The index urban sign helps residents and visitors alike find what they are looking for fast. It provides viewers with an “index” to all the businesses and facilities on a given street. Each listing uses text and icon to help users from around the world find their way.  This sign isn’t designed to cover the entire city and replace the basic signs, but it is mostly designed for crowded spots which many people need to find what they need and their hovering make the area even more crowded.

Using “e-ink” technology makes the texts editable in case of businesses goes and comes. Although e-ink text is permanent, consuming no energy, the sign needs some amount of energy to edit the texts and connect to its server. This energy provides by small solar panels on top of the sign which would be sufficient to replenish devised batteries.

“Index” is an urban sign for pedestrians that helps residents and visitors alike find what they are looking for fast and also shows them what they will experience while passing the street. The unique two legged design make the sign distinguished at the street and the Information about the businesses, facilities and access to other streets through this one is placed on its legs (each leg present one side of street). Index is less complicated than a map and provides viewers with an “index” to all of the businesses and facilities on a given street. In order to provide a more understandable sign for all people around the world, each listing uses text and icon. This sign does not show where you are (You are here!), but it shows what is around the street (what’s in there?). Therefore if a pedestrian is walking though streets and looking for a specific place, service or business, he should just take a look at the “index” of each street. (Instead of go through it for finding)

In every city, there are crowded spots which visitors and (in some cases) tourists are passing the streets. Every one of them has a reason coming to that area, business, facility, service and etc. some of them already know how to find their way but the others who are unfamiliar with this part of city, trying to use urban signs, maps or electric devices to find their way. According to studies on this project (Bazaar Area of Tehran) about behavior of people who are trying to find their way, basic signs are not likely to help people to get what they need; they only inform them about name of the street or a direction. Although urban maps are useful to navigate through area, they are too complicated and confusing for many people. Also wayfinding through cell phone is not convenient for many people. Even young users were trying to find their way through landmarks and signs.

As a result of studies on this project, which were emphasize the importance of landmarks and urban elements during wayfinding process by people, it has been tried to keep the physical aspect of the urban sign and to avoid using digital interfaces as a solution.

To find the most suitable approach, the importance of user’s understanding was considered. So, on this project, because of wide range of users with different cultures, characters and familiarity to the area, SEMIOTIC approach has been selected to engage with the people’s needs in the very deepest level. Also because of close relation between semiotic and linguistic and because of assuming urban way finding system as a language on this project, linguistic matters were considered during research phase.

Studying people’s behavior, asking them about their need their destination also the methods that they believe using to find their way, leads to gather lots of data about people’s internal and external actions while they are trying to find some business, facility or service. It was clear that many people have problem, finding their way and they are wasting energy and time to reach their destination. Furthermore, in a higher viewpoint, this problem makes the area more crowded than it should be and impose lots of waste to every crowded city. To solve this problem, a new way finding system with its urban elements was necessary. But the challenges were the large number of binding standards and rules and verity of users with different understandings and interpretations. Therefore, new sign should be simple and close to its precedence to become more likely to be understandable for most of the users.

Finally, the relation of linguistic and semiotic on this project (which indicates the fundamental problem on this project) and how they articulate in urban way finding system are explained as fallow:


Language of Signals in street signs

In term of semiotic and linguistic, signals are different from signs. They have only one single meaning which takes part in sign’s structure. Signs are more complicated than signals and have various meanings in different situations and places. If we assume urban wayfinding system as a language, it is made of names and directions (except urban maps) and in fact this language is made of signals. But, the language is not just a collection of names. It is a sort of complex relation between different kinds of words including names. The language of wayfinding in basic signs is inefficient; the dialogue between user and sign is too short and has lack of information. To solve these problems, in this project, it has been tried to enhance the language of urban wayfinding system from signal level to sign level. This will prolong dialogue between user and urban sign and would provide more information about the given street. This sign presents “what is in there?” to its users; Instead of just give a name or a direction.