Wayfinding case study Hong Kong

Overseas, transport systems employ a range of different methodologies to assist people in navigating stations. These can include static signs, dynamic displays, and interactive information points. Hong Kong can be seen to use a mixture of these in helping customers wayfind around a typical station.

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As you enter the station and go down the escalator, you can already see a sign and have some idea of what it says, giving you time to process the information. When you arrive at the bottom you can see more detail. For customers who’ve travelled before, they can simply go straight past, while others may need to come closer. In order to have a good flow of people you shouldn’t have a large sign where everybody stops and looks – information should be clear and simple.

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For successful wayfinding, it’s important to have a piece of information at every point where a decision can be made – in the example above you can go left or right. After customers make a decision, they can be reassured that further signage confirming their choice was correct.

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Once on the platform, the stations and final destination are mapped out simply – clearly identifying the number of stations and where you are in the system. One advantage to this style over a ticker system with a ‘credits roll’ of stations is that all the necessary information is laid out immediately, even if you’re late in getting to the platform. A challenge in implementing such a system in Sydney, though, is that a single platform may be used for multiple train lines. The solution to this may be found in a dynamic version of the static Hong Kong sign below – the display could be shifted based on which train is on the platform.

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By having station information along the platform, this also allows the digital displays to show the most important information – the destination and the time until the train arrives.

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