Investigating the Influences of Healthcare Facility Features on Wayfinding Performance and Associated Stress Using Virtual Reality. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: This study examined the influences of healthcare facility interior features on users' wayfinding performance and the relationship between stress and wayfinding. BACKGROUND: General hospitals in China always present significant wayfinding problems due to their sizes and complexity. Poor wayfinding often leads to a frustrating and stressful user experience. It has not been fully understood how hospital indoor features affect wayfinding and whether an individual's stress levels are associated with wayfinding performance. METHOD: We conducted an experiment in which 117 college students, aged 18-33 (M = 21.88, SD = 3.01), performed two tasks in virtual reality environments of outpatient clinics. Stress (skin conductance response) and wayfinding performance (distance ratio and time ratio) were measured. Participants' sense of orientation, navigation ability, distance estimation, and spatial anxiety were captured by a survey. RESULTS: Male participants reported a significantly better sense of orientation and less spatial anxiety than females. Participants' stress levels were lower with outdoor window views compared to those without outdoor views. With more environmental features (landmarks and outdoor window views) added to the environments, participants showed significantly better wayfinding performance. No significant relationship was found between wayfinding performance and participants' stress levels in this study. CONCLUSION: While individual environmental factors might not have a significant influence, combining multiple elements such as window views and landmarks could lead to better wayfinding performance. More research is needed to examine the relationship between stress and wayfinding.

published proceedings

  • HERD

author list (cited authors)

  • Qi, F., Lu, Z., & Chen, Y. i.

citation count

  • 1

publication date

  • October 2022