Graphical and ergonomic evaluation of symbols on traffic signs
Authors: João Neves, Paulo Noriega, Daniel Raposo, Rogério Ribeiro
Abstract: In Europe, traffic signs, although identical, are not the same, varying from country to country, focusing this study on the Portuguese case. The guiding principles and technical standards for the development, production and installation of traffic signs in Portugal are defined in a normative document, the Traffic Signaling Regulation. Regulatory Decree No. 6/2019 presents the first major revision to the Traffic Signaling Regulation approved in 1998, introducing new information signs, new tourist, geographical, ecological and cultural indication symbols, as well as the graphic representation of drivers signals, traffic regulatory agents and traffic lights. The Traffic Signaling Regulation of 1998 presented 112 symbols for indications, adding the 2019 revision plus 10 symbols, which makes a total of 122 information symbols, lacking this area of normalization and standardization. Part of the pictograms present on the vertical signage are not easily perceptible. The iconic level used in the design of the pictograms is very different, with some being extremely simplified and easily perceptible and others requiring a higher level of decoding by the user, caused by the complexity of the sign. This article is the result of a graphical and ergonomic evaluation of the new symbols added to traffic signs in Portugal. For the evaluation of the symbols, a mixed methodology, non-interventionist and interventionist, with a qualitative basis, was used, divided into three phases: The first phase of aesthetic and functional analysis of the new symbols presented, the second phase of graphic normalization of the symbols and the third phase of evaluation and validation of the developed standardized symbols. With the project developed, it was possible to understand the inconsistency of the system proposed by the Portuguese State, verifying through the results obtained an improvement in terms of visual ergonomics, understanding and aesthetic balance in comparison with the symbols in use today.
Keywords: Design, Information design, Graphical symbols, Symbols evaluation, Comprehensibility tests.
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