Human wayfinding behaviour and metrics in complex environments: A systematic literature review

Hassan Iftikhar, Parth Shah, Yan Luximon

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The university campuses situated in metropolitan city centres have morphed into complex environments due to congested layout and high-rise buildings. The environmental legibility for wayfinding within these environments is a great matter of concern. These environments have a significant visual absence of dedicated traditional cues for pedestrian navigation, such as distinguishable intersections, dedicated pathways, and information signage. This study presents a systematic review of various factors affecting wayfinding behaviour in complex environments. Five keywords including ‘university campus wayfinding’, ‘cross-cultural wayfinding’, ‘virtual wayfinding’, ‘signage pictograms’ and ‘unfamiliar environment wayfinding’ have been formulated from research questions. The articles have been searched in four most relevant research databases. Out of 4257, twenty-seven articles have been selected. Factors such as environment complexity, wayfinding metrics, environmental familiarity, experimental settings, signage design, and cultural differences are critically discussed. This paper also discusses the technological contributions of virtual and augmented reality in the exploration of wayfinding behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchitectural Science Review
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Complex environments
  • navigation behaviour
  • spatial factors
  • wayfinding aids
  • wayfinding metrics
  • wayfinding technologies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture


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