Visual Accessibility and Inclusive Wayfinding Design in Hospital Environment in Nigeria
Keywords:Barriers, hospital environment, impact, inclusive wayfinding, visual accessibility
Visual accessibility refers to the legibility and intelligibility of space cues that most contribute to the searching and use of information from the environment for wayfinding in hospitals. Because of building complexity and expansions over time, there is a lack of visual clarity to navigate and access the most desired destinations in the hospital. However, the inaccessibility of space by many unfamiliar users of any age, gender, or disability resulted in disorientation, uncertainty, stress, frustration, getting lost, and missed medical appointments. The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact and barriers of visual accessibility on wayfinding in hospital buildings. Mixed-method approach combined quantitative and qualitative measures for the study area with focus on General Outpatients Departments (GOPD). A simple random sampling technique was used to select 98 participants. 24 respondents were selected for interview, while GOPD hospital buildings were observed for data elicitation. The main findings show that some of the circulation spaces were crowded with patients, and that most destinations within the GOPD were not visible from the main entrance. In addition, indistinctive nodes act as barriers, rendering some buildings inaccessible during navigation. It also revealed that signage, unit building entrances, and lighting were legible and properly positioned, enhancing space accessibility during wayfinding. The main limitations of this study are the absence of physically challenged people and the elderly in the research process, as well as cultural and linguistic differences. The implications are that designers should make simplified building layout more legible to the wide group of users such that core sections are visible and interlinked with high traffic flow pathways in the hospital for inclusive wayfinding. This study suggested solutions to the problems of visual accessibility in the hospital could improve all users' inclusive wayfinding, increase satisfaction, confidence, reduce confusion during direction-finding in the hospital.
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