In the last article I talked about my experiences at a hospital while tending to a family member. As you can see, even those whose business is signage can still get tripped up by them.
For Healthcare, retail, or any type of directional signage in general, all stakeholders need to be considered. This includes the visitors who didn't help the patient check in.
While my family member / patient was still sleeping off the anesthetic, I went to go look for the cafeteria. The cafeteria is typically one of the most trafficked places in a hospital. This hospital knew that. They put the cafe in a good share of the basement, but included outside-accessible patio seating and ceiling-to-floor windows which let the perfect amount of residual light.
To be fair, they put the hours signs on the packet in the patient's room and the volunteers at the front desk can usually guess when the hours based on the employee herd patterns they've witnessed over the weeks, but they didn't know exact times.
As for the sign for the hours to the cafeteria, you could find them posted on the menu pages, in a size 12 font in a corner of the message board hung outside the middle entrance doors to the cafeteria.
You might have seen them on the packets or by the phone in the room, but if you weren't there to check in on them and you just got there, you'd have know idea whether or not the cafeteria or gift shops were open.
This probably sounds weird to point out, but the only thing weirder is the tendency for hospital cafeteria hours to be as disjointed as high school cafeteria hours.
Hospitals have to do as much as they can to keep costs down. Oftentimes, this includes shortened hours for cafeterias, gift shops, and coffee shops. This allows for ease of prep, cleaning, and facility management.
The downside is that their hours aren't what you would expect when you, "eat out," unless you are used to eating in local niche bistros and breakfast cafes. (This is where you would expect a food joke, but we're not a food blog. We're an incredible signage company. :-) )
These details are often what make or break an experience. If a visitor can't find something that many places would otherwise blatantly post, it doesn't bold well for the pending online customer reviews. Be it hospital, healthcare, or the supermarket, simple explanatory signage is essential to go customer experiences. In the case of hospitals, this includes making sure all of the patient's needs are attended to. This includes the patient's friends and family.
Turns out we went there after all.