Exploring user preferences on public sign design with a new practice: The stereotype production method

Annie W.Y. Ng, Kin Wai Michael Siu, Che Hin Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Graphic signs are commonly used to provide navigation, warning, regulation and guidance in locations and sectors to which the public has access. Complexity is a design feature that is of central concern in sign research. However, previous studies on the effectiveness of sign complexity have reported mixed results. Thus, the research reported on in this paper was conducted to investigate user preferences on the complexity of sign design in the context of a new practice ? the stereotype production method. Thirty-one Hong Kong Chinese people were invited to show their preferences on graphic public sign designs using this method. For each sign referent, the participants were asked to draw the first pictorial that came to mind as quickly as possible, and then their designs were assessed based on the number of elements constituting the sign. It appeared that both males and females preferred simple sign design involving one or two pictorial elements. In future, to create much more user-friendly graphic signs, the design should be simple, containing only those elements that contribute to understanding. The findings of this study could facilitate communication and media designers to develop better and more usable graphic signs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-154
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • Complexity
  • Graphic Sign
  • Semantic Message
  • Stereotype Production Method
  • User Preference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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