Skip to main content

Cultural influences on the comprehensibility of icons in mobile-computer interaction

Buy Article:

$59.35 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Abstract:

Icons are often considered as language free and therefore assumed to be especially suited for inter-cultural usage. This article examines if icons within the mobile context are inter-culturally comprehensible. The study was carried out in Kerala, South India. Fifty-eight participants of a wide age range (17-75 years) volunteered to take part. The icons under study were representatives for common mobile phone functions and were partly taken from real interfaces and were partly self-created. Icons varied in their concreteness/abstractness and their visual complexity. A naming method was adopted: Participants had first to evaluate what a specific icon pictured (pictorial transparency) and, directly after, they had to indicate the icon's meaning in the context of mobile communication (semantic transparency and comprehensibility). Results showed that the comprehensibility of icons mainly depend on two major characteristics, which can be regarded as culture-unspecific. No matter which cultural background users have, the more details an icon contains and the more concrete an icon is, the more it is correctly interpreted. However, we identified also cultural influences on the comprehensibility of specific icons, showing that icon design also should consider cultural specificities.

Keywords: abstractness; culture; familiarity; icon characteristics; mobile devices; pictorial transparency; semantic comprehensibility; visual complexity

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01449290802228399

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany

Publication date: July 1, 2008

More about this publication?
tandf/tbit/2008/00000027/00000004/art00010
dcterms_title,dcterms_description,pub_keyword
6
5
20
40
5

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more