Unsolicited Service Design: Grocery Store Wayfinding

The Business:
The Giant Food grocery store located in DC’s Columbia Heights.

The Offering:
Aisle directory signage helps shoppers be more efficient.

What’s Good:
Suspended high from the ceiling, these signs can easily be seen by anyone walking by.

What’s Bad:
Unlike the triangular aisle signs, which have been designed to be updated 1, the store directory sign near the entrance is static. Although all of these sign’s terminologies may have once been consistent, they are no longer – leading to confusion and frustration for shoppers. For example, of the four labels displayed on the aisle sign I photographed, only “kosher” can be found on the main one.

This breaks Jakob Nielsen’s Usability Heuristic #4: “Consistency and Standards – Users should not have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing. Follow platform conventions.”

Simple Solutions:
– Replace the main directory sign with one that can be updated
– Attach a small, easily updatable version of the aisle directory to shopping carts

  1. this is good in that it accommodates evolving inventories and store layouts

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