Hospital Wayfinding Signage Best Practices

by | Jan 3, 2024

Hospital wayfinding signage should direct visitors, patients, and staff from their vehicles, to the entryways, to their destination, and back. However, hospital wayfinding signage users tend to be under more stress than the average user. This presents unique challenges to creating efficient and effective hospital wayfinding signage.

In this blog, we outline three best practices to incorporate in your hospital’s wayfinding signage.

Three Hospital Wayfinding Signage Best Practices

1. Understand the Complex Factors Affecting Hospital Wayfinding Maps Users

Hospital settings are unique, especially when it comes to wayfinding signage. Three factors have a profound impact on hospital wayfinding signage: the people, the environment, and the information being portrayed.

The people using the hospital wayfinding signage have a range of prior knowledge of the facility, varying emotional states; limited mobility, literacy, or navigational skills.

Environmental factors profoundly affect how hospital wayfinding signage is used. This includes factors such as site complexity, visual landmarks and other differentiators, if a front desk is visible, the delineation between public and private spaces, and visual clutter around the signs.

Finally, informational factors that matter to wayfinding include the clarity and accuracy of information, how legible and visible the information is, and if the map looks like the environment it’s portraying. If the information is hard to read or doesn’t seem to align with the hospital, it won’t be very helpful.

2. Embrace Wayfinding Design Principles

The smallest details make a big difference in hospital wayfinding signage effectiveness. Best practices for designing hospital wayfinding signage include:

  • Choosing a legible typeface
  • Using an appropriate mix of upper and lower case letters
  • Prioritizing skimability
  • Ensuring legibility from a distance
  • Including pictographs
  • Incorporating colors strategically

Balancing these principles with the needs of the user is often easier said than done. That’s why working with an experienced partner like Building Maps is so important. We have a skilled team of illustrators who know how to create effective hospital wayfinding signage for every situation.

3. Comply with the Relevant Regulations

Wayfinding maps can be regulated by OSHA, the NFPA, and ICC. Insurance companies and accreditation can also impact how wayfinding signage and other hospital maps are designed. The experienced Building Maps team is ready to create effective maps that comply with the applicable regulations in addition to helping people get where they need to go.

Improve Wayfinding in Your Hospital with Building Maps

When staff, patients, and visitors enter your hospital, getting lost should be the last thing on their mind. When you work with Building Maps, you can trust that you’re getting the highest level of service, quality, and usability. We’ve helped hospitals all over the country improve their wayfinding and are ready to speak with you about your needs today. To get in touch with our team, send us a message or call toll-free at 877.866.9696. We look forward to speaking with you!

Tony Jones

About the Author: Tony Jones, CFPS, is the owner and founder of Building Maps. He is a safety mapping and code compliance expert. Tony holds his work to the highest standard because he knows “it’s not just a map, it’s about saving lives.”

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