Raymond Turner, former group design director at BAA, has completed an extensive customer wayfinding study for Belfast International Airport, which may lead to a wave of design projects at the site.
Turner was principal consultant on the project. It was undertaken in collaboration with Dublin consultancy Bradley McGurk, of which he is non-executive chairman.
BIA operations director Alan Whiteside is considering the recommendations and assessing budget allocation, says Turner. ‘BIA is examining the maps we have produced and from this it is likely that design work will tumble out,’ he says.
The airport has developed in an ad hoc manner in recent years, with additional facilities and security functions stretching its operational ability. Design improvements may take in areas such as signage, lighting and materials.
‘It became quite awkward to use. Whiteside was keen to bring in someone external who could assess how to help people move around the space more easily,’ explains Turner.
To examine the flow of customers through the airport, Turner developed a proprietary mapping system that traced a step-by-step path through the space. Any problems encountered on this journey were recorded, along with proposed solutions, on inbound and outbound maps.
Turner believes that the proposals, if implemented, would have a positive impact on the airport’s retail sales. ‘If you can get people to the centres of spend more quickly and easily, they are likely to spend more. There should be a commercial gain from these improvements,’ he says.