The syntheses of static and mobile wayfinding information: an empirical study of wayfinding preferences and behaviour in complex environments

Hassan Iftikhar, Yan Luximon (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The efficient delivery of environmental information to wayfinders in complex environments is a challenge for information designers. Wayfinding tasks can be quite strenuous and frustrating in the visual absence of dedicated wayfinding information. This study aims to explore the behaviour regarding the use of wayfinding information by navigators in complex environments. Design/methodology/approach: An experiment has been conducted in which participants have performed wayfinding tasks in a spatially complex university campus. The participants were instructed to use the think-aloud protocol during the experiment. The behaviour has been recorded using the head-mounted video recorder (GoPro), mobile phone screen (audio\video) recorder and interview. Twelve university students have been selected based on the equal level of spatial ability using the Santa Barbara Sense of Direction scale. Each participant performed three wayfinding tasks to locate the unknown locations inside the campus using a mobile wayfinding application and other information sources. Findings: The results of this study demonstrated significant behavioural preferences in acquiring wayfinding information. Most of the participants synthesised the static and mobile wayfinding information sources, while some preferred only the static ones. Gender differences have also been found for planning and route finding. This study recommends the syntheses of static and mobile wayfinding information for designing an efficient institutional wayfinding system. Research limitations/implications: The sample size has been kept small because of the qualitative exploration of the wayfinding behaviour regarding the wayfinding information syntheses behaviour. The experiment findings can be further explored with larger data set and controlled behavioural metrics. This study can help understand the user requirements in facilities management for spatially complex institutional environments. Practical implications: The current findings can be further used to develop a framework for wayfinding information designers to assist them in understanding the current practices and incorporate them for improving institutional wayfinding systems. The management of the offered facilities within an institution can be further improved to make the space more efficient by saving users’ time and efforts. Originality/value: Information syntheses or symbiosis of environmental information with the beacon-based digital wayfinding system is a new concept. This study explores the potential of such information syntheses for enhancing the legibility of complex institutional environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-474
Number of pages23
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2022


  • Behaviour
  • Information syntheses
  • Mobile wayfinding
  • Static wayfinding
  • Unfamiliar complex environments
  • Wayfinding design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction


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