Category Archive: Towns and Cities

  1. Select Wayfinding – wayfinding for Merseyrail

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    Select Wayfinding (Wayfinder UK) were commissioned by Merseyrail to undertake a general analysis of the organisation’s current wayfinding provision across 64 stations. Concentrating on how Merseyrail links up with other networks on the main national rail network.


    We were briefed to highlight the issues compromising the current Wayfinding Strategy and to make recommendations on how it could be revised to improve the user experience while maximising the organisations image and operational efficiencies.



    Focusing primarily on the passenger experience, we were asked to pay particular attention to signage and all other forms of visual communications (Technology) and identify all factors effecting the efficient movement of all users around all Merseyrail facilities. In our recommendations, we were asked to consider ongoing and planned developments in respect to both the physical environment as well as other Merseyrail initiatives.


    Our observations revealed the current wayfinding provision to be very much design led and we were able to conclude the primary cause of many wayfinding problems were the designer’s lack of appreciation for the cognitive processes involved. We found that although no single overriding design issue was responsible for the wayfinding problems a large number of different issues were combining to create significant confusion.

    The current wayfinding was also found to be in conflict with recognised best practice and performed poorly when assessed in respect to fundamental wayfinding considerations. It failed to follow many of the guidelines provided in response to statutory requirements.

    As wayfinding consultants we are not simply concerned with just the installation of signs, but primarily by the understanding of human behaviour, in relation to navigation. In order to navigate effectively, human beings rely on a complex range of cognitive processes. Some of these processes are active, where we consciously seek out information to help us complete our journey, while others are passive and occur deep within our sub-conscious, the result of evolution and human conditioning. It is common practice for the planning and development phase of any wayfinding project to consider the active processes, however, the way information signs and their content is interpreted and acted upon within our sub-conscious, is often overlooked. Our purpose is to use our understanding of these cognitive processes and develop solutions which harness them to best effect, while considering the limitations of human spatial awareness.

    Select Wayfinding (Wayfinder UK) is at the forefront of wayfinding in the UK and uses their own unique wayfinding methodology to achieve an effective and cost saving solution for all their clients. Merseyrail benefited massively from the comprehensive report produced which highlighted many of the issues and problems along the communication trial. This report and its recommendations now sets a clear path and guidelines for Merseyrail to follow and improve their passenger experience.

    Wayfinding is much more than signage!

    Less is more.

  2. The Diamond – The University of Sheffield

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    The University of Sheffield is on the verge of revealing its latest flagship building this autumn. The Diamond building is said to have cost £81 million and is the largest investment in teaching and learning for the University. The name ‘diamond’ was chosen due to the distinctive diamond shaped wrap around the building. The project includes an intricate external façade formed in anodised aluminium. The new space will host specialist engineering facilities and include a range of seminar rooms and open plan learning spaces. Not to mention a brand new café to provide the student community a new place to eat.

    The building has been designed by Twelve Architects in partnership with Balfour Beatty Construction. The design of the building promotes new methods of teaching, including laboratories and flexible teaching spaces. Supporting the Faculty of Engineering’s world class reputation. The 6 story build will be capable of accommodating 5000 student study spaces. Such a large number a students making use of this building requires a detailed wayfinding analysis to determine the efficient movement of students within the facility.

    Interior under construction

    Interior under construction

    Select Wayfinding (Wayfinder UK) have been brought in to work with Sheffield University to form a wayfinding strategy for this prestigious building. The challenge has been to make this unique and modern space as intuitive as possible, whilst incorporating various screens and technology. As a result signage has been kept to a minimum, giving the impression of a high-tech building which embraces a natural flow of people. The signs which are present, have been designed to promote the University’s image, generating a positive brand experience. The university wayfinding strategy is simple yet effective, another example of Wayfinder’s work in the University sector.

    Once completed, it is estimated the building will provide 500 new jobs. Whilst contributing over £80 million to the local economy within the first 3 years of opening. The Diamond building will act as the jewel in the crown for the University and for the city. Positioning the university as a forward thinking organisation, dedicated to providing their students with quality facilities and education.