We’ve talked about the advantages of digital wayfinding, but what happens when your visitors walk away from the screen? With some basic coding, you can offer mobile wayfinding so your audience stays engaged and informed even when they’re away from your digital signs.
One of the best ways to do this is by designing your project in HTML5 and hosting it online. That way, the wayfinding process can start at home before your visitor ever gets to your building or campus.
HTML5 wayfinding works just like a webpage, so people can access it from multiple locations – on kiosks in your facility, or on their computer, tablet or smartphone. That way, your maps can go with them wherever they are. HTML5 can also be responsive, so your maps will scale correctly to the device they’re viewed on.
Consider the types of gestures people might use when interacting with your wayfinding. If your users will be viewing the project on a tablet or phone, it may be natural instinct to swipe areas of the design. If so, you’ll want a multi-touch display for your kiosk to mimic that same functionality.
Another consideration for HTML5 design is where it will be hosted. Since it’s basically a webpage, it will need to be on a public web server, and your network connection needs to be strong and reliable so you don’t lose your wayfinding through a weak or faulty signal. If you include database integration, the server may need to support PHP or other scripts. Also, if you don’t want it to be indexed by search engines, you’ll need to include “NOINDEX” and “NOFOLLOW” tags in the code.
A QR code is simply a machine-readable code in a block of black and white squares. It’s basically a shortcut to information – in this case, your wayfinding URL.
There are lots of free QR code generators online, and most smartphones either come with a QR scanner app, or they’re easily downloadable.
It’s a great idea to put a QR code into your wayfinding design so that people can take a snapshot of the code before leaving your kiosk. That will launch the URL on their mobile device, so they can take your maps with them.
Also, some QR code generators will track the number of times the QR code is scanned, so it can be a great ROI tool.
If you want to give your visitors a more personalized experience, you can build in a feature that will offer to text them turn-by-turn directions once they’ve found their destination on your kiosk. This lets them walk away from your touchscreen with a personalized route.
What’s great about this is that, depending on the coding of the project, you can also send SMSs with event schedules, addresses, contact information and URLs to external images or websites (like Google Maps or TransLoc shuttle mapping). It really just depends on what you want to show and your budget for building the project.
If your wayfinding data is hosted online, you can control what’s in your texts and update it whenever you want. For example, if a road is closed for maintenance, you can update directions to bypass that road without needing more coding.
Keep in mind that any SMS service is hosted, so the reliability of how fast a user receives the text is based on the strength and reliability of the mobile network. It’s also fee-based. Standard text message fees will apply to the person receiving the text, and is based on their own service provider and plan.
Your organization may also incur fees for offering SMS service for mobile wayfinding. These could include a hosting fee and/or a per text fee. Some companies offer a large number of free texts per month, and then charge a small amount for each text sent after you reach your cap. You’ll want to investigate pricing structures to find what’s best for your organization.
Our next blog post will cover mobile wayfinding apps.