Strategic Wayfinding Design: Case Study Zurich

Aikaterini Sampazioti, 2019





‘I think we are lost…’
(I don’t feel safe)

‘Let’s go that way…’
(I remembered something!)

‘We are just walking around to find something interesting’
(I don’t know have enough information)

‘Oh! I know where we are!’
(I feel confident the second time)

People consider walking the most effective way of experiencing a new travel destination. Every one of us has been in a city for the very first time. We walk, we use public transport, we use maps and signs, we remember places, buildings, bridges, rivers and other visual cues as aid to get around. We combine past experiences with surroundings to make connections. We try to experience the most and to visit as many places as we can, to feel connected with the space, create new memories and personal stories. Wayfinding systems help people to orient themselves and to navigate. A lot of questions arise on a wayfinding task: ‘Where am I?’, ‘Where is it?’, ‘How can I reach a destination, that is not visible?’, ‘Is it far, can I walk?’, ‘How long should I walk?’ These questions continue en-route: ‘Am I going the correct way?’, ‘What else is around?’, ‘Is it still far?’. But can a wayfinding system with a solid strategy create memories, knowledge, confidence and safety, while providing guidance and information, accessible to everyone? Based on literature and interviews with tourists, this study is looking closer to the present pedestrian guidance mediums, and ‘hearing the opinion’ of everyday visitors of the center of Zurich, in order to define issues and where there is a need for improvement for further implementation of a new wayfinding system.