Digital signage is an important element in all types of facilities, from hospitals to schools to gymnasiums. This type of signage allows facilities to provide dynamic information that can be changed based upon their needs. On the other hand, wayfinding refers to the way that people orient themselves while they are in a building or complex. While digital signage and wayfinding often go hand-in-hand, the main difference between digital signage and wayfinding is that digital signage can encompass more than just wayfinding technology.

An Explanation Of Wayfinding And Digital Signage

Wayfinding is any kind of process that helps people find their way in a given location. Wayfinding is commonly used in larger healthcare facilities like hospitals and surgical centers. Wayfinding can also be used in higher education and large museums. One such case is how wayfinding was implemented at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The museum, located in Washington, D.C., receives about 7.5 million visitors every year. Its help desk was becoming overwhelmed with inquiries that could have been answered easily with proper signage. As this platform evolves, we will experience more portable applications that allow people to engage in wayfinding, using devices they carry themselves as they navigate.

Digital signage, on the other hand, is a broader category that encompasses all kinds of signs that use LED, LCD, or projection technology to display text, images, and video. Digital signage has been in use for many years, especially in metropolitan areas like the Times Square section of New York City and the Las Vegas strip. Digital signage is also used by restaurants, retail stores, and sports stadiums as a way to interact with their patrons and provide customizable information.

student looks at smart kiosk, interactive guideThe Difference Between Digital Signage And Wayfinding

Put quite simply, wayfinding is a subset of digital signage. Not all digital signage is used for wayfinding. Some digital signs are implemented for advertising purposes, or to convey information that has nothing to do with location orientation. For example, digital signage might be used at a public transit stop to let passengers know how long it will be until the next train or bus arrives. Marquees on digital signage can be used to give people the latest breaking news or weather updates. While this information can be very valuable, it does not fall under the category of wayfinding because it does not help a person orient themselves to their surroundings.

Once you know the difference between digital signage and wayfinding, it is easier to understand how both of these technologies can help. You can easily find a digital signage system that helps with your wayfinding needs as well, similar to the system installed at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Digital signage with wayfinding capabilities will improve the way that you communicate with people in your facility and add a touch of modernity to your space. The key to success with both digital signage and wayfinding is applying these concepts in a way that makes sense based on your needs.