People-Friendly Wayfinding Strategies
By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing
Your company has invested money in a comprehensive digital wayfinding system. You’ve got an app with great maps, tons of integrations, and plenty of opportunities to deploy it. But people aren’t using it. Why? Well, like most tools, it takes a little finesse to get people engaged and up-to-speed. They won’t simply use it because it’s there. They might not even know it’s available! What you need are wayfinding strategies to encourage engagement.
Sending out an email launching your wayfinding software isn’t enough. To really get employees and visitors using it, you’ll need to position your wayfinding solution as a valuable, must-use tool. Here are a few strategies for how to do it.
Make wayfinding a focus
The only way people will use your wayfinding system is to make it a focal point within your facilities. That means touting it wherever and whenever possible.
Someone wants to know where the nearest conference room is? Tell them to use the wayfinding platform. Have a visitor coming to the office? Email them instructions compatible with your wayfinding platform. One employee needs to find another? Wayfinding! Injecting wayfinding opportunities wherever they’re a natural solution gets people thinking about them. More importantly, it gets people using them. Keep the reminders constant and the value of the system will keep users engaged.
Integrate with digital resources
One of the best elements of wayfinding strategy design is integration with digital resources. The more digital elements touching wayfinding, the easier it’ll be for people to use it. Take a look at a few simple examples:
- Slack and messaging integration that allow people to send directions through their communication platform of choice.
- Integration with email platforms, so automated emails can pull data from the wayfinding platform and send it to a recipient.
- Synced to the company directory, allowing people to see exactly where someone else sits and get directions to them.
Companies have entire digital ecosystems powering their everyday operations. There are natural places within that ecosystem to support a wayfinding complement. Identifying these areas is key in raising the adoption rate of wayfinding users.
Utilize web and mobile platforms
If you really want people to pick up your wayfinding system and use it regularly, make sure it’s cloud-enabled at a minimum. For true standalone adoption, nothing beats mobile access.
Think about when people use wayfinding. Often, it’s when they’re already on-the-go. Being able to access a cloud wayfinding system on their smartphone will give them the confidence to use the system. Providing a native mobile version only increases its usefulness. It all comes back to convenience for the user. The easier a system is to use—laptop, tablet, smartphone, Mac, PC, iOS, Android—the fewer barriers to adopt there are in making it habitual.
Integrate into workplace processes
Wayfinding best practices demand integration. Just like it’s smart to pair wayfinding software with other digital resources, it’s even smarter to integrate it into processes. Booking rooms, sending meeting invites, and coordinating office moves are all opportunities for wayfinding integration.
A group of employees is chatting on Slack and decides to book a collaborative workspace tomorrow at 2 p.m. They execute a Slack command to pull up room information, then book right through the messaging platform. An IWMS platform registers the booking and sends confirmation emails to each invitee with directions for how to get to the space from each of their individual desks. It’s a practical example that gets people thinking actively about the importance of wayfinding software.
Promote the benefits
One of the simplest ways to get people using your wayfinding system is to evangelize it at every opportunity. Showcase the benefits with real-world examples and continue to find ways to show people its usefulness. Often, once people have a good experience with a wayfinding system, they’re liable to use it again. This not only encourages recurring usage, it triggers broader adoption.
Promote the benefits of wayfinding in mediums that guarantee a positive experience. Include a “need directions? Use our wayfinding system” note in outbound emails to visitors. Showcase wayfinding directory integration in the company's internal newsletter. Pair the positive benefits of your software with the right audience, in a setting where it’s easy to capitalize on demand for those features.
Make wayfinding a priority
If you make wayfinding a priority, so will your people. Weave it into the other processes and resources governing your facilities and watch adoption rates climb. For visitors, make wayfinding the easiest, most available solution to interacting with your workplace. Positioning wayfinding appropriately will inform and encourage people to use it, leading them to develop habits that rely on it. Soon enough, your wayfinding system will be a central part of most people’s workplace interactions.
Keep reading: Wayfinding Best Practices.