“Is there a toilet at the gate, Dad?” asked my daughter as she looked anxiously at the queue for the one in the Departure Lounge. How was I supposed to know? And what to do? Let her queue for the one we could see and risk missing the Final Call or going to the gate and having a distressed child board the flight. We went for the latter, hoping there was a quieter loo on the way. There wasn’t, as it turned out, but there was at the gate (Gate 45, Gatwick South, in case it’s helpful to know). But how much less stressful would it have been to have known in advance? And this wasn’t the only stressful experience at the airport. Due to an unclear message on the EasyJet app, we ran very late. It was an early morning flight, and we needed breakfast. Where was Pret? How long was the queue? And if too long, how far was it from Boots? That all takes time to work out.
Travel by any mode is often stressful (remember the last time you tried to find a parking space in an unfamiliar city centre), and one thing that means is that by the time you reach your destination venue, the last thing you need is to be lost. The uncertainty that creates increases what psychologists call ‘cognitive load’, which can lead to anxiety and overwhelm. In practical terms, that costs time and money for missed connections and less time and inclination for retail spending. Airports are perhaps the worst because of the additional barriers to getting through and the cacophony of confusion surrounding them. At its busiest, Heathrow’s T5 handles 52,000 passengers in a day. Imagine being in a building where 52,000 anxious and overwhelmed people have to spend a few hours each. Now imagine if those people were calmer and more relaxed because they all knew the exact route to where they wanted to get to, how busy it was there, and how long it was going to take them to get there. Briteyellow offers that.
We live in an increasingly complex world. The amount of information people have to take in when travelling is increasing (vaccine passport requirements being the latest) adds to the stress. Information overload is leading to a mental health crisis, and that, in turn, is affecting some people’s ability even to go out. Of course, we don’t pretend indoor wayfinding can disappear all that stress. Still, eliminating some of the uncertainties for travellers can make for a much better experience, and it will help more people be confident about doing it. What’s not to like about that?
Indoor navigation can be a challenging task. Whether it is maneuvering through a complicated hospital floor or finding a specific store in a crowded mall, traditional maps often fall short in providing accurate and personalized directions.