UX Word of the Day: Wayfinding

If you’ve ever been inside the Minneapolis skyway—the human-size hamster tunnel—you immediately understand the critical need for clear wayfinding.

The skyway system is notoriously confusing. Each building owns their branch of the skyway system—so signage is terribly inconsistent or non-existent.


Helping users find their way to their destination using design cues—signage, labeling, arrows.

How to test wayfinding

On websites and apps, use a research method called a “tree test” to measure the effectiveness of your architecture and labels. A tree test is very similar to a usability study. Participants are given realistic tasks to complete, and then they look through the navigation and select where they expect to find the answer to the task.

You can also test wayfinding in real life spaces. Observe participants complete wayfinding tasks, or attach a GPS tracker to record their paths. Use a stop watch to time how long it takes for them to find their destination. Count and log wrong turns.

See also: UX Word of the Day Index

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Author: Kristine Remer

Kristine Remer is a CX / UX researcher and strategist in Minneapolis. She helps drive significant business outcomes by finding and solving customer problems. When she's not creating customer journey maps and conducting diary studies, Kristine is either kayaking, trying new recipes, or acting silly with her house full of boys.