Isherwood, S., McDougall, S. and Curry, M., 2007. Icon identification in context: The changing role of icon characteristics with user experience. Human Factors, 49 (3), pp. 465-476.
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Objective: This research examined the relative importance of icon characteristics in determining the speed and accuracy of icon identification. Background: Studies to date have focused on the role of one or two icon characteristics when users first experience an icon set. This means that little is known about the relative importance of icon characteristics or how the role of icon characteristics might change as users gain experience with icons. Methods: Thirty participants carried out an icon identification task over a long series of trials to simulate learning through experience. Icon characteristics investigated included semantic distance, concreteness, familiarity, and visual complexity. Results: Icon characteristics were major determinants of performance, accounting for up to 69% of the variance observed in performance. However, the importance of icon characteristics changed with experience: Semantic distance is crucial initially while icon-function relationships are learned, but familiarity is important later because it has lasting effects on access to long-term memory representations. Conclusion: These findings suggest that icon concreteness may not be of primary importance when identifying icons and that semantic distance and familiarity may be more important. Application: Designers need to take into account icon characteristics other than concreteness when creating icons, particularly semantic distance and familiarity. The precise importance of the latter characteristics will vary depending on whether icons are rarely encountered or frequently used.
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||Icons; interface design; concreteness; familiarity; semantic distance|
|Group:||School of Design, Engineering & Computing > Psychology Research Group|
|Deposited By:||Professor Sine McDougall|
|Deposited On:||21 Apr 2009 20:03|
|Last Modified:||07 Mar 2013 15:08|
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