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What Does “Wayfinding” Mean?

Posted by on Jan 28, 2013 in Directional Sense, Wayfinding | 0 comments

What Does “Wayfinding” Mean?


“Wayfinding” describes the act of getting from here to there. Directionally challenged people (and others too) need to be able to find their way from all kinds of “origins” (starting points) to all kinds of “destinations” (ending points).

The first thing is to know where you are. This is your starting point. Look around, or ask, and then write it down or say it to yourself. For instance, you might say, “I’m in the Medical Office Building, at the elevator, on the ground floor.”

Next, know where you’re going: your destination. Find out what it’s called, where it’s located, and what the street address or room number is.

Then, you’ll want to find a good route from your starting point to your destination. While you’re on your way, you may need to ask directions and follow signs. It’s important to stay on the route all the way to your destination. If the route is long and winding, you may want to ask if you’re still on the right track.

Are you there yet? You’ll need to be sure you’ve arrived at your destination. Some places are easy to recognize, but others may not be obvious or well identified with signs or address numbers.

Finally, you’ll make your way back to your starting point. You may be able to retrace your steps. Or, if this is hard for you to do, you’ll want to ask for “reverse” directions.

Successfully going through these steps takes practice, but it’s definitely possible to find your way on your own, even if you’re someone who frequently feels turned around.

If wayfinding doesn’t come easily to you, you’ll want to check out our book, Directional Sense: How to Find Your Way Around. It explains that everyone gets lost at times and that many people — the directionally challenged — always feel turned around. Directional Sense offers step-by-step explanations of how to learn wayfinding skills: deciphering wayfinding words and numbers, comprehending spatial layouts, reading maps, following signs, recognizing landmarks, and asking directions. It also contains a chapter on wayfinding technology, including GPS.

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If you’re directionally challenged you need Directional Sense: How to Find Your Way Around, by Janet R. Carpman and Myron A. Grant.

You can ask questions and share stories about finding your way around on our website We look forward to hearing from you!



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