Library UX Community Forums Signage There are reasons why good architects create wayfinding

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    I work in a library built around 1970. It’s showing its age and it has changed a LOT since it was first built. Many ranges of stacks have been removed in favor of better individual and group study spaces, public computers arrived and now some have left, and there have been reasons to shift the stacks on the regular. How can wayfinding signs keep up and who will create them? Er, how about the user experience librarian?

    Since barring major renovation or a new library, there was little hope a professional would be engaged to help us out, two years ago I worked with our wonderful Visual Initiatives and Exhibitions Librarian and other colleagues toward a solution.

    Since we knew whatever we made needed to be flexible so we could update things in-house and since our building is rather dark and fortress-like, we settled on the purchase of frames in which we can place and swap out content. We chose one background color to indicate each library level and used white lettering for contrast.

    While communication about changes sometimes breaks, we’ve become fairly responsive and have kept things up to date. Different symbols for all gender washrooms? Done. A stack shifting project has resulted in the need for updating the call number ranges for level 4? Done. A new sign is needed to communicate expectations for new group spaces? Well, at least we have a color and font that make things look more professional…

    We’ve been gradually cutting back on the quickly made, poorly written, one-off signs and gradually improving our sign game.

    John Laskowski

    I’ve felt the same way about signage – surely this is a UX librarian issue if there ever was one.

    I was in a meeting with some colleagues Monday talking about signage. We started talking about different methods we could use to assess users attention and retention of information on both digital and print signs.

    We discussed having patrons give some of our campus ambassadors (their peers) tours of the library and then ask those patrons giving the tour questions about any signs they may or should have seen.

    We were also talking about love/break-up letters. I’ve been trying to find an issue where this method would work because I think it would be fun. We’re thinking about doing something around valentine’s day for this.

    Have you done any user assessment to see how your signage solution has impacted library use?

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