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Yosemite National Park

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At the request of park administrators, I helped to redesign the Yosemite National Park entrance station after-hours signs to improve their understandability and visibility in the evening hours. This involved a restructuring of the information provided on the sign and the creation of infographics to be paired with the simplified instructions. 

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Yosemite Valley was first designated as a World Heritage Site by Abraham Lincoln in 1864. Later on, the protected territory was successfully expanded with the help of John Muir. Since this time, Yosemite National Park, beautifully nestled in the Sierra Mountains receives an average of four million visitors a year. The stunning sights and unbelievable animal encounters are shared by people from all over the world. 

This year, as the coronavirus pandemic spread across every country, we all had to do our best to adjust in order to lessen the spread of the disease. After the shutdown and mandatory shelter-in-place, Yosemite had to implement a way for visitors to enjoy the amenities and sights while also minimizing the potential for an outbreak within the park boundaries. This lead to a daily visitor capacity limit and a reservation requirement. Park administrators worked diligently to create a new online reservation system and installed detailed signage at park entrances.

 

In the months that followed, what the park administrators came to realize is the signs were either being missed or misunderstood. It was discovered visitors entering after hours had their required reservations but did not understand they were to self-confirm in absence of a ranger at the entrance stations.

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I was contacted to breakdown the instructions in a way that could be paired with infographics to quickly catch the attention of the arriving visitors and easily aid them in properly confirming and displaying their reservations.

As you can see, the original signage was:

  • Wordy

  • Had a dark font set on a dark background

  • And, the most important instructions were located at the bottom of the sign

My goal was to reorder the content, deconstruct the instructions in a way that would disseminate the information more quickly, pair the instructions with easily understood visuals, and increase the sign's visibility. 

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I provided the park team with two redesign options. In comparison to the original sign, the changes I made were:

  • Moving the instructions to be located next to the form box

  • Dividing the instructions into three smaller parts

  • Designing an infographic for each section

  • And, increasing the contrast between the sign content and background

By moving the instructions further up on the sign and simplifying them into smaller pieces, I was able to improve their readability for visitors by providing them an easily visible three-step process. This three-step process was paired with infographics to increase understandability without the need for including multiple languages. And, the improved contrast between the lettering and sign background ensures visitors will be able to spot the sign from further distances and view the sign in both daylight and evening hours.

These signs are currently being displayed at all Yosemite Valley Park entrance stations and have greatly improved visitor compliance with the after-hours reservation confirmation process. 

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