The picture of the light house instantly sets you back to once upon a time when fog was a true wayfinding obstacle. Fog or not – in wayfinding visibility is still essential. If you can see all the way to your destination it doesn’t get any easier to find your way. Good visibility and long sightlines lower the need for directions as well as reliance on previous experiences with wayfinding as there will not be many decisions to make along the way.
Therefore, one of the easiest tricks, if possible, when guiding people on their way, is to make sure there are good sightlines that allow us to see few, but big signs or landmarks from afar. The faraway mountain, the cairn or even the horizon provide a sense of orientation and somehow this is still what we try to copy in our signage. The more we can help people gain visual access to their destination, the better the wayfinding we provide. Therefore, the architecture of the place plays a big role. As Holscher and Brosamle put it: “If large parts of the environment are immediate visible, people rely less on stored spatial knowledge and more on information directly available in their field of vision.”