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The battle through cancer isn't an easy one. Nor for the patients, nor for their family or friends. It is a sensitive state and the last they need at that stage is to struggle finding their way around while getting their treatment at the hospital.
Wayfinding at the hospital currently left patients confused and frustrated. They felt lost or intimidated with information. We assisted Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in providing a system that would put the needs of patients and families first as well as give clear, concise information through easy to follow directions.
We also felt any solution should apply to diverse environments and grow over time as new hospital environments are built.
We designed a wayfinding experience that made patients feel confident, welcome, and at ease in a way that accommodates MSKCC's complex architectural needs, naming conventions, and brand guidelines.
The design is soon to be prototyped at MSKCC's main hospital and promises to empower the patients to better cope with the biggest fight of their lives, allowing the MSKCC family to provide them with the best care.
The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) is a compound of health care facilities spread throughout New York City that aims to provide world class cancer treatment, part of which includes providing the best patient experience possible. Their growth and physical acquisitions over the past 100 years has caused their main campus to be a hodge podge of connected buildings with different architectural styles and unique physical challenges, leading to a disjointed experience for patients, visitors, and staff. Currently, wayfinding at MSKCC is nothing but chaotic: signage from different eras and viewpoints clutter the landscape and lacks a strategic, cohesive approach to this essential, yet often overlooked element of the user experience.
Knowing this, we were given the task to understand the operational needs of the main building and propose a better wayfinding system. The solution needed to be an analog solution, work with the existing infrastructure, coexist with the new brand guidelines, evolve with their growth and changing needs of their environment and be scalable in order to be replicated in their satellite facilities throughout the city.
Throughout the 15 week process, taking a human-centered approach, we used many methods and techniques to gather information, gain insights and get inspiration including: observation and emersion in the space; stakeholder interviews with staff, patients, and caregivers; an ideation workshop; and 2 prototyping trips including in-hospital prototyping , digital prototyping, feedback and intercepts. We created a design strategy along with specific design recommendations to help MSK move forward in implementing a plan for wayfinding throughout its facilities. We also designed a diorama to demonstrate how our design recommendations work as a system throughout a space. As part of the package we presented them with a guide book with guidelines for implementing the design elements with templates, details etc.
From extensive contextual observations of the space and interviews with key stakeholders (facilities, architecture and planning, medical staff) we live prototyped two disparate solutions to solve wayfinding challenges; a neighborhood approach and a line/connector approach. Ultimately we came up with a final hybrid solution that provides the right level of detail at the right time.
By incorporating strong graphical elements with directional cues and easy to digest signage, our final solution sought to give patients and caregivers a little bit of autonomy back to their hospital experience. Battling cancer is challenging enough, finding your doctor shouldn't be.
It wasn't just the patient's perspective that was taken... there was a very thorough end to end process applied to look at the different prototypes and different ideas for how you would support all the different stakeholders to the challenge of moving through.
The prototyping iterations and the physical prototyping was very impressive. It was an enormous amount of work to happen in 13 weeks. The caliber and quality of the dioramas that were produced were really great to see.