Improved Way-finding Techniques

Improved Way-finding Techniques and Signage as a Means to Increase Ease of Use in Libraries with a focus on Technical Learning Commons and Other Learning Spaces Navigability

Sabbatical Report authored by Carol Will
Undergraduate Teaching and Learning Services (UTLS)
Learning Commons Coordinator/Librarian
W.E.B. Du Bois Library
University of Massachusetts Amherst


This report is the culmination of literature research, site visits, and attendance at a national conference on Wayfinding. I spent my sabbatical immersed in reading all types of literature and studies related to wayfinding, signage, cognitive impacts on how wayfinding is perceived by human brains, studies of wayfinding in all sorts of venues, along with how important wayfinding is to the user experience. I set out to understand what wayfinding is, along with why it is so crucial to many varieties of institutions and even in outdoor settings. During my visits, I took many photos of signs, architectural wayfinding designs, and anything that spoke to me as being related to the theories of signage I was reading about. Of course, the fun part was experiencing and photographing numerous wayfinding/signage “bloopers;” somewhat sad but well-intentioned human efforts at providing directions, policies, advertisements and anything related to marketing of products and services as associated with each individual institution. My intention was to use some of these photos as illustrations of best practices (and bad) as I became more familiar with the study of graphic design, wayfinding, and user experience.

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