If you’re thinking of using interactive floor-plans to enable meeting room and hot-desk booking, there’s lots to consider to ensure the best ‘end user experience’. Here are some top tips from our chief floor-plan designer on creating a successful solution…..
Room & desk booking systems are becoming increasingly popular as real-estate prices continue to escalate.
If you don’t have the budget to put individual touch screens outside each room or on each desk, you can use overview screens or ‘kiosks’ that enable resource booking and navigation via an interactive floor-plan.
You can also deliver interactive floor plans from any browser or mobile devices to enable a contactless, on-the-go booking and way-finding experience.
Here are some important things to consider in order to ensure a successful solution :
1. Locate your overview screens in a place that’s immediately visible – either on arrival at the main reception area or immediately opposite the lift/stair lobby.
Although placing a screen next to cluster of meeting rooms or desks is a great idea, don’t overlook the fact that staff visiting from other sites may not know how to reach this point in the first place. You could consider having a display only ‘way finder’ screen on arrival, and then an interactive booking screen placed nearer the rooms/resources.
2. Design the floor-plan in ‘heads up orientation’ to aid comprehension.
So, for example, if the ‘East Wing’ of your building is off to the left of the viewer as he/she faces the kiosk screen, the floor plan should show the East Wing as being on the left, even though you might logically think East is on the right. Again, it’s important to understand exactly where the screens will be in relation to the resources you want to book and not just copy the orientation of CAD drawings if you are planning for a new-build office.
3. Make sure you have a power supply and network cabling plumbed in to exactly where you want your screen(s).
You’d be surprised how often this point is overlooked – especially in a new build. Bear in mind that you might not have access to the site itself until well after the first fix, so you need to study CAD diagrams closely and be able to work out where everything will be and make changes if necessary. Cables added at a later date can spoil the end results, leaving your screen looking like something in an Ikea showroom. If you plan to use WiFi it’s worth checking that the signal will be strong enough to reach your desired screen location – especially if you’re in an older building with thick walls.
4. Match in with the décor.
If you have colour-coded carpets or room dividers – build these colours into your floor-plans. This all helps the end user experience as they navigate between zones in the office. It also results in a very slick-looking end product.
5. Tie in with any room names or desk numbering schemes.
Names or numbers should also be used consistently – both on the floor-plan and ‘in real life’. For example, rooms and desks should be labelled to match in with what’s on the screen. Again, don’t underestimate how tricky this can be. A CAD plan might start out with a totally different naming/numbering convention to the final plan produced by the facilities team. Also be prepared for lots of last-minute changes.
6. Add facilities, fire exits, etc. to the floor-plan.
Knowing that the ‘Avon Room’ is just next to ‘the loos’ is a useful guide to navigation. It can also enhance the well-being of both staff and visitors. As well as signposting their nearest escape route in the event of a fire, it also means folk that like lots of coffee can choose a desk that is close to both the kitchen and the WCs.
7. Think about use-ability.
Screens should be accessible by all, including wheelchair users and those that are visually impaired. So think about the height they’re installed at and don’t be tempted to cram too much detail onto one screen. You’re best breaking down a large floor area into separate zones. This is where different naming conventions and colour schemes (e.g. Left Wing, purple carpeted zone) can help with navigation.
As you can see – there’s lots to think about (this is just the tip of the iceberg) and you may have to liaise with several different skill sets – including outside building and design contractors – to make sure everything comes together when your screen goes live.