Leslie Wolke is Founder and Principal of MapWell Studio, a consultancy and software firm specializing in wayfinding strategy, usability research, and technology.
Through long-term consulting relationships, she has developed innovative wayfinding solutions in collaboration with a number of large institutional clients such as MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. As a specialist in the needs of patients and visitors of healthcare facilities, she has developed best practices for wayfinding tools that help people navigate these confusing environments. Her usability and user research studies in these high-anxiety maze-like environments inform solutions to more common wayfinding challenges.
As founder of MapWell Studio, Leslie has transformed her knowledge of wayfinding into the MapWell Platform, a SaaS platform for medical centers and university campuses to deliver customized maps and directions to their visitors as an add-on to their existing websites. The MapWell Platform offers driving, best parking options, transit, biking and walking directions to any public destination on campus and is easily updated via a web-based dashboard.
In 2018, Leslie received two research grants from the Sign Research Foundation, culminating in the publication of two reports: Wayfinding Management: Models & Methods in Healthcare Environments and Digital Wayfinding Trends: Lessons Learned from Museums, Healthcare, and Transit Experiences.
As an independent consultant, Leslie works with architects, design firms, and institutions to design and develop wayfinding technology strategies and tools such as wayfinding websites and touch screens. Recent clients include the US Department of Veteran Affairs, New York University Langone Medical Center, and the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center.
As Associate Principal and Owner at FD2S inc. from 2005-2009, she built interactive wayfinding tools for The Texas Medical Center, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, and Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.
For environmental graphic design projects, her skills include:
• creating pathway/landmark logic for wayfinding systems
• working with clients to formalize nomenclature for destinations and buildings
• Product design and implementation of wayfinding websites and apps
• reviewing existing wayfinding tools such as maps and websites and offering user experience enhancements
• collaborating with client staff to determine maintenance strategies to keep the wayfinding system up to date
• applying user-focused research and analysis to wayfinding projects
During her 20 years in the technology and design sectors, she has held leadership positions in the development, operations, and marketing of web-based portals and applications at frogdesign, Hoover’s Online, and Internet service provider SBC | Prodigy Communications.
Leslie received a B.A. in Art History from The University of Chicago, with a specialization in architectural history and theory. She has served as a Visiting Critic at the California College of Arts and Crafts, San Francisco, and at the Haas School of Business, The University of California at Berkeley.
Leslie is a national board member of the SEGD. In 2011, she founded SEGD’s technology conference XLab and has co-chaired the event in 2011, 2012, and 2013. She has spoken at conferences such as SXSW Interactive and the Texas Society of Architects Annual Conference and writes about design and technology for EG Magazine and other publications.
Visit Leslie’s blog: Playfinding.com
Speaking Engagements include:
- SXSW Interactive 2019 Panelist Mummies to Manet: Immersive Experiences in Museums
- SXSW Interactive 2016 Panelist: Tomorrow’s Museum: Designing Engaging Experiences
- SXSW Interactive 2015 Panelist: Cities, Buildings and Screens: New Civic Engagement
- SXSW Interactive 2014 Panelist: Tech + Art: Digital Innovation in the Art World
- SXSW Interactive 2013 Panelist: We Want Turtles! Giving Communities What They Want
- Co-chair, 2019 SEGD National Conference, Austin
- 2012-2014 SEGD National Board Member
- Founding Co-chair, SEGD’s annual innovation conference: Xlab 2011, 2012, 2013
- Speaker, 2011 Annual SEGD Conference
- Member, Pecha Kucha Night Austin Advisory Board, 2010-2011
- SEGD 2009 Merit Award Recipient: Lance Armstrong Foundation Graphics
- Participant, Where 2.0 Conference, San Jose, 2009
- Participant, Cityscape Dubai, 2008
- Co-chair, 2008 SEGD National Conference, Austin
- Speaker, 2008 Texas Society of Architects Conference, Dallas