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Signs of the times

18 January 2011 5 Comments

Mike Maughan, director, University Events

Upon returning from winter break, you probably noticed that our campus got a bit of a face-lift while you were out — there are new signs, stickers and directories all over the place. Eventually, the old signs, such as the hanging green and gold shingles, will all disappear.

It isn’t just about a slick presentation; it’s an over-arching effort to improve both the student and visitor experiences at Utah Valley University through improved wayfinding signage. At a glance, first-timers and old-timers alike should be able to see uniformity in navigation and style across the entire campus. In other words, each piece of campus should feel like campus, with consistent colors, fonts and styles on the window vinyls, hanging signs and floor directories. With that consistency, newcomers should be able to easily figure out which building they’re currently in, and what buildings are nearby.

Navigating our campus halls can be intimidating for visitors if we don’t provide a seamless wayfinding experience. How long did it take you to get your bearings when you first arrived at UVU? Days? Weeks? First-time visitors should be able to find any given destination without back-tracking or asking a dozen passersby. And this first-time visitor could be a prospective student; or a UVU senior with an elective class in an area of campus they’d never previously explored; or an out-of-towner coming to a basketball game.

A more subtle aspect of wayfinding is the control of circulation in the hallways. Have you ever bumped into a lost student standing stumped at the intersection of two hallways, wondering where to go?

What’s more, how many students make their way from class to class via the main thoroughfares simply because they don’t know the most direct routes in smaller hallways? A good wayfinding system can alleviate congestion by teaching travelers efficient navigation.

The interior signage is nearing completion. Around May 1, we will begin overhauling our exterior signage around campus, which will help drivers on our roads the same way we hope to help pedestrians in our hallways.

— Mike Maughan

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5 Comments »

  • UVU Student said:

    So… Does that mean that eventually CORRECT information will be on any of the signs?

  • mreichman said:

    It does indeed. Mike Maughan has been touring the campus non-stop this week going over the needed corrections. If you see any that don’t like they’re being attended to, please let us know. Thanks!

  • Scott Adams said:

    Personally I think they look great! I think that it is a great way to modernize the look and help students connect more with the people running the school. I think the effort to make it easier shows that the school cares and is making every effort to make things as easy for students and staff as possible.

  • Andre said:

    The new signs look great. I’m thinking out loud when I say the following:
    I noticed that a few people have asked me where a particular building was as I walked from my car. I will admit that at airports it’s not hard to find your terminal as you drive up, nor am I saying that this is what’s needed here, but it would appear that those entering the campus property by cars are also getting lost.

    Although the building signs are clearly visible, they are not visible from every entrance to the University. One suggestion would be to have posted signs similar to how airports have it, where at every entrance you have a map of where each building is and where the appropriate places to park are and the distances to each. Every building has parking stalls, but as you enter the parking lot and are not in the know, then you have no idea which buildings are closest to you as you drive into the lot.

    I’ve noticed that there are digital signs everywhere on campus so why not leverage them? Why not have at the top, right next to the weather and time the current building a person is in and occasionally display relative maps in respect to the digital sign with estimated distance to closest points of interest.

    Ex: “Are you lost?” and then have a map. The library has a great interactive map of the library. If the remainder of the digital signs throughout the campus were interactive, then you could have an icon permanently floating which would pull up an interactive map of the building they are in and/or even the campus.

  • D. Goldsmith said:

    I strongly agree on what you have said in your post that A good wayfinding system can alleviate congestion by teaching travelers efficient navigation. Signs look good. If i was a student, I’d better ask co students to guide/lead me the path where i want to go.

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