Archive for April, 2015

The Four Stages of Wayfinding

In a nutshell, wayfinding is the way in which people orient themselves in physical space and navigate from place to place.

The basic process of wayfining, involves four stages:

  1. Orientation is the attempt to determine one’s location, in relation to objects that may be nearby and the desired destination.
  2. Route decision is the selection of a course of direction to the destination.
  3. Route monitoring is checking to make sure that the selected route is heading towards to the destination.
  4. Destination recognition is when the destination is recognized.

This is quite interesting, especially if we start to think about the application to interface design and how we can design better interfaces by aligning ourselves to these four stages of wayfinding.

When a Statement About Design Is Stupid

In “A brief history of User Interfaces“, Eric Raymond makes a rather comical statement about how we dismiss some designers and their designs as “stupid”:

In software usability design, as in other kinds of engineering, it is seldom wise to dismiss an apparently clumsy or stupid design by assuming that the engineers of bygone days were idiots. Though engineers, being human, undeniably are idiots on occasion, it is far more likely in the normal course of events that a design you find ridiculous after the fact is actually an intelligent response to tradeoffs you have failed to understand.

It is quite possible that many designs are dismissed as ridiculous today because we fail to understand the real problem.

It’s also a good reminder that the stupidest person isn’t the one trying, but the one making the stupid statements…