University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics

Madison, WI

The goal for this project was to resolve long-standing wayfinding difficulties at this University of Wisconsin hospital caused by excessive signage, difficult terminology, a confusing addressing system and the hospital’s complex design. 

The solution centered on the creation of “Main Street,” a linear pathway through the main level of the hospital, connecting all the elevator cores. A change in the color of the floor tile along Main Street clearly expressed the new linear nature of wayfinding as opposed to the previous grid method.

The five primary elevator banks are marked by their letter designation with large, freestanding kiosk “landmarks” in the center of each elevator core. Large overhead signs directing people to the most frequently visited destinations, wall-mounted signs directing people to all destinations, elevator directories and departmental identification signs complete the program. A handheld directory complements the signage.

Since the completion of the project, many people have commented that “finally, after twenty years, we’re able to find our way around.”