MAPSTED BLOG

What is Digital Wayfinding and Why Does It Matter

January 12, 2023
Categories:

Technology Trends

Digital wayfinding and interactive wayfinding software are quickly replacing the need for physical maps and signage for indoor navigation today, making digital wayfinding synonymous with intelligent indoor navigation. Here’s how this technology works and the benefits it offers.

What is Digital Wayfinding?

Whether you’re inside a building or on a sprawling campus with multiple permanent buildings spread across hectares, digital wayfinding makes orienting to physical space easier. With electronic maps and digital wayfinding solutions for point-to-point navigation in real-time, it takes one touch to know where you are. Google and Apple Maps are classic examples of digital wayfinding that use GPS signals to guide users from one location to another. However, for consistent performance, these outdoor navigation solutions rely on stable GPS reception and Internet access. 

The question is what happens when you need directions while inside buildings? This is where indoor digital wayfinding technologies come in. While many indoor positioning systems require the use of expensive external hardware and costly maintenance fees, Mapsted‘s digital wayfinding requires no traditional technology to enable indoor-outdoor navigation. Mapsted’s digital wayfinding adjusts orientation and creates contextual navigation based on the user’s real-time position using an auto-rotating directional beam. In complex indoor layouts, positioning is precise to within 1-3 meters without the need for Bluetooth beacons, external Wi-Fi, or external hardware. 

Digital Wayfinding Touchpoints

If you prefer self-help, digital wayfinding software for kiosks as well as mobile phone apps is the way to go. Large venues, such as hospitals, shopping malls, universities, and corporate offices, are ideal places to deploy interactive wayfinding. It assists guests, visitors, maintenance personnel, and even workers in determining where they are and where they need to be. Kiosk-based digital wayfinding informs people about points of interest and the shortest route to their destination. 

The adaptability of interactive wayfinding solutions contributes to their popularity. For example, freestanding kiosks and large wall-mounted displays are ideal for conveying generic information to all types of visitors. However, extending digital wayfinding features to personal devices such as tablets and mobile phones allows for the personalization of content for specific users.

What Should Interactive Wayfinding Systems Do?

A digital wayfinding system is a stand-alone solution or an interface that allows users to enter information to locate assets and people in real time. The primary goal is to simplify the interface in order to support intuitive actions. This reduces stress while also compiling the spatial information needed to quickly adapt to the physical space. While navigating on a interactive wayfinding app, visual markers, lines, and arrows instill confidence. It allows people to adapt to their surroundings in the same way that they adapt to road signs. A wayfinding solution’s purpose is not only to lead users between two destinations but also to help build a sense of familiarity in an instant.

Where Can It Be Used?

Because of its tremendous potential, it is becoming more common in commercial and non-commercial segments. It’s no secret that directional assist technologies such as Mapsted Maps impact business bottom lines and delights workers and consumers alike in every stride. Here are some of the niches where digital wayfinding has shown promise:

Education

With a campus spread across hectares, a friendly blue-dot navigator will prove invaluable to visitors, staff, and students. New students and visitors, in particular, who are unfamiliar with the campus’s long corridors and paths will benefit from the navigation app.

Airports

Short layovers at airports increase stress levels. Large airports, such as Charles de Gaulle in Paris, are multi-terminal structures with intricate pathways leading to various points of interest. Without a wayfinding solution, first-time air travelers are more likely to miss their onward flights. A digital wayfinding technology app, such as Mapsted, can reduce traveler stress and make terminal hopping a breeze.

Hospitals

Like airports, large hospitals have multiple wings that are tricky to navigate without location assistance technology. A digital wayfinding signage solution is extremely useful in this situation because it improves patient convenience. It saves time spent looking for consultation rooms during peak hours and in contingencies. Patients are not the only ones who benefit directly from wayfinding technology. Even caregivers find the technology useful in moments of need. Hospitals can always be prepared for emergencies with a comprehensive floor map that includes the location of medical equipment.

Mega Malls

First-time visitors may be overwhelmed by the sheer size and complexity of mall structures. Digital wayfinding technology in a mall could ease locating shops, cafés, and services within the structure. It creates a sense of familiarity, allowing people to arrive at their desired spot without feeling stressed. A mall that is easy to navigate will also improve the visitor experience and inspire them to return.

Corporate Offices

Corporate giants such as Google and Microsoft have massive bases with thousands of employees. Navigating such premises can waste valuable work time, and new employees are frequently lost in complex pathways snaking through the facility. Another classic case in which it is the ideal value proposition for contractors, workers, and maintenance personnel.

Government Offices

Most government buildings have routes, some of which are open to the public and others which are restricted to personnel only. Without a map of accessible routes, visitors and employees risk showing up late to appointments. Location apps display the quickest route to specific rooms and locations, allowing you to save time and effort while getting around public offices.

Benefits of Digital Wayfinding

Reliability

Using digital wayfinding ensures that users have access to up-to-date information. The digital map can be updated regularly to reflect changes in the environment. Changing the interiors of rooms, moving furniture, and other objects will appear as they are on the map, ensuring that navigation data is calibrated for workers, customers, and other users. 

Enhanced Efficiency

By cleaning up the view, you can see relevant data that is organized and easy to follow. When data is self-explanatory, navigation is intuitive and requires no hand-holding. It frees up essential staff from front-desk roles, allowing them to focus on more productive tasks. Improving efficiency also allows for greater cost savings and meeting user expectations.  

Personalized and Minimalist

Today’s digital wayfinding is more minimalist and integrates into the user’s journey. When compared to large centerpiece physical installations, interactive wayfinding kiosks and personalized navigation assistance on mobile phones is streamlined and modern. 

Self-Reliant Journeys

The information on the digital wayfinding system is simple to use. It poses little difficulty to new users because the information is customized to individual preferences. Whether it’s language options or accessibility support, the solution has features for all types of audiences so they can navigate without contacting support.
It has become more common across industries and consumer segments. Consumers are increasingly willing to switch to a system that makes their journey intuitive and personalized. Whether on campus, in shopping malls, universities, or offices, the ability to navigate untethered is as important as finding information that will enhance their experience within a venue. Mapsted can help you achieve your digital wayfinding goals and so much more.

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