Wayfinding : Part 3

Is it important for the maps to match the signposting and wayfinding system and do colours matter?


Line S42 anti-clockwise
Customer Information Screens above each platform. Note the handy clockwise and anti-clockwise graphic before the word Ring. Note the handy clockwise and anti-clockwise graphic before the word Ring.

Berlin has a ring line around the city operating in both directions. S41 is operated in the clockwise direction and S42 in the anti-clockwise direction. Above each platform is a Customer Information System (CIS) screen that clearly informs the customer of the line or route numbers, the direction of the services, the number of minutes before the arrival of the next services and a graphic that indicates the length of the trains.

Clarity and consistency of signposting and information makes a big difference to whether a journey is stressful or stress-free. In this example on the S41 & S42 Ring lines in Berlin we can see the clarity and the designed simplicity of the signposting. The direction ‘arrow-circle’ graphic needs no language and no translation. It works.


Signboard on station entrance, all very clear enough with routes colour-coded and destinations well labeled

We can see the consistency in the use of the direction ‘arrow-circles’ graphics for the Ring lines on the signboard at the station entrance. In the two extracts from the timetables at one of the stations we can see the continuation of that theme also in use. This consistency reinforces the message to the customer that they are on their desired route and that the company has their best interest at heart. It is both a subtle and very useful message. It makes the customer feel that the company knows what they are doing and has thought through making the journey as easy as possible. Which it should be.

So how does the map design coincide with the other information we have seen so far?

Perhaps the weakest part of the transport authority’s information offering is the map in this regard.

way33          way34

Note the use of the clockwise and anti-clockwise direction ‘arrow-circles’ on these timetables in addition to the clear table style layout.

Below are the sections of the same area on two different designs. The one on the left is the BVG design whilst the one on the right is one of my designs.

The colour-coding of the two Ring lines is far too similar to be really effective, particularly at smaller sizes and low light conditions
No ambiguity here with distinct colour-coding for the two Ring lines.