The power of the crowd in wayfinding

In developing wayfinding strategy, we invest time in understanding individual users of a space and what their mental model might be and what their own particular motivations and goals could be. This interesting article reminded us not to forget the power of crowds on how people navigate an environment.


We look a lot in wayfinding at decision points and how individuals make their decisions at these locations.  But how are they influenced by the crowd around them? Is the decision made differently if they are largely alone in the space as opposed to when there are strong flows of people moving past them?  If so, how would we respond?  Do we have to give greater saliency to signage at this point? Or can we use the flow to support intuitive wayfinding? How might our desire to be "part of the crowd" force us to make wayfinding errors as we are the only one going that way?  Wow, lots of questions!

The article also points maybe to how we get feedback on wayfinding schemes.  Is it better to ask how they think other people might find the navigation rather than how did you find it?  Would this get a better answer?

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DESIGN AND THE HUMAN FACTOR: The power of the crowd in wayfinding

Thursday, 1 August 2013

The power of the crowd in wayfinding

In developing wayfinding strategy, we invest time in understanding individual users of a space and what their mental model might be and what their own particular motivations and goals could be. This interesting article reminded us not to forget the power of crowds on how people navigate an environment.


We look a lot in wayfinding at decision points and how individuals make their decisions at these locations.  But how are they influenced by the crowd around them? Is the decision made differently if they are largely alone in the space as opposed to when there are strong flows of people moving past them?  If so, how would we respond?  Do we have to give greater saliency to signage at this point? Or can we use the flow to support intuitive wayfinding? How might our desire to be "part of the crowd" force us to make wayfinding errors as we are the only one going that way?  Wow, lots of questions!

The article also points maybe to how we get feedback on wayfinding schemes.  Is it better to ask how they think other people might find the navigation rather than how did you find it?  Would this get a better answer?

Labels: , ,

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