Research by: Yogi Tri Prasetyo, Ratna Sari Dewi, Naiomi M. Balatbat, Michael Lancelot B. Antonio, Thanatorn Chuenyindee, Anak Agung Ngurah Perwira Redi, Michael Nayat Young, John Francis T. Diaz, & Yoshiki B. Kurata
Icons have been widely utilized to describe and promote COVID-19 prevention measures, and hazard risk management. The purpose of this study was to analyze 133 existing icons of COVID-19 prevention measures published by the health and medical organizations of different countries. A rank ordering test was conducted for the seven icons representing each function name, followed by a subjective rating test for the top two chosen icons of the respondent form the ranking test. Generally, findings from the current study showed that the image presented in the icon is the key point on which the perceived quality of the icon depends, and the preference of users for the icon may rely on this. In this case, designers may consider the cognitive features of an icon such as its familiarity, its concreteness, the complexity of the design intricated on it, its meaningfulness, and its semantic distance or its closeness to its intended meaning. The current study also further proves that that familiarity and semantic distance should be of primary importance when it comes to selecting icons. Interestingly, Spearman’s correlation analysis between ranking and semantic scales showed that incompatible–compatible, vague–clear, weak–strong, and abstract–concrete were the four strongest semantic scales that highly correlated with the preference ranking. In addition, Friedman’s tests inferred that compatibility and clarity of icon elements are the main factors determining a particular icon’s preferability. These suggest that designers should choose images that are realistic and as closely related as possible to the function represented by the icon. It should also be simple and straightforward to reduce complexity. Adding elements on graphical or image-related icons, whether textual or arbitrary symbols, is recommendable since they may increase the cognition of the users into the icons and therefore can make them preferable. Icon design formats having less connection to what they actually depict, such as the concept-related and arbitrary formats, should be avoided since they are more challenging to comprehend and are probably not preferred. Another observable result of the study is that color also affects how well-liked the icons are. Black and white and grayscale icons obtained low ranking scores, even though they concretely represent their function name. This gives the conclusion that designers should also consider making the icons colorful so that they may be more visually appealing and likable. This study is the first comprehensive study to evaluate the icons associated with the COVID-19 prevention measures. The findings of this study can be utilized as the basis for redesigning icons, particularly for icons related to COVID-19 prevention measures, and related hazard risks. Furthermore, the approach can also be applied and extended for evaluating other medical icons, safety icons, disaster-related prevention icons, transportation-related icons, and even entertainment-related icons. Despite the clear contributions of the study for design guidelines on COVID-19 prevention measures icons, the researchers would like to acknowledge several limitations of this study. To produce more comprehensive results, future researchers may consider increasing the number of respondents. It is also recommended to broaden the scope of the current study to come up with more thorough and specific design references for COVID-19 preventive measures icons.
To cite this article: Prasetyo, Y. T., Dewi, R. S., Balatbat, N. M., Antonio, M. L. B., Chuenyindee, T., Perwira Redi, A. A. N., Young, M. N., Diaz, J. F. T., & Kurata, Y. B. (2021). The evaluation of preference and perceived quality of health communication icons associated with COVID-19 prevention measures. Healthcare, 9(9), 1115. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9091115.
To access this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9091115
About the journal
Healthcare is an international, scientific, peer-reviewed, open-access journal on health care systems, industry, technology, policy, and regulation, and is published monthly online by MDPI.