DO WE REALLY NEED SIGNS? URBAN WAYSHOWING DESIGNED FROM WITHIN THE SURROUNDINGS
Free (open access)
643 - 654
HUSSAH K. ALOTAISHAN
Wayshowing can be defined as those designed solutions that help users (wayfinders) to get from their current location to their desired destination within urban settings. Until recently, wayshowing design has always been associated with the more traditional navigation methods such as directional signs and maps. Both tourism and/or globalization have become major elements that affect urban cities and the way they evolve. And with the push to globalize cities, the sensitivity of local identity retention is challenged. The Bristol Legible city project in Bristol, United Kingdom, is an example that demonstrates combining identity-keeping ideology and wayfinding system design. The main purposes of this paper are to: address how urban features may be used as clues to replace the literacy and language dependant wayfinding aids, and minimize their inherent exclusiveness in pedestrian urban settings to offer equal opportunities to people from different cultural background and various spoken languages. The aim is to identify which objects are considered significant enough within the surrounding environments to facilitate the user’s getting from one place to another with minimal stress and in the shortest route possible. During this study, I intend to test wayfinder’s decision-making skills, orientation skills and stress levels in real-life locating task experiments in the city of Swansea, UK, combined with a historical and architectural analysis of the city around the area in which the experiments will take place. The goal of these experiments is to identify to what extent urban features can operate without signage as wayfinding systems in pedestrian settings.
pedestrian wayfinding, wayshowing aids, urban environment, cultural differences