Finding the way inside: Linking architectural design analysis and cognitive processes
Spatial Cognition Iv, Reasoning, Action, Interaction 3343: 1-23
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The paper is concerned with human wayfinding in public buildings. Two main aspects of wayfinding difficulties are considered: architectural features of the building and cognitive processes of the agent. We conducted an empirical study in a complex multi-level building, comparing performance measures of experienced and inexperienced participants in different wayfinding tasks. Thinking aloud protocols provide insights into navigation strategies, planning phases, use of landmarks and signage, and measures of survey knowledge. Specific strategies for navigation in multi-level buildings, like the floor strategy, are identified and evaluated. An architectural analysis of the building is provided and possible causes for navigation problems are discussed. Different architectural features of the building are investigated with respect to human spatial cognition and usability issues. Finally we address potential benefits for the architectural design process and discuss options for further research.