It’s not too long since I joined Somia Customer Experience. Despite the short time, I got a chance already to work on a very interesting project about signage and way finding design strategy! Here is the story:

Last year, Somia CX got a rare request. A client came to us and said,

“I am building a hotel in Ubud, Bali. I thought it is important to have a user research approach for designing the signage and way finding. Can you help us design the signage and way finding?”

We were excited to have a chance to apply user research in spatial context!

Hence, in this article I would like to share our behind the scenes when we were working on this project. How’s it when we work in space as our playground instead of in the digital world?

User Mapping

Yes, It always starts with the users. What kind of hotel is it? Who’s going to come and use the hotel? We were mapping the user and the activities of each user would do in the hotel to understand the user’s needs.

User mapping

Then, how do we better understand the user’s needs? What do we do with the list of users and activities? We simulated their movement!

Navigability Analysis

We traced each user’s mobility based on their activity list in the hotel. Afterward, we superimposed all of the user’s mobility to know the overlaps. Moreover, we did a navigability analysis based on way finding principles that we learned from our desk research.

After spending some time on the desk, we immersed ourselves in the space.

Site Walkthrough

We went through the site to understand way finding needs, spatial journey and the architectural characteristics such as the visibility, directions and orientation. Beside, we also would like to better understand the architectural design style and take it into account to align the design.

Site walkthrough

While we were there, we also used this time to do a simple test.

Simple prototyping & testing

We did simple prototyping and testing to have a better sense of the how it might be implemented especially to grab the proportion, scale and positioning in delivering the information needed in certain spots. We position ourselves as not only as a designer where we were testing different types of shapes, font, or colour combinations that fit the space, but also as a user to see how is the text legibility and visibility if it is positioned in a certain way.

With some analysis in our hand, we were back to the desk to make the signage and way finding strategy.

Signage & way finding design strategy

One of things we need to consider when we developed the strategy is the materials since it would affect the construction budget. Therefore, we went to the expert!

Go to vendor

We learned the role of thumb and feasibility for the production and installation such as the materials, cost, installation methods and how the maintenance would be in the long term. The pros and cons need to be considered carefully since the choice of materials would majorly determine whether the cost would be expensive, only half of it or even only fourth of it.

Sharing the behind the scenes with you makes us curious and would like to come back there to see how’s the realisation!

Sneak peak of some designs and the implementations

If you want to see how the way finding is implemented, visit Titik Dua Hotel in Ubud, Bali.