A few months ago I decided to take myself to Solihull for a trip out. I very nearly didn't come back from there due to losing the railway station through no fault of my own. I got to the last signpost for it which pointed in a vague direction from one side of a roundabout. I walked in the direction I thought the signpost was telling me to go in - only to find that if I desired to get to a hospital with an Accident & Emergency Department I was indeed heading the right way. It turned out that I was actually heading in almost the exact opposite direction to the railway station. Both the sign for a hospital with an A&E Department and a railway station are red and white - which means I have to almost be nose to board with the signpost to tell the difference between the two (especially if the background to the sign itself is white or cream - as in a large board for directing traffic).
I know my sight is pretty useless at times but I can usually see and read a handily placed sign directing pedestrians to different places. I cannot, however, read invisible signposts.
The same goes for signs in hospitals which are supposed to show you the way to different departments or rooms. It took me two weeks to remember that the Chemotherapy Suite at L eicester Royal Infirmary is a left turn out of the lift and go straight on. The only indication of where it is is a small (to me) sign on the door itself.
I am one of those people who can easily start to panic if I know I am supposed to be somewhere but I haven't got a clue how to get there. This is why I prefer to have clear signposts or signs which are not like some Belgian roads which my Dad has driven on - as in - start off looking like something it might be useful to follow then disappear into thin air (or - in the case of the roads - a dirt track) without warning.
If you know the place you are visiting, or you are familiar with the layout of a particular building, signposts will probably be something you regard as more of a distraction than anything. However, for a stranger (or someone like me) signposts - or rather the lack of them - could mean the difference between them making a return visit (and recommending it to their friends and family) and never wishing to visit the place unaccompanied ever again. (And - as someone who prefers to travel independently - I am not likely to put my friends out if I can get to a place and back again on my own.)
Some shops are the same. Very little in the way of usefully placed signs showing where things are. I lost count of the amount of times I circled a floor of John Lewis, near the Highcross Shopping Centre in Leicester, looking for the bedding Department.
If people could spare a thought for those of us who can get confused if we are forced to make a lot of turns in different directions to get somewhere (and remember the same turns so we can get back to where we started) - we might find ourselves being able to guide ourselves just by looking at usefully placed signs which we can actually read.
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