Do you know where you are going? Do you rely on street signs, landmarks or the position of the sun to determine your location? Or do you live in a perpetual state of knowing about where you are most of the time or never knowing where you are most of the time? Technology Man and I are complete polar opposites in this department! He is lost 99% of the time and I mostly know where I am 99% of the time. So for the most part we complement each other when we are together…if he’s willing to listen and I’m willing to direct!
But out there in the real world, when we are on our own, in a vehicle or on our feet, we all rely on signage in order to get where we are going. Be it street signs, exit signs, crosswalk signs, highway splits, name changes, entrance gates, toll plazas, parking garages, exit onlys and the ever ubiquitous construction signs! Some of these afore mentioned signage items are well placed, well worded, and well lit! Thank you! Others are sometimes placed, worded and lit but quite the opposite of “well”. It only takes one missed sign and you could be stuck on a highway for miles before you can turnaround and you’ve lost precious time in the process. You know I speak the truth!
My beef though, is deeper than that. Why is it so hard for an owner or manager of an establishment or venue to step, hypothetically speaking, into the shoes of a first time visitor? It just seems to me that they would be thinking to themselves, “Let’s put our best foot forward, making every visitor feel special, giving an outstanding experience so they will tell others, thus increasing our possible revenue and positive community ratings!” I’m sad to say that those thoughts do not appear to cross near enough minds. Don’t they want “Likes” on Facebook and good tweets on Twitter and positive pics on Instagram?
When I arrive at a new location I’m always a bit on edge. Adventures take a lot out of me. I try VERY hard on the outside to hold it all together but a bazillion questions run through my mind all at once no matter how many times I pre-read the website (every page)! Where do we park and how much cash do we need? Where is the entrance? Why are people coming out over there? Where do you purchase tickets? What’s that line for? What can I take in with me? Can I take pictures? How much is the headset tour? What’s the wait time? Are there restaurants nearby? Why are there police walking around? Where are the restrooms? Where is the auditorium? Will I need a sweater? Are the kids secure? I may be a neurotic over-planner, but it seems to me that some well worded signs would do the trick and calm my questions and panic that began mounting the minute we parked ($8 cash, thank you very much).
How many times have you walked onto a campus of any type for a performance, athletic event, concert or meeting with absolutely NO signage to get you where you needed to be? It’s downright aggravating to figure out where to park when you don’t even know which doors to go in. Where is the cafeteria? Where is the performance? Where do the spectators enter? How can I find my teen afterwards (the one who lost her cell phone privileges, again)? Where do I check in my preschooler? Where is the silent auction? When is the announcement going to be made? Where are the restrooms? Where are the concessions? WHY DO ANY OF THESE QUESTIONS HAVE TO BE ASKED? Why doesn’t anyone think to put up signage, permanent or temporary, to help the visitor? Instead, it communicates to me they want my money but they’re not bending over backwards to welcome me.
For all our technology on the World Wide Web, we’ve regressed as a society in our ability to communicate with each other out there in the Wonderful Wide World. Somebody, please put up a sign!
When was the last time a sign would have been very helpful to you? When was the last time you felt truly welcomed as a visitor?