Welcome to Ritter Library

Learn about the preliminary IRB testing conducted to develop Ritter Library's Wayfinding system, including comprehensive research, findings, and ambitious plans for implementing and enhancing the library's signage.

Research Library Signage and Wayfinding Design

One researcher will stay with the participant and ask the questions. The other researchers will observe the study a few feet behind on the computer. The researcher will ask participants to complete a few typical questions using Ritter Libraries physical space. Scripts for the specific tasks have been developed by the BW staff and faculty advisor for previous studies.


  • IRB Approval #: 213157802021
  • Dates of Study: April 4th - April 19th
  • Testing Time per Participant: 20 minutes
  • # of Participants: 5 (Qualitative Study)
  • Location: UXr Lab & Ritter Library
  • Time to Complete Study: 38 hours


  1. Welcome the participant and explain what we will be doing during the session.
  2. Participant signs consent form.
  3. Participant completes the demographic survey.
  4. Researcher calibrates the eye tracking software for the participant.
  5. Researcher asks questions and takes notes as the participant completes tasks located in the library.
  6. Thank the participant.

Wayshowing Principles:

The International Health Facility Guidelines (2016) establish the following wayshowing principles—or rather, means of guiding users’ own wayfinding:

“Compounding the problem is the fact that these signs are often negative. The overload of signs expresses library workers’ frustration with users who break policies (like “no eating in the library”). Sometimes, these workers create signage that scolds users. Similarly, when workers are frustrated with repeated directional questions, they create signs to deflect them—and their frustration comes through. While a lack of signage may result in more reference questions, confusion, and user anxiety, too many signs can result in an environment that is aggressive, unwelcoming, policing, lacks focus, and can cause too much visual noise.”

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Create a unique identity of shapes and colors at each location.

The research found that participants think the current signage is muted.

Give each region a unique visual character.

Utilize stone walls and staircase to hang exhibits, not specific to everyday signage.

Make use of sightlines.

The information desk, study spaces, and directory were pinpoint areas where most participants looked first.

Create simple, intuitive paths to navigate.

Participants struggled to complete the task of locating the bathroom the most.

Make use of landmarks.

Utilizing columns, staircases, elevators, drinking fountains to provide more extra signage.

Avoid information overload.

The purpose of the wayfinding study is to improve signage due to lack of information presented.

Making signs at decision points.

Our findings and participants comments may lead to create signs at these points.

Provide wall maps and printed material for users to take.

Some participants during the study mentioned the use of maps.

Kiosk Development

To expand off of the signage within the library, a kiosk guides guests throughout the space.

Mockup of Ritter Library Kiosk

Early Development

In the early stages of development, the goal of the device aims to achieve:

  • Directing users throughout the library
  • Scheduling an appointment with CASA
  • Reserving a study room
  • Accessing BW Library Catalog
  • Meet with Reference Librarians
Ritter Library Kiosk & Screens


Over a dozen current undergraduate students dedicated their time to testing the kiosk for the library. During the study, I asked students to perform a series of tasks to locate sections, appointments, and additional resources for the library, including:

  • Task #1: Where would you go to reserve a study room?
  • Task #2: Where would you navigate on the kiosk if you were to schedule an appointment with the Center for Academic Achievement and Success (CASA)?
  • Task #3: Imagine you need assistance from a reference librarian for your project. Where on the kiosk would you go to make an appointment?
  • Task #4: Your goal is to check today's drop-in tutoring schedule. Where would you navigate on the kiosk to find this information?
  • Task #5: Suppose you want to search for books using the library catalog. Where on the kiosk would you initiate this search?
  • Task #6: If you had general questions about the library, where would you go on the kiosk to access the FAQ section?
User-Testing the iPadk
Bar Graph of Average Time to Complete a Task
Mockup of Ritter Library Kiosk


The study measured the time taken by each participant to finish various tasks. The bar graph shows the average completion time in seconds for each participant across all the tasks they performed.

  • Task #1: Reserve a Study Room
    Average Time: 11.13 seconds
  • Task #2: CASA Appointment
    Average Time: 8.76 seconds
  • Task #3: Librarian Appointment
    Average Time: 10.87 seconds
  • Task #4: Drop-In Tutoring
    Average Time: 9.34 seconds
  • Task #5: BW Library Catalog
    Average Time: 17.42 seconds
  • Task #6: Locating FAQ Section
    Average Time: 7.76 seconds

View the Completed Kiosk

See the completed Bootstrap-powered kiosk features including resource lookups, appointment scheduling, navigation, directories, and more by clicking the button below.

Ritter Library Kiosk

Wayfinding Timeline

A look of the process of designing the signage for Ritter Library.

Recreating the Directories

May 17th, 2023

When creating the first version of the directories for the library, a consistent and easily recognizable name for each floor was vital for effective wayfinding. The decision to call the bottom floor "Ground Level," "Ground Floor," or "Garden" required thoughtful consideration. The chosen name should resonate with library users and align with the library's identity and branding. By adopting a uniform naming convention, the library could ensure consistency in its wayfinding system, reducing visitor confusion and promoting seamless navigation.

Besides color coding and proper floor naming, the question of how the library should be numbered quickly resonated. A well-structured numbering system would further aid users in locating specific areas within the library and the optimal method of numbering study rooms, collections, and other spaces to create a logical sequence that complements the overall wayfinding strategy.


Meeting with Ritter Library Staff

June 6th, 2023

The user experience (UX) principles remained a driving force throughout these discussions. The first meeting with the library staff reviewed the initial versions of the library's signage from the perspective of its visitors, aiming to create an intuitive and user-friendly environment. They recognized the significance of simple, clear, and unambiguous signage that would lead users to their desired destinations without confusion or delay.

As the project progressed, it became evident that attention to detail and thorough planning were crucial for its success. Each decision regarding color coding, floor naming, and numbering directly impacted how users would interact with the library space. Therefore, there needed to be a balance between creativity and practicality, ensuring the final wayfinding design would be visually appealing and highly functional.

Initial Concept Presentation

June 20th, 2023

Several weeks later, revisions were presented to the library staff. One notable improvement was the addition of Ritter Library's logo to all the signage. This addition reinforced the library's brand identity and served as a unifying element across all wayfinding materials. It prominently featured the logo aimed to create a cohesive and recognizable visual feature that would foster a sense of familiarity throughout the space.

Besides color coding and proper floor naming, the question of how the library should be numbered quickly resonated. A well-structured numbering system would further aid users in locating specific areas within the library and the optimal method of numbering study rooms, collections, and other spaces to create a logical sequence that complements the overall wayfinding strategy.

Moving in a New Direction

June 23rd, 2023

Following the review of the revised wayfinding system by Ritter Library staff, a meeting with Baldwin Wallace University Relations took place just a few days later. During this meeting, University Relations provided valuable insights and recommendations that further enhanced the overall aesthetics and functionality of the wayfinding project.

One primary consideration was ensuring that the top-floor signage did not interfere with the wayfinding elements already installed for the Center for Academic Achievement & Success (CASA). To address this concern, University Relations suggested revising the blue color on the top floor to a lighter tone that would harmonize with the CASA signage. The library could create a cohesive visual experience that seamlessly integrates both floors' wayfinding elements.

Another significant suggestion from University Relations was incorporating CASA's internal logo into all the signage specific to the top floor. This inclusion would reinforce the collaborative relationship between CASA and Ritter Library and provide a clear indication to users that they were on the top floor and within the CASA space.

Refining the design and layout would make the directories more user-friendly and easier to interpret. Clear and concise wayfinding information on these directories would help users quickly identify their desired destinations. Additionally, color coding was proposed for various spaces within the library, including offices, CASA spaces, study rooms, and additional features. This approach would enhance the visual organization of the library and simplify the navigation process. Visitors could quickly identify specific areas based on color cues, further complementing the floor numbering and wayfinding system.

Updates, Revisions, Meetings, & Repeat

July 13th, 2023

In the week following the mock-up, the librarians came back with additional suggestions, such as adding an arrow to some areas, creating a more uniform look between the elevator, library banner, and glass panels near the front entrance, giving a more straightforward approach to the library's entire directory, now consisting of icons. In addition, a heavier typeface was needed across all signage, modifications to the fire maps featuring areas of fire extinguishers and the AED, along with small changes to the library's map of fixing areas that were previously mismarked on the initial map of Ritter Library. New signage ideas paved the way, including new corner signage between the main and top floor stairwells, unifying the top and main floor directories, and CASA signage, initially dedicated to the space.

The adjustments also came with an idea of how to be cost-effective with the printing budget. The library staff suggested switching out the existing frames with braille in the library and replacing the current signage to save money in the budget and meet ADA compliance with the existing braille.

A Cost-effective Solution

July 26th, 2023

Considering the suggestions from the library staff, a new approach to address the need for braille signage in the library while remaining budget-conscious and meeting ADA compliance. Instead of completely replacing the existing frames with new braille signage, a cost-effective solution was discovered. The existing frames already had raised braille on the signage, making them compliant with ADA requirements. To save on costs, removing the existing vinyl within the frames and reutilizing them for the new signage was proposed.

This solution would involve adjusting the new signage by removing the existing wording and scaling down the icons to an appropriate size. By repurposing the existing frames and modifying the content, the library could ensure the inclusion of braille information without the need for additional expenses.

Meeting with University Relations

August 3rd, 2023

The final designs were prepared for production and installation once the library staff and University Relations were satisfied with the mock-up's appearance and functionality. The meticulous planning and testing phase gave the library staff confidence that the revised wayfinding system would significantly enhance the user experience within Ritter Library.

Final Installation

The final installations of acrylic directories, study rooms, student lounge, BW Archives, fire maps, and more signage.

  • All
  • Top Floor
  • Main Floor
  • Entry Area
  • Ground Floor
Top Floor Acrylic Directory Signage

Top Floor Directory

Main Floor Fire Map of Ritter Library

Main Floor Fire Map

Ground Floor Acrylic Directory Signage

Ground Floor Directory

Top Floor Fire Map of Ritter Library

Top Floor Fire Map

Main Floor Acrylic Directory Signage

Main Floor Directory

Ground Floor Quiet Study Area

Quiet Study Area

Main Floor Study Room

Main Floor Study Room

Main Floor Restroom Signage

Main Floor Restroom

Ground Floor Fire Map of Ritter Library

Ground Floor Fire Map

Main Floor Student Lounge Area

Main Floor Student Lounge

Entry Cafe Area

Entry Cafe Area

Entry Area Banner

Entry Area Banner

Main Floor Graduate Study Room

Main Floor Graduate Study

Entry Area Glass Panels

Entry Area Glass Panels

Top Floor Icons

Center for Academic
Achievement & Success

214A & 214B

Rare Book Room
& Archivist

Open Study



Main Floor Icons

Classroom 101

Study Rooms

Student Lounge

Graduate Study Rooms

Computer Lab 116

Charging Station

Printing & Scanning



Ground Floor Icons

BW Archives


Quiet Study

Final Thoughts & Comments

Throughout the wayfinding project, the development and implementation of signage at Ritter Library posed several challenges. Among these challenges was ensuring compliance with ADA regulations for the new signage. While the ideal plan would have involved purchasing entirely new signs with integrated braille, the budget and timeframe constraints did not make this plan attainable. Therefore, a cost-effective solution was devised in collaboration with the library staff to retain the existing frames of signage within the library and incorporate the newly designed signage for each floor, keeping the braille for accessibility. This solution not only addressed ADA compliance but also allowed for the addition of more signage throughout the library. Notably, the main floor now features clear signage for study room areas and the student lounge, while the ground floor is enhanced with dedicated signage for the BW Archives. This innovative approach successfully navigated the challenges, improving the wayfinding experience for all library visitors.

As the wayfinding project progresses into the fall, the next phase will involve students from the computer science department collaborating under the guidance of Rachelle Hippler, the director of the UX Research Lab. Their primary objective will be to conduct comprehensive testing and evaluation of the new signage within Ritter Library. They will use eye-tracking glasses to study how students navigate and interact with the updated signage. The aim is to assess whether the implemented changes have improved the library's overall wayfinding experience. By analyzing the data collected from these tests, the team can gain valuable insights into how users interact with the signage and identify potential areas for further enhancement. This research-driven approach ensures that the final wayfinding solution is optimized for the needs of the library's diverse user base, ultimately creating a more efficient and user-friendly environment for all visitors.