From Horsens to Dubai, naming strategies – i.e. how we designate the various destinations within a given space – is a vital part of our work with wayfinding. In airports and hospitals, regardless of where we work, we deal with people who are in a stressful mode. We know from experience and research that when people are stressed, nervous or insecure, or all three at once, they cannot cope with too complicated information.
The tool box of naming strategies is relatively small. Apart from the full destination names, we basically have letters and numbers to do the job. It’s never a coincidence whether we use numbers or letters to guide people.
We also do our best to ensure consistency. Connecting flights, transfer flights and connections are all the same in an airport, but the difference of words is a challenge for a stressful mind. So, if we settle for transfer flights, we stick to it.
Speaking of stressful minds, if there’s a place one must be aware of the starting point of the user journey starts at home, it’s at hospitals. If people come to have an x-ray, they are likely to look for a sign with the word x-ray. If the hospital expects them to look for image diagnostic, they are lost.