A design firm in the US has produced a new signage product called Points which is connected to the internet and is a dynamic and flexible display. It can take data from various sources including social media and then change the sign display and the direction it is pointing in response.
On the surface this seems like a bit of fun. At the moment you can tweet the sign and shortly after your tweet appears and it will even point in the direction where you tweeted from.
However it got us thinking more about individualisation and personalisation of information. The value that we are all getting from pulling data on to our own mobile devices is that it is personalised to us and what we are doing. Navigation information is about our route only; status updates on public transport concern only the trains or buses we are using; we can get restaurant recommendations for those that are near to our location; the list is prettty endless.
In contrast signage, by its static nature, has always been something different. Pointing to known desinations that that majority are likely to want or points of interest determined by the local authority.
The concept of Points perhaps takes us a step closer to something in the environment that is more dynamic and responds to each of us as we approach the sign. One could imagine having a route plugged into to Google Maps on our own device; near field technology allows the sign to detect that route and then adapts to show us the direction we want to be travelling in at that point. There are probably a bunch of barriers to this such as how it would work in a crowded space like a railway concourse but let’s not worry to much about that for now.
Have a look. Tweet the sign...we did...
But also think about where this could take us and what we want to support future wayfinding.
Labels: environmental graphics, navigation, personalisation, signage, signs, wayfinding