KNOWHERE

what: education tools
for: design students, specifically architecture, interior design, and graphic design students
accolades: Cincinnati Design Awards; Interior Design Educators Council; Miami University SCA Faculty Research Grant
exhibits: knowhere: finding the ways we wayfind (Miami University Cage Gallery 2011); mobile italy: an exhibit of student work (Miami University Cage Gallery 2009)
presentations: SEGD Academic Summit 2012; Interior Design Educators Council Conference, 2011; Innenarchitektur hs Rosenheim, 2011

Breadcrumbs. Wayfinding, an amazing tool, deals with providing navigational “breadcrumbs” to travelers, helping them find their way between locations. Speaking the language of space, information, shape, and form, wayfinding addresses the communication of information within the realms of graphic design, architecture and interior design. 

But sometimes problems in clear communication arise, especially when the behavioral aspects of human navigation are overlooked.

Luckily, we can address these issues early… Assuming we rethink the current wayfinding education model, and teach beyond the book. 

By considering issues of navigation behavior, we can establish a wayfinding education model that seeks to help explain the how and the why behind navigation, regardless of the ultimate where. But how do we teach behavior and context in the static environment of a standard classroom? 

We don’t.

Knowhere, an immersive education model designed to teach wayfinding from a more hands-on manner, uses graphic design to establish educational events that communicate ideas of design elements in an immersive context and environment. Through the use of exhibit design and mobile studio equipment, the Knowhere model pulls students out of their chairs and immerses them in the world of wayfinding in ways that encourage exploration and creative analysis. 

Rather than dictate how wayfinding design must change, Knowhere outlines ideas designed to assist students in forming their own opinions, solutions, and methods. Ultimately, Knowhere proposes challenge students to investigate and document the existing world of wayfinding, to see what’s been done, what works, and what ultimately might be.

A PDF version of the Knowhere: Designing Ways to Teach Wayfinding process journal can be found here.

UPDATE 2018: Knowhere is back in action, this time taking form as a travel blog, of sorts. Check knowherefast.net for the latest investigations and updated exploration prompts.


knowhere1.jpg
 research tends to take over one's life...

research tends to take over one's life...

 extensive user-testing protocols were enacted

extensive user-testing protocols were enacted


wander: a roadkit for exploring knowhere

We can’t expect students to understand wayfinding ideas through the traditional model of lectures and reading assignments. Students learn best through experience, so we need to show them instead. The Roadkit for Exploring Knowhere is a design tool for doing just that.

 the full roadkit—handmade bag, pencil holder (with custom gluestick and TSA-approved x-acto knife), exploration prompt cards, field book, camera, and water bottle

the full roadkit—handmade bag, pencil holder (with custom gluestick and TSA-approved x-acto knife), exploration prompt cards, field book, camera, and water bottle

 drawing prompts provide ideas on how to “find” wayfinding clues

drawing prompts provide ideas on how to “find” wayfinding clues

details of roadkit components—cards, field book, camera, and water bottle

roadkit packaging with research summary book


interact: digital tools for finding knowhere

The fundamental idea behind knowhere is in showing students that context and behavior affect navigation. To keep the lessons relevant, a series of interactive tools evolved to augment the Roadkit.

The iPhone/iPad app and social media website mimic their Roadkit counterparts, encouraging travelers to document their journeys for further discussion with their peers.

 category screens in the iPhone app provide access to different ways of tagging, mapping, and exploring wayfinding ideas.

category screens in the iPhone app provide access to different ways of tagging, mapping, and exploring wayfinding ideas.

The website provides access to knowhere information and resources, but inspires exploration by hiding navigation clues in the backgrounds.

knowhere online community screen


explore: finding knowhere all around

Is it possible to reach a larger audience, perhaps outside of the specific target? Can it be done in a way that evokes curiosity? Maybe… If we immerse students in the learning. The exhibit Knowhere: Finding the Ways We Wayfind did just that.

 floorplan of applied vinyl graphics

floorplan of applied vinyl graphics


process manual