Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art and Design

First Advisor

Jihyun Song


This thesis consists of a literature review, a case study that was conducted, and a proposal of guidelines for effective wayfinding design in healthcare environments. The research questions investigated were: 1) How does the built environment of a multi-story clinic affect wayfinding? 2) Which elements of a healthcare environment become most important to users who are navigating it? 3) Which elements of a healthcare environment detract from the user's wayfinding experience? The researcher's hypothesis was that insufficient signage and a lack of available maps would be identified as the main issues in the wayfinding experience. This hypothesis was developed through the literature review and the researcher's own visits to the space. Literature written by Mollerup (2005) and Passini (1984) was used as the primary guides by the researcher in analyzing the space and suggesting changes for improvement.

Wayfinding is an important issue in healthcare environments, but there is not a substantial amount of literature available concerning the subject. This thesis aims to apply existing wayfinding research to a specific site within the healthcare field to suggest improvements to the specific site as well as develop a set of healthcare-specific wayfinding guidelines.

The site of the case study was the McFarland Clinic building at 1215 Duff Avenue in Ames, Iowa. Study participants were asked to locate a specific destination within the clinic without any prior directions or help from staff. The participant group for the study was divided into two destination groups. After locating their destination they were surveyed about the experience. The surveys were formatted so that for each question participants either chose an applicable response offered or checked all responses they agreed with, depending on the question. There was also room for comments after each question, and they were encouraged.

The resulting data was analyzed and a list of goals for improvements to the Clinic was created. Specific improvement suggestions for each goal were then detailed. A list of general guidelines for wayfinding design in healthcare environments was then compiled based on the results of this study in addition to existing literature.


Copyright Owner

Kristin Lewis



Date Available


File Format


File Size

163 pages