The Wayfinding audit process
Why a wayfinding audit or evaluation can benefit your business?
We are getting an increasing number of requests to undertake a wayfinding audit review or evaluation for a range of locations and the reasons are easy to understand why.
This real advantage of these independent audits is that it offers you the chance to get an independent assessment of your location, with a fresh set of eyes, perspective and with consideration for all user types. You can often find yourself so familiar with the location in question, as a manager, that it can be difficult sometimes to fully evaluate the wayfinding system.
Many locations have been designed by numerous companies (i.e. by various signage companies over time) and in order to try and solve problems that exist, an audit that evaluates everything in one report makes your decision making easier. We also work with architects, signage companies and those who are involved with wayfinding.
Who we’ve worked with – Clients
How we work with you
Staff and users – We value the need to work with your staff and to do so in a manner which causes the least amount of disruption to your staff as possible. Most of the auditing can be done without the need to involve any of your staff. We do recommend for some clients to include interviews with some of the users and/or staff but this is an option and dependent on your requirements. The frontline staff themselves are often the ones who will have the best idea of issues in the system, the staff often the source of direction giving and guidance.
Management – We greatly appreciate the value of listening to your needs and understanding your exact requirements or needs. We also understand that budgets also dictate many considerations in wayfinding and the need to sometimes focus on one part of the wayfinding system or to assess some parts and not others. The need also to often focus on commercial needs and steering behaviour as part of the wayfinding design is a common requirement, which we can include in the auditing.
Checklists – Over time we have developed a number of very details checklists for different locations such as urban centres, airports, ports, train stations, bus and coach stations, universities, hospitals and shopping malls. These checklists enable us to ensure that we cover all aspects of your system.
The Audit Process made Simple
- Agree what is needed – Initially we chat with you to confirm your wayfinding goals and to better understand your exact needs.
- The audit takes place – we spend whatever time is needed to do a full audit. The auditing can sometimes take hours, but most often takes a few days, through to several weeks or in some case months (for the largest locations such as major airports).
- How you can Use the Audit information – Once the audit has taken place and once we have provided you with a full detailed report, you then have several choices and options. You might wish to use this audit in a number of ways. You may, for example, choose to take some but not all suggestions and implement them. You may, on the other hand, wish to use the document to push for certain changes within your location or the document might be as a backup to cross-check the plans such as from architects and designs you are using. We can normally where needed, guide you or recommend different service providers if you need an actual wayfinding system, or parts of one, then implemented. The actual implementation of changes though is not a part of the audit.
We can direct the audit according to the specific needs and requirements you have. You may need to work on one specific area of your location and/or there may be specific issues you are looking to address. You might be concerned with steering behaviour (for commercial reasons), with route finding problems users have had, or with addressing the wasted work hours staff are having to use to direct people. Whatever your needs, we can adapt our auditing as needed. In doing our full audits, we do evaluate and see wayfinding as a process which is a qualitative one in that, rather than it just being about getting from A to B as quickly and easily as possible, we see it as an experience which you need to create an environment and experience for, that makes users want to re-use the location and space.
FAQs Answered about Getting a Wayfinding Audit
- What does the audit include and not include – For a fairly basic audit, a 25-page wayfinding report would be quite typical and includes recommendations for improvements. For the largest of audits and which take several weeks, the report can sometimes be around 100 pages. The report itself includes user feedback, photographs, observations and recommendations.
What is a Wayfinding Audit
You might understandably be wondering exactly what I mean by a wayfinding audit and what it comprises and how and why it might be useful for you. The audit will come in the form of a report which is based on a very detailed and thorough checklist which we have developed to cover a wide range of considerations which need to be evaluated in any wayfinding system. The report covers:
- A checklist with detailed notes of anything that we suggest needs changing, confirmation of what is working correctly and so on.
- A list of recommendations in summary based on your own specific location.
- Guides and tips for further improving your system (more generic information).
- We lay out the explanations into logical areas for your location. This means that if you wish to work on improving specific issues, due for example to budgetary considerations, the audit aids this process.
- Guidelines for managing your wayfinding in the longer term.
- The size of the report really depends upon the size of the project. Reports can be anything from 15 pages through to 200 pages.
This audit will be paid out such thjat you can use it as a checklist and as guidance for implementing actual changes.
Cost of a Wayfinding Audit
Audits start from £595 for a very basic one day report through to several thousand for audits which take several weeks. Every location we deal with has bespoke requirements and vary in size and complexity. For this reason prices do tend to be different for each project.
Please contact us to discuss getting a wayfinding audit started.