Many studies have shown that wayfinding is affected by the familiarity of subjects with the environment. Wayfinding difficulties are caused due to the complexities of building configuration and evolving spaces that emerge over time in response to operational needs and change which results in disorientation, uncertainty, anxiety, frustration, and stress. Alarge hospital environment greatly influences the wayfinding behaviour of newcomers,which could be stressful and intimidatingfor them. This study explores the wayfinding behaviour of unfamiliar users in the acquisition of knowledge of the environmentwith the aim to improve wayfinding competencein hospitals. The study was carriedout at JosUniversity Teaching Hospital (JUTH),situated in the PlateauState ofNigeria.The methods used for data collection werewalking-with observation, verbal protocol and a semi-structured interview.These methodsindicatedthe participants’level of wayfinding performance duringthe navigationaimed to find the desired destination. The respondents, n 16 (8 male and 8 female),were purposively sampled and observed through behavioural mapping. Additionally, 24 respondents were separately interviewed in order to triangulate the findings of behavioural mapping. The findings revealed thatthe majority (62.5%) of respondentsfoundthe building layout complex to navigate due to their spatial similarities.Additionally, the wayfinding experience of the majority (95.8%) of respondentsin the hospital wasestablishedto bedifficult and stressful. Also, the result provedthat60% offemale wayfinderswere more prone to wayfinding errors than malewayfindersin finding their way to the desired destinationdue to the complexity of the building layout.Thestudy recommendsthat building configuration design in hospitals should be organisedin a simplewayand it should be constantly reviewed as new spaces evolve.The implication calls for an improved designwhich remainsdistinctive and a well-linked layout that facilitateseffective and efficient wayfinding for unfamiliar usersin a safeand satisfactory manner.
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