We began where the patient begins. Tracking travel paths from entry points including driveways, parking areas and building entrances gave us an invaluable step. There were multiple paths for getting from parking/drop-off locations to the front door.
Do an independent, third-party audit. Forget what you think you know. Anyone with even a casual familiarity with your facility will not be finding his or her way as a first-time visitor. Spend time observing and talking to visitors. Draw on information from completely fresh, inexperienced and unbiased sources.
Employ color-coded aids to navigation. Various departments or sections of the facility can be identified by unique and consistent colors in signs, wall or floor colors and/or pathway stripes on the floor for visitors to follow. Consider super-sized directional graphics on large walls, doors, and/or turning/decision points.
Be a stickler for sign consistency. Utilize an easily readable and uniform design system that follows a uniform pattern of size, shape, color, lettering and graphics. If necessary, dispose of all existing (old, discolored, broken, irregular) signs and replace with all new.
Have a rapid replacement system. Be prepared to quickly make and replace signs when broken, incorrect or with changes. Ban all handmade, “temporary” or “quick fix,” and out of date signs.