Tonight I was following my colleague Frank to a restaurant in Orange County. I followed him through many traffic lights and past many strip malls. Then we turned into this mall and drove around for several minutes. Finally he pulled over and pulled along side.
"You seem a bit lost, eh?" I yelled over to him.
Frank has lived here for a very long time. He knew the restaurant was in this particular mall. But he couldn't find it.
He tried to call some people on his cell and no one was available.
Finally, I noticed a sign pointing to the restaurant, which was up a flight of stairs. Since you can't even walk in a mall here, we were both driving two separate cars, so I had to chase Frank down, get him to pull over and tell him to follow me.
When we finally parked he said, "How the hell is anyone supposed to see that?"
I told him that they hadn't read Ambient Findability. (if you are reading this in the blog, the review for Ambient Findability is in the left column)
It was tongue-in-cheek, but true. Suburban sprawl has so few wayfinding clues of actual merit - and you have to see these wayfinding clues in a moving vehicle. There's no time for consideration. You either see it or you don't.
This makes things here inherently unfindable.
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