January 12, 2015

The Golden Formula of Experiential Wayfinding

6 minute read



The 'Internet of Things’, at face value, is a phrase used to describe the idea of equipping everyday items with an Internet connection, as well as with the capability to send and receive data. However, this phrase is also simultaneously coming to represent the next great technological revolution of our time.

The Internet of Things sector is poised for massive growth and is expected to be the largest device market in the world by the year 2019.  This means that, in the coming years, both the common household and standard business are set for a complete overhaul of their everyday activities in the pursuit of greater efficiency.  

Every facet of an individual’s life is set to be interconnected due to the Internet of Things, ultimately allowing not just a streamlined and efficient environment but also a unique technology experience based on individual wants and needs.  

One such technology at the forefront of the efficiency revolution is experiential wayfinding.  This concept is based on a series of core principles which, when combined, affords the user a remarkable experience.

Experiential Wayfinding – The Basics

Experiential wayfinding is an intelligent technology platform that doesn’t just provide directions from point A to Point B but rather offers each individual user a personalized and unique experience based on their wants and needs at the time.  

This is the result of the fact that it does not limit itself to a single technology but is rather simultaneously plugged into a diversified family of technologies ranging from the obvious location-based services to the more complicated predictive analytics software, all of which combine together to provide the key functionality of experiential technology.

Wayfinding software applications, on a fundamental level, function through the use of BLE beacons in the sense that an individual can be 'found' by their geographic proximity to the aforementioned beacons.  

However, the essence of wayfinding technology lies not in how the technology locates you but how it processes the information of your location into something useful.  

The right platform has the power to deliver relevant information to the right person at the right time at the right place. This ability to deepen the relationship between user and technology is ultimately the result of three key dynamics:

1. Proximity 

The first integral dimension to wayfinding experience falls under the topic of proximity. This concept has to do with where exactly the experience is taking place.

For example, if it is detected that that the user is currently in a car, wayfinding technology will look to utilise all of its applicable components to provide only that information that would be relevant to a person in a car as well as taking into account the user’s geographic location and all relevant nearby landmarks.

2. Context 

The second dimension of experience utilised is context.  This refers to understanding what information would be relevant to a person engaging in a specific activity.  

Whereas ‘proximity’ was to do with discerning exactly what form of information needed to be generated based on the user’s location, context rather looks to understanding what the user looks to accomplish through the task.  

For example, if it is detected that the user is in a car, wayfinding technology will understand that the user is looking to arrive at his destination as fast as possible.  

The context will always be viewed through the different lens of each unique user, ensuring applicable results for every individual.


Content is the final dimension of experience and draws from the previous two dimensions. Both the context and proximity of a situation is analysed and relevant content is generated based on the analysis of the results.

To draw on the example of a person travelling in a car once again, the dimension of ‘content’ would note that the person is in the proximity of a car and, based on the context of an experience in a car, the user would like to arrive at his destination as fast as possible.  

Understanding the previous two dimensions of ‘proximity’ and ‘context’ will therefore allow the wayfinding technology to produce relevant results such as the flow and density of traffic along the routes as well as providing the shortest route available.

This golden formula is immensely powerful as the three-dimension method guarantees that all results generated by the technology are immediately relevant to an individual user’s unique wants and needs at any given time.

It is important to note that wayfinding software platforms become even more powerful after extended use. The technology collects data from past experiences and applies it through to new demands of a similar variety.

This heightened analytical tool ensures more relevant results for individual users and the ultimately deeper relationship between user and technology leads to greater overall efficiency. The depth of analysis applied to every situation can be customized at will, ensuring optimal performance in any given scenario.

The previous example of a man in a car was used, but this example is overly simplified and is merely the tip of the iceberg with regards to experiential wayfinding’s capabilities. This technology strives to give a transparent and unique customer experience through the use of proximity, context and content.

These three dimensions really can be applied through to any given situation. The possible uses of experiential wayfinding are thus endless, whether it be locating an empty boardroom at your work, finding a free parking spot at the mall, finding out the length of a wait at a hospital or even sending a message purely based on a person’s current location. Regardless of the need, wayfinding technology ensures a deeper and more enriched experience of place for the individual.


The Evolution of Wayfinding eBook   

Image Source: Quinn Dombrowski

Topic(s): Positioning

Jean Moncrieff

Jean Moncrieff is Jibestream's Location Independent Marketing Lead – current location, Italy. In addition to all things marketing, he loves travel, writing, and red wine. Currently experimenting with vegetarianism.

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