New Wayfinding Kiosks for Kansas City's Crown Center

New Wayfinding Kiosks for Kansas City's Crown Center
  • Hallmark Crown Center, located near downtown Kansas City, is a multi-use development that offers fine hotels, entertainment, dining, shopping, offices and residences on one campus. Home to the international headquarters of Hallmark Cards, the complex contains three live theaters and attracts more than five million visitors annually.

In early 2008, the Crown Center opened its newest entertainment venue, Off Center Theater. The company wanted to communicate with visitors outside the theater building about the theater's offerings in a dynamic, eye-catching way. The project principals realized that refinements to the shopping center's existing signage and directories were overdue. Crown Center used a combination of basic poster directories and back-lit directories that provided shoppers with passive information about stores and other offerings. The regular addition of new tenants meant that these directory signs needed updating every month or so.

Communications manager Chris Ronan saw how interactive kiosks could enhance Crown Center. "Of course, we wanted to give our shoppers more accurate way finding information," he said. "But we also wanted to be able to push additional information to customers and communicate with our convention and hotel visitors who are unfamiliar with Crown Center."

Digital Evolution Group, which designed, built and supports Crown Center's interactive strategies and web content management system, partnered with Popstar Networks to capitalize on the company's knowledge of digital signage systems and the complexity of interactive design and deployment.

Popstar Networks conducted customer research with Crown Center customers to find out what features and information they wanted in a way finding system. "User testing is a vital part of any interactive project," said Maria Scarpello, sales solution manager for Popstar Networks. "You need to know how your users perceive their environments and how they want to interact with a kiosk." The project partners suggested an interactive kiosk solution, with one kiosk on each of the mall's three floors, plus one in the exhibit hall in the adjacent Hyatt Hotel.

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