Way-finding encompasses all of the ways in which people orient themselves in physical space and navigate from place to place. In other words, knowing where you are, knowing where your destination is, following the most efficient route, recognizing your destination and finding your way back to your original point of origin or to a new destination point.
For a person to orient him/herself in any environment, he/she will need to be able to perform all of the above stages in the way-finding sequence. When a person is not able to perform any one of the above stages, indoors or outdoors, we say they are disoriented. For many of us, way-finding is simple and part of our daily routine. Even when we are in unfamiliar surroundings, we are able to orient ourselves by reading signs or information boards etc. and reach a destination.
Millions of Elderly, Visually Impaired and Blind people, however do not share the same fortunate ability. For them, trying to find their way around a Mall, Hospital, Government building, etc. is like a nightmare. Without the help of another individual, in today's society, blind people cannot independently walk around a mall, hospital government building etc. It is not only problematic for them to find the entrance, but when within the vicinity, they have no idea on what services are offered and in which direction to walk.
Disorientation has significant negative consequences, both for individuals and for the organizations that serve them. Providing an easy navigation solution will benefit everyone.