Matching performance of vehicle icons in graphical and textual formats

Chia Fen Chi*, Ratna Sari Dewi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The current research classified 82 vehicle icons into seven categories (image-related, concept-related, semi-abstract, arbitrary, abbreviation, word, and combined) for their matching accuracy, matching sequence, and matching time. These data can be compared and used as a framework for future icon development. Forty participants, all with a university degree, took part in this experiment. Half of the participants had intensive driving experience, while the other half never driven a car. The results indicated that on average, word icons had a significantly greater matching accuracy than the other icon formats; ranging from 4.7 to 20.8% difference. Regarding the matching sequence, participants matched image-related icons before other icon formats. Arbitrary and combined icons took significantly longer to match than other icon formats by 1.4-6.2s. Based on the high matching accuracy (86.3%) and high ratings on subjective design features, word format can be used for functions describable using simple English for users with English reading ability. Confusion matrices showed that 63.2% of the misunderstandings were caused by similarity in format or function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)904-916
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Confusion matrix
  • Icon taxonomy
  • Image-related


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