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Hospital wayfinding and signage design

High-quality hospital wayfinding design is fundamental for patients and visitors to feel safe and empowered, and for staff to be able to carry out their work as efficiently as possible. By integrating this knowledge in every step of the design process Triagonal creates bespoke hospital wayfinding solutions to the benefit of patients, visitors and staff.

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Triagonal's Partner and Head of Healthcare Peter Donner

Peter Donner

Director, Health

Hospital wayfinding solutions – Why is it Important?

At Triagonal we know that a strong and effective hospital wayfinding design improves workflows and frees time for healthcare staff. And at the same time, it improves user experiences and establishes credibility and trust of patients and visitors.

To us the objective of information design and wayfinding in hospitals is to guide users to their destination as intuitively as possible. Developing intuitive healthcare wayfinding requires a deep knowledge of how built environments facilitate wayfinding as well as knowledge of human behaviour and experience. This entails analysis of the specific spaces and the behaviour of the people who use them.

Evidence-based design

This is especially important in relation to hospitals. Evidence shows that when people are stressed, they are less capable of taking in new information and finding their way.

Due to the nature of most hospital visits, many people are emotionally affected and feel stressed – at times to a large extend – when they arrive at the hospital. And we know that they become even more affected when they are not able to find their way. If you think about it, you might remember a situation like this and recall the feelings?

In the end this can result in patients being late for their appointments as well as being less receptive to treatment due to the stress brought on them by feeling lost and confused. Furthermore, patients and visitors who feel lost will often turn to staff for help and reassurance taking up time that staff could have used for other tasks.

Triagonal testing wayfinding solution with staff and patients
Together with patients and staff at Randers Regional Hospital, Triagonal tested the effect of our hospital signage design by conducting before and after studies

By creating bespoke hospital wayfinding solutions based on evidence Triagonal addresses the challenges that many hospitals experience. To measure the effect of our solutions we made a before and after study at the Regional Hospital in Randers, Denmark. You can see the results from the study here.

Are you curious to know what we can do for your healthcare organisation to optimise flows and user experiences? Contact our Director of Health, Peter Donner, for more information.

Patient wayfinding

When designing wayfinding for healthcare facilities patients and visitors will often be more in need of wayfinding information than the staff who work there every day.

However, especially in large hospitals, like e.g., Başakşehir City Hospital in Istanbul, the sheer size and complexity makes wayfinding necessary for patients, visitors and staff. In order to meet the needs of all these groups, we consider the first-time users alongside the staff, and integrate their feedback and experiences in the final product.

At Başakşehir City Hospital in Istanbul the hospital wayfinding design is based on the combination of numbers, letters and colours
Başakşehir City Hospital in Istanbul where the wayfinding systematics is based on the combination of numbers, letters and colours. These codes are enhanced above the supplementing information. Furthermore, pictograms are used where possible to add another graphical layer. Foto: Rönesans Group

We accommodate the differing needs of the different user groups in the way we communicate, by adhering to the principles of Design for All and a user-centred design process.

User-centered hospital wayfinding design

The core value, on which Triagonal’s design process is based, is user-centeredness. Our starting point is identifying the diversity of the users’ needs and capabilities at the hospital in order to accommodate as many of them as possible.

This requires a conscious approach to information hierarchies, clear differentiation between primary and secondary information, and an awareness about when and where reassurance must be provided.

In short, we embark on our process with four simple questions:

  1. Who are the users?
  2. What are they looking for?
  3. What are their potential limitations
  4. Where are they supposed to go?

Language, age, previous experience, cultural background and individual cognitive capabilities are significant factors to be considered when designing information systems.

Triagonal's wayfinding intersectionality model
Language, age, previous experience, cultural background and individual cognitive capabilities are significant factors to be considered when designing information systems.

By adhering to this user-centred approach Triagonal’s hospital wayfinding solutions can help replace stress and confusion in high tech and complex hospital environments with comfort, safety, efficiency and the feeling of service.

These thoughts also permeate our signage design and design of other wayfinding elements for hospitals.

Hospital Signage Design

Patients and visitors have to process a lot of information upon their arrival as they have to worry, not only about their reason for being at the hospital, but also about how and whether they will get to their appointment on time.

Our task when designing hospital wayfinding signage is to create a coherent wayfinding strategy using signage and other elements to support the navigation. Triagonal’s hospital signage design relies on a combination of different tools. Triagonal’s Director of Health, Peter Donner, explains:

“By including colours, letters, numbers, raised patterns on walls or floors, sound and pictograms, we ensure that as many as possible, irrespective of their preconditions, can decode the wayfinding. This allows for example people with dyslexia to navigate using colour codes or people with visual impairments to navigate using raised patterns on the walls or on the floor. Different sorts of communication help users navigate using whatever means they feel most at ease with.”

These thoughts about accessibility are embedded in our design. Based on decades of experience within the field, all of our wayfinding strategies are tailored to meet the specific requirements of each hospital.

Signage using a combination of colours, letters and symbols to ensure that as many as possible can read and understand the patient wayfinding.
Wayfinding signage at Regional Hospital Horsens using a combination of colours, letters and numbers.

Digital wayfinding elements like information kiosks, dynamic signage or personal devices are also to be considered when designing hospital wayfinding systems ready for the future. At Triagonal we always investigate the value that can be added to the project by including digital wayfinding elements on-site for general information or via online platforms or solutions to provide personalised information to each individual user.

Go to Services to learn more about the services we can include in your project.

Bespoke wayfinding interior design for hospitals

Since not two hospitals are alike, we don’t operate with standard solutions or one-size-fits-all. On the contrary, Triagonal works closely with hospital administration, staff, architects and building contractors to provide innovative and high-quality solutions adaptable to each unique medical environment.

We always strive to create hospital wayfinding that is compatible with the architecture and the natural surroundings of the space, and yet, at the same time, safeguarding brand identity.

Do you want to know more about what we can do for you and your healthcare organization? Get in contact here.