Nomenclature is the devising or choosing of names for things, or the system for devising these terms in a particular field. In environmental graphic and experiential graphic design, it refers to the terminology used in wayfindingsystems to organize and simplify the names and numbers of destinations.
Nomenclatureis a seemingly benign yet often controversial subject in wayfinding, because the terms that owners and designers use to describe key destinations are not necessarily those that are readily recognizable by users. This is of particular concern in healthcare settings, where confusion about how destinations are named can potentially add to an already stressful environment and cause operational problems as well. (For example, do patients understand the term otolaryngology, or is “ear nose and throat” a better term?) Increasingly, healthcarefacility operators include nomenclature concerns in user surveys and protoyping of signage solutions.
Ideally, nomenclature is developed through consensus among facility operators, users, and other stakeholders. The naming, numbering and general organization of the parts of a building is a critical, organizational aspect of a wayfinding plan. Designers must consider floor numbering, technical/dedicatory names versus common names, departmental names, stall numbering, and room numbering when planning the content of sign messaging. Hierarchies must be clear and logical to help users remember and use the nomenclature.