Challenges in multilevel wayfinding: a case study with the space syntax technique
In this paper we reanalyse an experiment on wayfinding in complex multilevel buildings, in the light of formal measures derived from space syntax. The empirical study compared the performance of experienced and inexperienced participants in a set of wayfinding tasks, and identified specific strategies for vertical navigation. Inexperienced participants predominantly rely on a central-point strategy, while experienced ones have more accurate knowledge and plan more effectively. This is reflected by space-syntax-based route measures: routes of inexperienced users showed higher values of connectivity and integration as well as step depth to goal. Usability deficits of the complex building could be tied to formal analysis, revealing additional problems of the setting. Special emphasis is put on proper modelling of the vertical connections between the floors in visibility graph analysis. On the basis of the space syntax results, two layout redesigns are proposed, which provide improvements both for general navigability and for orientation at specific locations.
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