Universities make up some of the biggest buildings, campuses and spaces within the UK. This is to accommodate the 2.28 million students currently studying and living on university campuses. These densely populated areas result in large movements of people on a daily basis which could easily result in logistical chaos. In 2017, it is critical to understand how Wayfinding Signs are vital for the success and efficiency of universities.
Health and Safety
In the UK, there is a strong belief behind all people of every background and ability to be given a chance at learning. Universities provide many facilities for people with disabilities, but many neglect the need to create wayfinding signage that adheres to DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) regulations. University wayfinding signage should make use of tactile and braille signage, as well as follow the LRV (Light Reflective Value) for colours used to ensure that visually impaired students and staff can navigate university with safely and comfortably.
Day to day navigation is not the only concern when addressing wayfinding signage. Universities need to think of the role wayfinding signage plays in fire safety. Floor directory signage must be present and viewable in the correct locations to ensure members of staff know the layout of each building. Furthermore, the wayfinding signage that point towards fire exit and safety points must be easily viewed and present in the correct locations.
A Successful Learning Experience
Arriving at university is a daunting experience for most students. Some come from small towns and get placed in vast physical environments with a busy schedule of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Many of these are in different buildings or different rooms week after week. Some students may find this sort of scenario particularly distressing and disorientating. Wayfinding signs, when used appropriately, make it so that students have a positive user experience when navigating campuses and will likely increase the percentage of attendance to classes. More and more study subjects are being added to universities as they grow and adapt. This means that the majority of university rooms are needed to be used most of the time. Therefore the changeover between sessions needs to be as slick and efficient as possible. Students or staff not being able to find their way to seminar or lecture theatres on time has more implications than simply a shorter session for that particular year group.
A Stress Free Environment
For education, it is a well known fact that high stress can cause a drop in grades and performance from students. A stress free environment is highly important when trying to create a productive environment for staff and students to flourish in. Wayfinding signage can give each building or space a feeling of organisation and clarity. This not only has an impact of students and staff, but also on visitors. Whether families are visiting a university on an open day or business representatives are visiting for meetings, everyone is affected by signage.
Clearer signage, in the form of specialised wayfinding signs, can make all the difference to how your university is perceived by everyone. Universities need growth, a strong reputation and constant applications from prospective undergraduate students year on year.
The ‘details’ really do matter. And something as primary as wayfinding signs really should be implemented into UK universities to generate a positive change overall for years to come.