Congressi Stefano Francini Award: Best contribution, International Conference on Human Behavior in Design.
How the design of a building and its indoor-maps influences users’ experiences during navigation.
PhD candidate Verena Schnitzler won the best paper award on the HBid conference in Ascona, October 14-17, 2014.
In this study, we compared navigation through a large, complex, public building a) without any map, b) with a printed map, or c) with a digital map. Participants looked for five different destinations while thinking aloud and answered open questions about the wayfinding task and questionnaires about the building and maps. A content analysis was used in order to identify key factors in the bulding’s and maps’ design that facilitated or hindered successful and satisfactory usage. There was a significant search time difference between the no map group and the two other groups, but there were no differences in efficient building use between the two map groups. The analysis of the questionnaires exhibited a similar pattern. The destinations with their different characteristics elicited different numbers of comments regarding the difficulties people experienced. People using paper maps reported significantly less frequently to not have difficulties with the wayfinding task. The groups did not appear to apply different wayfinding strategies, suggesting that participants’ strategy choices were shaped by individual preferences and the building itself with its signage as an additional informative layer.