This week I read "The Secret Language of Signs". And I also read "A world without Signs: will the GPS kill the sign?" because I'm interested in this topic. And after reading them, I have four thoughts to share. 1. The first article talked about the importance of signs. Because of Georgia's failure to install adequate signs, Bluffton University’s bus accident killed seven people. Before I read this, I know the signage is important, because it tells us where we are and where should we go. But this article told me this only happened when the signage works well. If the signage did not work well, in some extreme cases, like Bluffton University’s bus, the consequences can be fatal.
2、Good signage is the bridge between Google Map and our real destination.
Today we found the advent of GPS systems that makes us less dependent on the signage. Beatty, a satellite navigation specialist, believes one day we trust digital directions so completely that we no longer need signs. I don't agree with Beatty. I think good signage is the bridge between Google Map(the virtual world) and our real destination.
As a person who constantly gets lost in the New York City, I could use my "rich" wayfinding experience to prove my view. Let's say I want to find a restaurant named Sake Bar Hagi, 152 W 49th St. The first thing I do is to open Google Map. It tells me this:
I will hold my phone and look for the signs all the way to the restaurant. The subway station and the restaurant sign is not just simply give me conformation. These signs keep me going forward to my real destination. Imaging there's no sign around the subway station, I may be failed to get into the station.
3. The article also says that security guards and secretaries were often the ones to help orient the lost. It reminds me that besides the Google Map and the signage, there's other important way we can find our way--asking other people.
My strategy to find my way is a) using the map; b) looking for the sign; c)asking other people. There's one time I used Map to find the 33rd street path station. This station hides in a mall. The Map said it was very close to me. But I just can't see it. So I asked a man. He asked me, "Can you see the M sign over there?". Unfortunately I couldn't. In the end, he walked with me to show the path station entry. So when the map and the sign failed, we have the third option. So I think there could be a new interactive tool for helping people find their ways. We can combine the signs and the map to build smart signs. You're confused with the map? You can't find the sign? That's okay, I will show you the way. I hope in the future, there would be new interactive wayfinding tools acting like human beings who offer sweet service to people.
4. Article said visitors often plan their routes online. Sometimes text on a Web site is more useful than text printed on a wall. I share the same feeling with these visitors. There's one time I would go to health examination in someplace I don't know. So I searched the Internet and found a strategy blog teaching you step by step about how to get to the place, "the elevator was on your left hand, first go to the second floor to do blood test", and so on. The author was so nice, he told you everything you should know, most situation you will encountered. And after reading this, my examination went very quickly and smoothly. So I think the advanced online information is useful and sweet.