Wayfinding signs point students in right direction

June 14, 2012 Feature Print Print
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Chris James/Pioneer
TRiO Program Director, Karolyn Chowning, asks David Nguyen to locate his first class on the new Wayfinder placed on the third floor of the OCCC main building on June 2 as part of a guided tour given to this group of fresh Upward Bound students. Wayfinders have popped up all over campus in an effort to help students better navigate the OCCC campus.

Students and faculty returning for summer classes were greeted in the hallways by directory signs pointing the way to their destinations. Called wayfinding kiosks, the new signage is part of an ongoing program to make OCCC more navigable to the unfamiliar, said Chris Snow, Facilities Management assistant director.

“The program’s been going for about three years now,” Snow said. “It started with the building signage, putting the name of each building on it, so you could look and see that this was the Keith Leftwich Memorial Library, or that’s the Visual and Performing Arts Center.”

Snow said the second part of the project was the signs that recently went up around the grounds to direct incoming and outgoing traffic to various parking lots.

“So when you come in and follow the loop road around, it tells you which direction to go for the various parking lots, and which lot is best for which building,” he said.

 

The kiosks, which were designed by an outside engineering firm, were placed in their current locations with an eye towards having a kiosk available at every major entrance, Snow said. He also said a minor concern is walking around in the mornings and finding the kiosks have been moved around a bit.

“It’s not much, just sort of wiggling them about in the place they were put. It might be because they’re in such high traffic areas,” he said.

The concern is that the signs are highly directional, Snow said.

“They have arrows pointing in various directions, and they have a little map that says ‘you are here.’ If they move too far, or too much, they won’t make sense anymore.”

Snow said he’s heard a lot of positive feedback on the kiosks, especially from new and prospective students.

Amanda Zustra, nursing major, said she’s pleased the college added the kiosks.

“Those wayfinder signs are great. It does help me to navigate around,” Zustra said.

She said she wasn’t sure where the English side was when heading from the Math department, let alone the gym area when she first started school at OCCC.

Snow said the next step is to find a way to change the room numbers of the original complex from a grid system to a numbered system.

“The problem is, so many of our systems depend on that grid, but that gives us rooms like NP4, which can be confusing to new students,” Snow said.

“If we try to transfer over directly, we get problems like three walls going from room numbers like100-150, then suddenly having a wall of 350-360. The grid isn’t intuitive.”

Snow said the college is looking for a solution, and will implement wall hangers, like those in the VPAC, when such a solution becomes viable.

“At the end of the day, we’re trying to make this campus as friendly as possible to new and incoming students. We want new students to be able to learn to navigate the campus more smoothly,” Snow said.

“We want students who’ve never been here before to be able to come in any entrance, find their way to registration, and start their college journey.”

For more information on the wayfinding kiosks, contact Facilities Management at 405-682-7554.

To contact Jeremy Cloud, email editor@occc.edu.

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