Is Overall Visibility Sufficient in Indoor Wayfinding? The Role of Global and Local Landmarks
Landmarks are critical for orientation and navigation both outdoors and indoors. Global landmarks were found as influential in outdoors orientation and navigation, but they are not as available indoors. Consequently, there is almost no research on the influence of indoor landmarks, in general, and of global landmarks in particular. By definition, the influence of global landmarks is due to their visibility, and this study focused on their influence indoors.
Architectural aspects afford indoors visibility. The research question is: would a structure that affords greater visibility be associated with greater influence of global landmarks? We studied this question through the memorability of global and local landmarks in two structures, one with greater visibility (transparent walls) and reduced visibility (opaque walls). We assessed the memorability of global and local landmarks in a pilot study and a large online study, and found that global landmarks were more memorable, but there were no differences between the structures. A follow-up study using both self-report and eye tracking, showed the same memorability results. However, there were differences in eye movements showing that participants attended more to global landmarks in the transparent structure compared to the opaque structure. The results are discussed in terms of the role of landmarks during navigation in comparison to their memorability.