There we were, standing in front of Dick’s at the mall. We watched as several people looked at the directory, turn to look around and figuratively scratch their heads when they couldn’t find what they were looking for. It was uncanny, three groups of people in a row found themselves confused. I had a little time, so I decided to help out a bit. Take a look at this image. These people were looking for the stores outlined in red.

It wasn’t obvious to these people, nor to me and my family where these stores were. It took us a little bit of time to discover that the yellow section was the upper level. Even when we figured it out, one person said, “no, this map must be wrong, the movie theater is on the ground level.” Another person said, “I feel so stupid.”

It’s unfortunate that people were so confused. I contend, that the map was wrong. Not in terms of the data it presented, but in the way it was laid out. Here’s how the map could be changed (this is a manipulated image to show a potential change)┬áto reduce confusion:

The words “Lower Level” should match the lower level’s color on the map. Also, it should also be moved further away from the upper level. The text “Upper Level” should be moved to the same section so people can quickly look to see the difference between the levels. This simple change would have saved several families time and frustration. It also would help the merchants in the store attract the customers that are interested in their business.