Taronga Zoo. Sydney, NSW. 2009.
Taronga Conservation Society Australia
Showing us a great day at the zoo
Taronga Zoo on Sydney Harbour has been visited by generations of Australians and is a must-see attraction for international visitors. The Zoo, with its heritage listed entrance building, is set on 28 hectares of beautifully landscaped parkland.
Continuous redevelopment on the site has created a complex labyrinth of pathways making cognitive mapping and navigation a challenging process. In addition, signage has developed reactively rather than strategically over time.
Photography : Florian Groehn + Dotdash
Visitor movement patterns demonstrated that visitors often zigzagged across the site passing through the same intersections many times and often left without seeing many of the exhibits.
Visitors’ travel paths were often influenced by lines of sight and the natural flow and gradient of pathways rather than a clear understanding of locations of exhibits on offer.
Our challenge was to better inform visitors to:
- Understand all of the exhibits and events in the Zoo and how to access them.
- Manage their time (and energy) to ensure they can make the most of their visit.
- Develop their own mental map of the site to better enjoy their experience.
Our wayfinding strategy aimed to bring order to the site focusing on the hierarchy of pathways. This included:
- showing one clear main connecting path within the whole site by using regular ground marking;
- numbering entries to trails off the main path that became orientation milestones and worked with the Zoo’s exhibit themes.
We also designed a new visitors’ map to use in signs, web and print. The map conveys both the richness and the new legibility of the Zoo environment.
The design outcome is a simple logical system that sits well in the Zoo landscape and communicates in a positive tone to the Zoo’s visitors.
The first quarterly visitor satisfaction survey included the following results:
Increase in satisfaction of Ease of Wayfinding from 69% to 84% (significant).
Increase in satisfaction of Ease of Moving Around from 72% to 91% (significant).
Additionally, positive comments continue to flow from visitors, staff and volunteers alike.
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