Wayfinding and wayfinding design:
Passini, R., (1984), Wayfinding in Architecture, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York.
(second edition by Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992)
The first book to introduce wayfinding and to articulate the concept as a dynamic process of spatial problem-solving. It proposes an overall theoretical framework and outlines the design applications for architectural and urban planning as well as for the conception of sign systems.
Arthur, P., Passini, R., (1992), Wayfinding, People, Signs and Architecture, McGraw Hill, Toronto, New York.
(second edition by Focus, Oakville (Ont., 2002)
This collaborative work with the well-known graphic designer Paul Arthur, is a detailed examination of the architectural and graphic components in wayfinding design. Given its practical content, it is a widely used reference book.
Passini, R., (1996), "Wayfinding design: Logic, application and some thoughts on universality", Design Studies, 17, (3), 319-331.
Wayfinding design applies to the spatial organisation of a setting, the circulation system and architectural as well as graphic communication. The paper provides a practical approach to wayfinding design and reflects on the question of universality (standards including the needs of the handicapped population) and its limits.
Wayfinding and the visual handicap
Wayfinding is a prerequisite to autonomy and social integration. Our research work provides information on how visually impaired and blind people find their way. Although the basic wayfinding processes are identical to those of sighted people, the type of information used, the number of decisions and the care taken when planning a trip differ significantly.
Passini, R., Dupré, A., Langlois, C., (1986), "Spatial mobility of the visually handicapped active person: a descriptive study", Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 80, (8), 904-907.
The study based on interviews with 47 subjects representing different visual handicaps focuses on the difficulties of wayfinding in the complex urban environment and suggests design interventions facilitating mobility.
Passini, R., Proulx, G., (1988), "Wayfinding without vision: an experiment with congenitally totally blind people", Environment and Behavior, 20, (2), 227 –252.
The study examines the wayfinding process when learning a new route. The comparative study with 15 congenitally totally blind subjects and a control group of 15 sighted subjects, outlines their respective wayfinding behavior and demonstrates blind people's abilities to understand the spatial characteristics of a setting.
Passini, R., Proulx, G., Rainville, C. (1990) "The Spatio-Cognitive Abilities of the Visually Impaired Population", Environment and Behavior, 22, (1), 91-118.
The study tests the spatio-cognive abilities of people representing various visual handicaps. The study involves close to 90 subjects. Visually impaired people and even the congenitally blind are shown to be able to perform all spatio-cognitive operations. Implications for the design of complex settings are discussed.
Wayfinding and dementia of the Alzheimer type
The effects of Alzheimer dementia on the cognitive abilities related to wayfinding are examined. The premise of this research is that in order to plan for people with Alzheimer disease one has to know which abilities have deteriorated and which are still functional. A setting designed with respect to these residual abilities will facilitate wayfinding and will also help to preserve cognitive functions, giving the residents a superior quality of life. Alzheimer disease is a major debilitating factor for the elderly. It affects approximately 5% of people aged 65 and increases at 1% with every year.
Passini, R., Joanette, Y., Rainville, C., Marchand, N., (1998), "Wayfinding in dementia: some research findings and a new look at design", Journal of Architecture and Planning Research, 15, (2), 133-151.
The study analyses wayfinding in a complex hospital setting. 14 Alzheimer patients at an intermediate stage of the disease and a control group of 28 healthy seniors have to reach an unfamiliar destination. The study shows that Alzheimer patients can deal with wayfinding decisions as long as the information is immediately accessible. They have difficulties when information has to be remembered or inferred and have lost the ability to plan and to understand the spatial layout of a setting.
Passini, R., Rainville, C., Pigot, H., Tétreault, M., (2000). ‘Wayfinding in a nursing home for advanced dementia of the Alzheimer type’ Environment and Behavior, 32, (5), 684-710.
The aim of the study is to generate architectural and interior design ideas as well as graphic criteria in order to encourage and facilitate wayfinding for advanced Alzheimer patients. One of the key findings of the study, which took place in a nursing home, is that the patients may still operate in an articulated and diversified environment, while they tend to be lost in the monotonous double-loaded corridor floor of their private rooms.
Wayfinding and brain lesion
Passini, R., Rainville, C., Habib, M., (2000). ‘Spatio-cognitive deficits in right parietal lesion and its impact on wayfinding: a case study’ Neurocase, 6, 245-257.
Case study of a patient with a right hemisphere lesion affecting micro spatial abilities (tasks involving mental rotations, right-left discriminations, etc.) but leaving the understanding of an architectural layout intact. Of interest is the observation that the lesion, and its resulting micro-spatial deficiencies, have no impact on wayfinding. Clinical tests, which tend to limit themselves to measuring micro spatial performance, have therefore little value in establishing wayfinding abilities.