Evaluation of Pictorial Messages for Variable Message Signs

This paper describes an iterative design and evaluation process that relates to the cognitive and technical requirements on information to be displayed on variable message signs (VMS) and conventional road signs. According to ISO 9186 “Test methods for judged comprehensibility and for comprehension” altogether 2,977 symbol/pictogram variants have been elaborated for submission to an iterative process of testing and redesign. The authors report on four tests that were conducted in the Czech Republic, in Hungary, Spain, and in Austria, involving 2,667 test persons. The close cooperation of designers and researchers turned out to be very effective in terms of integrating shortcomings and taking study results into account. A wide range of symbols/pictograms was tested within this experimental, iterative evaluation process for understanding and early recognition. The ones reaching the highest comprehensibility scores were published within the “Proposal on unified pictograms, keywords, bilingual verbal messages and typefaces for VMS in the TERN”. The authors conclude that the interdisciplinary work of designers, psychologists, and traffic engineers was effective and improved the development process. Integrating user participation during the iterative design process also proved useful in identifying shortcomings of the pictogram design, generating new ideas and hypotheses, and re-checking existing assumptions.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 8p
  • Monograph Title: ITS Connections: Saving Time. Saving Lives

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01141994
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 12 2009 11:13AM