ISSN: 2717-4417

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Urban Planning, Faculty of Art and Architecture, Islamic Azad University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

2 PhD Student of Urban Design, Faculty of Art and Architecture, Islamic Azad University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran



Familiarity with the destination environment plays an important role in tourism, and the more frequent tourists’ visits to the area, the greater their knowledge of the environment and, consequently, the easier for them to navigate around the place. Those unfamiliar with the environment should make sure that there are sufficient wayfinding aids, and that it will be clear for them how to reach their target sights by following the aids without getting lost. Use of various wayfinding tools can allow visitors to realize the overall spatial layout of the environment and the relationships between them. It is dependent on the user’s characteristics what types of tools are utilized in wayfinding. If tourists are confused at a part of a destination about how to find their way, they will lose incentives to visit it. The easier for tourists to identify the ways to their target sights in the environment, the more attractive the place to them, motivating them to be there in the environment. This study aimed to identify tourists’ specific wayfinding tools in the Paeen Khiaban neighborhood in the city of Mashhad, Iran. Tourists could have different levels of familiarity with the destination addressed in the case study, which could be categorized as an applied survey. The data were collected through field observations, questionnaires, and site visits. The sample size appropriate for a population of 359 people was calculated using Cochran’s formula. The statistical analyses were made using methods including one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), dependent t-test, and the K2 test, used to prioritize the variables, and the significance levels of the indicators were analyzed using Duncan’s test. The results demonstrated that tourists more familiar with the destination used spatial orientation and representation, whereas those who were less familiar with the environment utilized the landmark strategy through recognition of the elements and identification of the location for wayfinding via points. The former group identified their direction through coordinates in a more general situation, while the latter group identified landmark points and followed them to the target place in smaller areas and through the points and the connections between the landmark and the situation. The tourists were interested in using visual guidelines for wayfinding, analyzing, learning, encoding, and processing them in their minds, and then selected the optimal route. Familiarity was effective in the selection of the type of wayfinding strategy and the use of a variety of wayfinding guidelines. Furthermore, the tourists considered the attractions in their choice of destinations, the walls and familiarity with the environment were the next most significant factors, and the signs and patterns on the route were also effective in the selection. The signs were very important to the tourists because the number of signs, locations, distances, designs, fonts and backgrounds, sizes, and heights affected readability. The guidelines and distinctive signs or visual cues at decision points along routes can help improve wayfinding.


Main Subjects

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