‘Find Fukuoka’ : Designing a customizable wayfinding concept to travel from the airport to the city center. Mark Wong - Game Design Yuan Qiu - Kansei Scientist Jeffrey Gyamfi - Interaction designer Hanae Nagayasu - Industrial design Kayoko Wakamatsu - Industrial design Keywords: Airport design, wayfinding design, signage and map, (28 January 2017)
Abstract Finding the way from the airport to the city center can be a difficult task, and Fukuoka Airport is no exception to this. The small amount of English information, non speaking English staff and confusing presentation of the information gives the traveller a non welcoming feeling. Making them uncertain about where to go next. On base of this the following research question has been made: “How can we give the travellers of Fukuoka airport international terminal a welcoming and reassuring arrival” Desk Research has been done on wayfinding, expectations and uncertainty avoidance. After that moving on to observations, interviews, signage mapping sessions and prototyping. ‘Find Fukuoka’ is a new wayfinding concept aimed to improve the customer’s experience when arriving at the airport and travelling from the airport to the city center.
Introduction Finding the way from the airport to the city center can be a difficult task, and Fukuoka Airport is no exception to this. Fukuoka Airport exists of two terminals. The domestic terminal, which handles domestic flights within Japan and the international terminal, which flies to, mostly, asian countries. The international terminal is separated from the domestic terminal and connected by a free shuttle bus. International traveling passengers arrive on the first floor of the international terminal. However the subway is situated at the domestic terminal, which means travellers have to know that they have to go with the shuttle bus first, or take the Nishitetsu bus on the third floor of International terminal. There is an information center at the terminal, however this information center provides information mostly focused on what to do around Fukuoka, rather than how to travel around. When travellers arrive at Fukuoka airport their main goal is to go to their accommodation first, and then think about what to do next. The research question of this project is: “How can we give the travellers of Fukuoka airport international terminal a welcoming and reassuring arrival” Desk Research has been done on wayfinding, expectations and uncertainty avoidance. After that moving on to observations, interviews, signage mapping sessions, prototyping and user testing.
Background Wayfinding around the airport “cognitive models of space—models that are built upon people’s experiences with the environment. “ (Martin Raubal et al.
1997) When walking around the airport the traveller creates a cognitive model of the spatial environment in their mind. This model is created and fueled by the travellers experience with the airport and reflects the travellers experience. Wayfinding around the airport can be a stressful process, especially for first time travellers. Rodney Fewings describes in “Wayfinding and Airport Terminal Design” two types of route decision making. In static route decision-making a journey or trip is chosen from a given or known set of options, while dynamic involves searching or being given information while on your route. In the case of the airport the traveller is faced with a dynamic choice problem, they have to make decisions while moving through the building, while traveling from the airport to the city center is considered a static route decision. Inside buildings the users use different variables in order to navigate around: visual access, architectural differentiation and plan configuration (Rodney Fewings, 2001). But also commonsense knowledge of geographic space (Martin Raubal et al. 1997) like the cognitive model of space described earlier. For the signage Mijksenaar, a dutch company who designed Amsterdam Airport Schiphol’s and John F. Kennedy Airport’s wayfinding among others, defined the following main points: ●
Conspicuity; The sign should attract attention ● Consistency; Be consistent with your names ● Clarity; The message should the clear and easy to understand (Mijksenaar, 2016)
It is important to consider these points when reviewing the signage in Fukuoka Airport, however they are also useful when designing information which needs to be easy to understand. Meeting and exceeding expectations When traveling through an airport people have a lot of expectations, naturally they expect that these will be met. Donald Norman argues that expectations should be met or exceeded and confusion should be eliminated in order to prevent angry or unhappy customers. “One of the major determiners of emotional unhappiness is fear of the unknown and uncertainty” (Norman, Donald. 2008). As stated earlier humans tend to create a cognitive model of their spatial environment. The assumption is that this cognitive model drives the expectations of the traveller. As example, it is common that the airport is connected with some kind of rail transport, thus creating the expectation that there is a railroad connection. However, these expectations and cognitive models are culturally subjective. In other words, a traveller from the States has different expectations than a traveller from China. Uncertainty Avoidance Geert Hofstede defined five cultural dimensions with which you can compare different cultures. The most important one is the ‘uncertainty avoidance index’ (UAI). Uncertainty avoidance index expresses the degree to which the members of a society feel uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity (Hofstede, G. 2017). The higher the UAI is the more uncomfortable a country is with change and the unknown, while a lower UAI country maintains a more relaxed attitude. In ‘The effect of uncertainty avoidance on information search, planning, and 1
purchases of international travel vacations‘ (R.B. Money, et al. (2002)) researched the effect on vacation planning from the perspective of a high and medium UAI country. He states that when members of a high UAI country plans a vacation, they spend more time planning their vacation versus a member of a medium UAI country (R. B. Money, et al. (2002)). Thus, leading to the assumption that basic information such as transportation is deemed unnecessary at the airport. R.B. Money’s research concludes that: the lower the uncertainty avoidance index, the lower the percentage of users doing extensive trip planning, while the opposite happens for high uncertainty avoidance countries (R. B. Money et al. (2002).
also explained that their expectation of being given quite amount information were not met. In the figure 2 Japan is compared with South Korea and China. Though Asia countries are more uncertainty avoiding, China has a comparable number, and the one from South Korea is substantially lower. Chinese tourists come to fukuoka most. But as figure 1 showed that China’s score is much lower than Japan. It is easy to tell that Chinese tourists require more easy-understanding information and details.
In stark contrast with western countries which tend to have a much lower uncertainty avoidance. See figure 1 for a comparison with United Stated and The Netherlands.
Figure 2 Uncertainty avoidance in asian countries
Methods + results
Figure 1 Uncertainty avoidance in western countries The gap of scores between Japan and western countries, leads to the gap of information requirement. According to the dimension of uncertainty avoidance, western travellers need more help after arriving, which means the need more available information at the airport. This is
Study 1 Multiple observations have been done around the domestic and international terminal. They focused on what kind of facilities, information and service Fukuoka airport already supplies to the traveller. Participants: Team members Result The main finding of study 1 is: ‘Not welcome feeling’, this is being reflected in the lack of english information. Travellers expect a sufficient amount of English information at the airport for the 4th 2
biggest city from Japan. But this expectation is not met. The other expectation is that the staff can speak English, but also this one is not met. When looking at the information around the airport there are a couple of things to note: ● Some translations on the wall are written with a very small font size, so that sometimes travellers may ignore them. ● The information is presented very confusing. Most of the time in 4 different languages, creating a very cluttered and busy image. A dutch wayfinding company called Mijksenaar stated that signs should attract the attention and be as unambiguous as possible. Travellers are unaware of the fact that there is a Nishitetsu bus going from the International terminal to the city center. Furthermore, they don’t know that the subway is not connected with the International terminal. The lack of information makes the travel difficult for travellers. The information center across the arrival hall provides enough information, however most of this information is focused on activities in Kyushu rather than the most essential information: transportation. There is only one subway map, but even this one is difficult to find because of its small size and location. Study 2 In order to understand the travellers’ behaviour and find out what may the problem for travellers to use Fukuoka international terminal and what they may need had. Participants: 30 people whom have the experience of using Fukuoka airport Result: Only a little part of travellers take the bus to Fukuoka airport. Usually they
take either subway or taxi. The reasons are firstly, the bus stop is hard to find at Tenjin, the city centre, and second they feel the buses are always late. On the other hand, arrivals are not taking buses to the city centre from fukuoka airport is becauses of the similar reason, they feel subway would be faster than the bus. Actually, when taking the bus the traveller saves around the 10 minutes of travel time versus when traveling with the subway, because the subway stops at the domestic terminal rather than the international terminal. Besides, travellers are expecting more buses. each time around 20 travellers can get on the bus, and the others have to wait for the next one. it would be harder for travellers during the rush hour. This situation forces them to take subway, too. Study 3 Method:Interview 2 Goal: Clarify the travellers feeling about Fukuoka and what can represent Fukuoka. Participants: 10 foreigners living in Fukuoka over 1 year. Result: For foreigners, Fukuoka have more nature sights than the other top cities in Japan. Also, Fukuoka is famous for local food. These two advantages make Fukuoka a good place to travel. They would prefer a convenient living environment, but also a silent, heart-warming feeling. Fukuoka is a modern city, but still remains a traditional Japanese way of living compares to Tokyo, Osaka, etc. , Study 4 Method: Signage mapping Goal: To map all the signs around the airport
In order to judge if the current wayfinding situation of the International terminal is sufficient enough, a signage mapping session has been conducted. Pictures have been taken of all the signs around the airport. And their location is marked on a floor plan. After this was done for all the four floors, the floorplan was compared with the research done on wayfinding. While the wayfinding in the international terminal itself is sufficient, there is not a satisfying wayfinding system from the international terminal to the city center in place. It is not clear that you can take the Nishitetsu bus from the international terminal to the city center. Our concept aims to improve upon these weak points.
Concept ‘Find Fukuoka’ is a wayfinding system to guide you from the international terminal to the city center in the way you like. It aims to provide only the essential information in a small bite size card format. As found out in the research the information center is lacking this kind of information. In order to prevent redundancy this concept should complement the information center rather than replace or duplicate it. On base of this knowledge following design goals were formulated: ● ●
Giving the traveller a ‘welcome to Fukuoka’ feeling’. Provide the traveller with information regarding transportation around Fukuoka.
The yamakasa in the interational terminal of Fukuoka Airport In front of this Yamakasa statue stands a big panel at where the travellers can collect a folder and information cards. The panel would be made from transparent material to prevent obscuring the yamakasa. The height of the content will be around the 1.70 meter to gather to both Japanese and western average length. The panel is divided into three parts from left to right: Explore, choose and go. In explore a map will give the traveller an orientation of Fukuoka. After that they can, optionally, collect a folder and cards, then finish with the different options of where to go next. Furthermore, travellers choose the transportation tools (more information, shuttle bus, highway bus, taxi) by following
Panel When walking into the arrival hall a big Yamakasa statue welcomes the travellers. A yamakasa is a big float which is made to participate in a race during the “Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival”. 4
The design of the panel. Folder The traveller can collect a foldable folder. On the inside of this folder is a map of Fukuoka and space to store the cards. The back has a diagram showcasing the different transportation options to, from and between: the international terminal, domestic terminal, Hakata and Tenjin. You can also tear of the other side and send it as a postcard, or keep it as a reminder of your trip to Fukuoka.
The diagram showcasing the different transportation options.
The folder with the four different parts clockwise: Postcard, Postcard picture, graphic and Fukuoka prefecture map. After collecting the folder the user can choose from a variety of information cards. Cards Wayfinding can be divided in functional and emotional layer. The functional layer is the basic information the user needs to find their way around. The emotional layer gives the traveller a satisfied emotion or specific feeling, depending on what the design is aiming for. In this case the front of the card contains the functional layer, while the back has the cultural side. There are 8 different cards: three for the Nishitestu bus to Tenjin and Hakata, three for the railroads (Subway, JR and Nishitestu), one for Wifi around the city and one for emergency numbers. The information on these cards is the most necessary information. As example the JR card provides an overview of all the lines with stations and where the Shinkansen (highspeed bullet train) stops. These cards are in convenient pocket size format so the traveller can put them in their pocket or behind their phone case in case the folder is inconvenient. The colors on the cards relate to the category they are in, as example the three bus cards have a blue shade so people will associate them with each other, however at the same time they have at least 5 shades of color difference 5
to assure people can distinguish them from each other.
The back design of the cards. Study 5 Method: User test Goal: To collect the user’s opinion In order to decide if the concept works or not, an user test has been done. For this user test a set of cards has been given to two travellers from the Netherlands. They observed the cards and their main feedback was: I would like to have a map of Fukuoka on the folder, so I can have a sense of orientation. The first reactions were positive and the testers would loved to see the concept implemented at other Japanese airport.
Discussion/Conclusion The aim of this research was to propose a concept to Fukuoka Airport that would give the travellers a welcoming feeling and reassure them. Research pointed out that the lack of English information makes the traveller feel not welcome. ‘Find Fukuoka’ gathers to the people who come to Fukuoka, but don’t know how to go to their accommodations. (Mostly low/medium uncertainty avoidance countries). By providing cards with necessary information about how to travel around and a folder in which they can keep the cards. The cards have both an informational and cultural side. There has been one prototype of the panel developed. This prototype hasn’t
been tested yet, so in further development this prototype should be tested and refined. While the cards had one small user test, which was too small to be deemed inclusive, further user testing should be done. Next to this the whole concept itself should have a test in a as realistic as possible setting, to test if people will see and interact with the concept.
Reference Fewings, R. (2001). Wayfinding and airport terminal design. The journal of navigation, 54(02), 177-184. Hofstede, G. (1984). Culture's consequences: International differences in work-related values (Vol. 5). sage. Hogstede, G. (2017). Retrieved from https://geert-hofstede.com/japan.html/. Raubal, M., Egenhofer, M. J., Pfoser, D., & Tryfona, N. (1997, October). Structuring space with image schemata: Wayfinding in airports as a case study. In International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (pp. 85-102). Springer Berlin Heidelberg. Mijksenaar. (2016). Mijksenaar, Elke dag helpen we miljoenen mensen hun weg te vinden. Retrieved from http://www.mijksenaar.com/. Money, R. B., & Crotts, J. C. (2003). The effect of uncertainty avoidance on information search, planning, and purchases of international travel vacations. Tourism Management, 24(2), 191-202. Norman, D. A. (2008). The psychology of waiting lines. Excerpt of.