Predictors of pictorial symbol comprehension
Open-ended comprehension testing is a commonly-recommended form of evaluation for safety symbols, but such testing can be costly in terms of time, effort and expense. The present study examines several issues related to symbol testing. First, two alternative rating methods intended to approximate open-ended comprehension results were evaluated in both Study 1 and 2. The first method, used previously in the literature, had participants estimate the percentage of the population that would correctly interpret the symbols meaning. The second method involved providing participants with the symbol and its meaning and having them provide a rating of the correspondence between the two. Results demonstrated that both ratings correlated highly with participants open-ended comprehension results. A second issue relates to the way in which people perceive various qualitative aspects of the symbols (e.g., quality of the drawing, clutter, legibility and the extent to which the symbol conveyed a sense of hazard or danger) and how these variables relate to one another. Implications for symbol evaluation are discussed.
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