If you’re in the market for a digital wayfinding solution for your mall, airport, healthcare center, or other high-capacity facility, you may find several developers ready to fulfill your needs. However, if you want the best, you’ll have to do your research on what qualifies a system as such—beyond price points. Because in the digital world, you’ll find plenty of tech companies claiming their software is the best of its kind. Actually, that’s likely true for pretty much any company in any industry. Everyone wants their stuff to be the best, but that title is reserved for products that are truly superior to all others in the same category.
Digital wayfinding software must provide comprehensive solutions to be called the best. Let’s take a look at the characteristics of a best-of-breed digital wayfinding system, specifically the software included in the solution.
Great Customer-Facing UI and UX
It’s hard to call any type of modern software successful if it doesn’t have a great user interface design (UI) that’s easy to navigate, coupled with an attractive user experience design (UX) that makes the system a pleasure to use. These two types of design work closely together to attract and retain customers, and if a software solution doesn’t have both, it’s not the best. Great UX without great UI results in software that looks great but is difficult to use. Great UI without great UX results in software that is easy to use but looks terrible. A best-of-breed digital wayfinding solution will have a perfect balance of UI and UX that work hand in hand to create a design that is appealing, functional, and intuitive.
While customer satisfaction is often the main goal of a digital wayfinding system, it would be a mistake to ignore or downplay the importance of operator satisfaction. While the customer uses the system any time they visit your location, the operator is often interacting with the system much more frequently. If the internal UI design isn’t as functional as the external UI design, the operator is more likely to make mistakes or feel frustrated by using the system. Imagine having software you had to use regularly for your job that put you in a bad mood every time you interacted with it. Not a great solution! Therefore, a best-of-breed digital wayfinding solution is engineered with the operator in mind.
Open API for Integrations
An Application Programming Interface (API) is a software intermediary that allows different applications to communicate with each other and share data. Open APIs can be accessed by as many different applications as possible; they’re developed with the intent of being accessible to outside developers. We can use Facebook as an example. With an open API, Facebook allows third-party apps (like that app that makes you look old) to connect with a user’s news feed.
When it comes to digital wayfinding software, choosing a system with an open API allows you to easily integrate your wayfinding software with other applications. For example, say your facility has an existing mobile app. A best-of-breed digital wayfinding solution with open API will be able to seamlessly integrate with your app, allowing users to access wayfinding in the app or vice versa.
Strong Analytics Package
You can’t know how successful your digital wayfinding solution is without analytics. A best-of-breed digital wayfinding system will track every touch and compile the results in a strong analytics package. The analytics should track searches and other usage data, such as how long it takes for your customers to fulfill their navigating needs. You can apply this information to enhance your marketing and user experience efforts.
Dynamic Mapping Options
If you’ve ever used a navigation app while driving, you may be familiar with the frustration of having all of the directions you need to get to your destination, but not knowing for sure which way to head out. Along the same line, a digital wayfinding solution isn’t the best of its kind unless users understand which way to take the first step; they need to know where they are in relation to where they’re going. A best-of-breed digital wayfinding solution will have dynamic mapping options that display the user’s location and route to their destination with point-to-point directions. It will also allow users to pan, zoom, and rotate the map to get acquainted with the property, among many other custom possible features.
Delivering a consistent message or experience to customers across multiple channels (such as online, mobile, in-store, or by phone) requires what is known as an omni-channel marketing strategy. Omni-channel strategies keep customers happy by providing a universal experience, no matter where or how people interact with a brand. A best-of-breed digital wayfinding solution provides this level of continuity, allowing a company or brand to target visitors before (via website to prepare for the visit as many guests do), during (on-site using a kiosk or mobile phone), and after (follow up link, SMS message, or other opt-in campaign) an on-site visit.
Multiple Search Functions
Finally, a best-of-breed digital wayfinding solution has multiple search functions, because not all customers search the same way every time. Some customers will search by name, while others will search by category. The solution should also recognize when there are multiple locations of the same brand or name and be able to understand what users mean even when they misspell something.
Today’s customers follow their own paths and expect you to anticipate their wants and needs. Incorporating a digital wayfinding solution into your facility is an innovative way to communicate with your guests and provide a more enjoyable experience while they are in your space, but not all wayfinding software is created equal. To be effective, it must provide the comprehensive solutions listed above.
Contact Us for One-of-a-Kind Wayfinding Solutions
Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, Express Image Digital is redefining the wayfinding experience. Our end-to-end software, hardware, and creative design offerings deliver great guest experiences and include the most comprehensive software features and integration options. Let’s start a conversation! We’re happy to tell you more about our services and answer any questions.