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Hospital wayfinding and signage design

Good 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 effectively as possible. Transforming this knowledge into practice in every step of the design process Triagonal creates bespoke hospital wayfinding solutions to the benefit of both 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 about human behaviour and experience. This entails analysing 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 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 can recall the feelings it caused?

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 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, its sheer size and complexity makes wayfinding for both patients, visitors and staff necessary. Therefore, we consider the first-time users alongside the staff, and integrate both user groups’ individual situations 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 point of departure is understanding the diversity of user needs and capabilities in the context of the hospital to accommodate as many needs as possible.

This requires a conscious approach towards information density and hierarchies, clear differentiation between primary and secondary information, and when and where reassurance needs to be provided.

In short, the approach takes its departure in four simple questions:

  1. Who are the users?
  2. What are they looking for?
  3. What are their potential limitations
  4. Where do you want them 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-centered approach Triagonal’s hospital wayfinding solutions can help exchange stress and confusion in high tech and complex hospital environments for comfort, safety, efficiency and a high level of service.

This also shines through in 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 in time.

Our task when designing hospital wayfinding signage is to create coherent and systematic information and wayfinding strategies using signage and various other elements that can aid navigation. Triagonal’s hospital signage design relies on a combination of different tools. As Triagonal’s Director of Health, Peter Donner, explains:

“By including colours, letters, numbers, raised patterns on walls or floors, sound and picogrammes, we ensure that as many as possible, irrespective of their preconditions, can decode the wayfinding systematics. 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 means of communication provide users with the ability to navigate using whatever means they are more comfortable with.”

Hereby considerations about accessibility are embedded in our design. Based on decades of experience within the field, all of our wayfinding strategies are tailored to serve the intentions and 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

There are no two identical hospitals, no standard solutions, no one-size-fits-all. Therefore, Triagonal works closely with hospital administration, staff, architects and building contractors to provide innovative and high-quality solutions adapted 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, while 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.