentrating on how Merseyrail links up with other networks on the main national rail network.
We were briefed to highlight the issues compromising the current Wayfinding Strategy and to make recommendations on how it could be revised to improve the user experience while maximising the organisations image and operational efficiencies.
Focusing primarily on the passenger experience, we were asked to pay particular attention to signage and all other forms of visual communications (Technology) and identify all factors effecting the efficient movement of all users around all Merseyrail facilities. In our recommendations, we were asked to consider ongoing and planned developments in respect to both the physical environment as well as other Merseyrail initiatives.
Our observations revealed the current wayfinding provision to be very much design led and we were able to conclude the primary cause of many wayfinding problems were the designer’s lack of appreciation for the cognitive processes involved. We found that although no single overriding design issue was responsible for the wayfinding problems a large number of different issues were combining to create significant confusion.
The current wayfinding was also found to be in conflict with recognised best practice and performed poorly when assessed in respect to fundamental wayfinding considerations. It failed to follow many of the guidelines provided in response to statutory requirements.
As wayfinding consultants we are not simply concerned with just the installation of signs, but primarily by the understanding of human behaviour, in relation to navigation. In order to navigate effectively, human beings rely on a complex range of cognitive processes. Some of these processes are active, where we consciously seek out information to help us complete our journey, while others are passive and occur deep within our sub-conscious, the result of evolution and human conditioning. It is common practice for the planning and development phase of any wayfinding project to consider the active processes, however, the way information signs and their content is interpreted and acted upon within our sub-conscious, is often overlooked. Our purpose is to use our understanding of these cognitive processes and develop solutions which harness them to best effect, while considering the limitations of human spatial awareness.
Wayfinder UK is at the forefront of wayfinding in the UK and uses their own unique wayfinding methodology to achieve an effective and cost saving solution for all their clients. Merseyrail benefited massively from the comprehensive report produced which highlighted many of the issues and problems along the communication trial. This report and its recommendations now sets a clear path and guidelines for Merseyrail to follow and improve their passenger experience.
Wayfinding is much more than signage!
Less is more.