Touchscreen or Static Digital Building Directories: Not Always a Simple Choice (Part Three)

Touch or Non-Touch Directories: Which is the best choice for your business? This is the question we’ve been addressing for the last two weeks, bringing us to today’s blog and our third installment in the series. To briefly recap the previous weeks’ discussions: We define a non-touch digital directory as either a static screen that always displays the same information, such as office numbers and locations, or a screen that rotates through a set series of different informational “slides”. Digital touchscreen directories, on the other hand, offer different levels of interactivity, depending on the complexity of the software, from one- or two-button operation, to full touchscreen capabilities, much like a tablet. Considering the impact of the “three Ss” before making a decision is a big part of ensuring you get the the right fit for your business’ needs. Since we covered Situation last week, today we’ll talk through how our second S, “Setting,” may impact the decision to purchase one type of directory over another.

The term “setting” refers to the environment in which the building directory be used. Will it be placed in an apartment lobby, on a medical campus with multiple buildings and hundreds of floors or in a mixed-use live/work development? These are just a few examples, but each poses a unique set of challenges for end users that a digital directory would potentially be used to solve.

Let’s say the plan is for a digital building directory for a 40-floor apartment building in New York City. First, because it’s unlikely that multiple people will be using the directory at once, making a touchscreen that is less than 26” is a good choice. But how interactive, that’s the question. If this will just be used to find tenants within the building, then a basic “page through” type of functionality is fine. However, higher-end wayfinding options can also be integrated, such as the ability to offer customized maps and information about the surrounding area, or to show the weather, news or building announcements, too.

For the mixed-use development, although a simple one- or two-button directory could be deployed, it’s probably not the best choice. There are often multiple buildings, that includes residences, stores, restaurants and entertainment venues. This is an excellent opportunity to do a lot more than just give users basic location information. Instead, choosing a full touchscreen directory that can showcase grand openings and sales, allow patrons to purchase tickets to movies, search for specific stores via an on-screen keyboard, make dinner reservations and even route users most efficiently over multiple stops can be a much better use of interactive wayfinding and directory technology.

Finally, the large hospital campus has its own set of considerations for building an appropriate digital directory. As more individuals are likely to be in wheelchairs or have differing levels of physical abilities, ADA compliance will be necessary. These directories must also offer a completely frustration-free experience, as patients are often upset, anxious or short on time, depending on the reasons for their hospital visit, and this is especially true for patients, who are the hospitals customers.  The last thing a hospital system needs is what amounts to a poor customer experience on what may already be a difficult day for them. While basic, non-touch digital directories may be fine if they are to be deployed on each floor to assist in finding the correct office or individual room, interactive, touchscreen wayfinding can be one of the most powerful ways to help patients feel more calm and in control while in what is often a stressful environment.

Join us next week for the conclusion of our series on how to choose between touchscreen and non-touch directories. In the meantime, if your business ready to invest in digital wayfinding technology, we invite you to submit a request for proposal online or call (800) 628-3603 today to find out how RedyRef can help you give your customers a best-in-class user experience.

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