Skip main navigation

Wayfinding – Building Block Model

Here, we'll assess patient orientation and wayfinding through utilising the wayfinding 'Building Block Model'
Wayfinding Building Block Model

These underpinning components of wayfinding in the hospital environment are clearly delineated by the wayfinding ‘building block model’ that uses a hierarchy of layers or building blocks’ to build up a good wayfinding system across the spatial scales of a hospital (i.e. from master plan to graphics and amenities) as outlined above.

  • Master Plan: at a site plan level establish good circulation pathways and ensure that this legibility can be maintained with that future expansion.
  • Architecture and Landscape: at a site level use landscape, planting, landmarks, and buildings for wayfinding.
  • Interior Architecture: use architectural elements such as entrances, legible pathways, clearly visible vertical circulation such as lifts, internal landmarks, visual access, and visual cues at decision points.
  • Interior Design: use lighting, colour, distinct materials to facilitate wayfinding
  • Signage: signage supports the previous ‘building blocks’ and is typically: 1) Informational (i.e. where to find assistance, opening hours etc.); 2) Directional; 3) Identifying (i.e. identifies a particular area or zone in the hospital); 4) Regulatory (i.e. radiation in use).
  • Graphics: using symbols and wayfinding graphics to support and reinforce signage
  • Facility Amenity: the final ‘building block’ are the services provided by information desks visitor information centres within the hospital.

Wayfinding: Progressive Disclosure
Progressive disclosure is a wayfinding approach often used in large building complexes such as airports, and is based upon providing the visitor with just enough information to get them to the next decision-making point This avoids information overload and confusion and helps to simplify the navigation of a building.

UD Dementia Friendly Design Guidance

  • The wayfinding strategy should extend into the building from the campus and provide clear, consistent, and easily read signage, and supported by distinct paths and internal spaces, along with recognisable visual cues such as colour, building elements, artwork or planting.
  • Clear signage will enhance wayfinding, as will the provision of a clear circulation hierarchy composed of distinct and legible spaces and buildings.
  • Carefully designed graphics and symbols will also reinforce wayfinding and provide additional visual cues for people who may find it difficult to read or understand the signage text.
  • Ensure that language and terminology used in wayfinding should be as simple and intuitive as possible.
  • Ensure all signage uses non-reflective material, provides large easy-to-read graphics and characters and employs contrasting colours to increase legibility of information.
  • Good visual access to key hospital facilities and spaces should provide visual cues in terms of orientation and help remind or prompt people regarding their destination.
This article is from the free online

Dementia Inclusive Hospitals from a Universal Design Approach

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education