Digital wayfinding signage can even be found on the waters, says Rathbun. “The Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has a fleet license and is using it to help passengers. There’s a wayfinder at every elevator and lobby, also allowing passengers look and see the wait times at the restaurants and other facilities and services.” And soon, says Rathbun, “they’ll be handing passengers iPads for the voyage, for signing up and also for wayfinding.”
The most obvious, although perhaps hardest to quantify monetarily, benefit of digital wayfinding is saving time and reducing frustration for people looking to find and get to their destination in an unfamiliar environment.
Being able to determine where you’re going and how to get there not only lets you get there more quickly, avoiding the time to “suss out” what’s going on, or find somebody who can help you, (And avoiding going in the wrong direction), it also reduces the stress of having to solve the “where am I going?” problem. Even if you can’t put a dollar value on reducing avoidable employee, visitor and customer stress, there’s no argument that it minimizes mood-dampeners.
There are some quantifiable dollar benefits of moving to digital wayfinding signage—it displaces or reduces previous wayfinding costs such as physical printed maps and signs, which have to be restocked and/or updated periodically.
Commercial-grade displays have, like most technology, continued to decline in cost. “A 55-inch interactive touchscreen is now about the same price as what a 32-inch home TV used to cost,” notes Rathbun. “So a display for interactive wayfinding would cost about what two or three replacements of a Lucite, steel or stone sign would.”
And once the display is up, and the map and route data has been populated, updating signage is comparatively inexpensive, in many cases, automatic and zero-cost.
Plus, digital wayfinding can reduce employee time, dedicated or otherwise, to provide location and direction assistance, including the training time to ensure these people know where facilities are and how to give clear directions.
Digitizing your site’s wayfinding also makes it almost instantly updatable to, for example, reflect an event location change, or to route around elevator outages, construction or maintenance.