Exploring the Correlation between Campus Map Representation and Wayfinding Behavior through Virtual Environment
Authors: Kai-Wei Hsu, Ching I Chen, Meng-Cong Zheng
Abstract: National Taipei University of Technology (NTUT) is located in the heart of Taipei's prosperous transportation district. The campus retains many architectural features from the early 20th century. The Red House Historic Monument, a designated historical site in Taipei City, has cultural tourism value in Taiwan's history. The campus is also surrounded by scenic spots such as the Huashan 1914 Creative Park and the Guang Hua Digital Plaza, which attract many tourists. However, the campus is divided into several school districts by major traffic arteries and has three main entrances and exits. Overcrowded layouts and unclear categorized information hierarchies are apparent problems. However, we must investigate why entrants and tourists cannot reach their destinations efficiently through the campus map.This study uses the National Taipei University of Technology campus as the experimental site. It aims to investigate the design of its mapping system through the wayfinding behavior in the virtual environment. The 3D software was used to build the existing architectural environment. Then the model was imported into Unity 3D to simulate a scenario where the participants could move freely around the campus from a first-person perspective. A total of 30 participants were recruited for the online experiment, and three sets of scenarios were provided to simulate wayfinding on the campus, with eight tasks in each set. The assessment methods include: 1) participants were asked to perform the tasks and record their behavior and thinking aloud; 2) a five-point Likert scale was used to record the participants' evaluation of the map and their feelings while performing the tasks; 3) semi-structured interviews were conducted to understand the reasons behind the decisions and behaviors to wayfinding. We found that the existing campus mapping system had two major design problems: 1) Missing information. Important sites were not marked on the map, so the participants could only find them at a loss. 2) Design flaws. The maps on the same road have inconsistent directions, which causes the participants to spend extra time to confirm the original information and wayfinding strategy and increases the error rate. The original color differentiation and numbering provided little help. Participants indicated that they did not always notice them; even if they did, they did not find it helpful or counterproductive. "You Are Here" information was incomplete, resulting in errors in route-finding decisions. The position of the map stand is not consistent with the orientation of the participants, which increases unnecessary thinking time. The map design and the distribution of the overall campus don't meet the users' needs. The results of the study provide us with an understanding of users' pathfinding behavior on campus, which can be used as a reference for subsequent design improvements.
Keywords: Wayfinding 、Campus map design、Virtual environment
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