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Publication Number: FHWA-RD-03-063
Date: September 2004

In-Vehicle Display Icons and Other Information Elements: Volume II

Final Report

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508 Captions-Final, August 18, 2004

Figure 1. Flowchart. The Flow of Project Activities. This flowchart illustrates the order of tasks during the In Vehicle Information System (IVIS) project. The first steps are task A, performing a literature review, and task B, conducting a preliminary assessment of the visual symbols. Task A and B are undertaken simultaneously because their progress can influence each other's results. They are both analytical activities. Following this, task C is performed, in which a workplan and preliminary guidelines for visual symbols are developed. Task C is an integrative activity. After task C is completed, tasks D, E, and F are conducted. Task D is to develop a workplan for the final guidelines, task E is to perform a visual symbol evaluation, and task F is to develop final guidelines for in-vehicle visual symbols. Tasks D, E, and F are empirical activities. After task F is completed, the final step is task G, preparing the final reports, which is an analytical activity.

Figure 2. Flowchart. The Flow of Project Activities (as presented in figure 1). This flowchart illustrates the order of tasks during the IVIS project. The first steps are task A, performing a literature review, and task B, conducting a preliminary assessment of the visual symbols. Task A and B are undertaken simultaneously because their progress can influence each other's results. They are both analytical activities. Following this, task C is performed, in which a workplan and preliminary guidelines for visual symbols are developed. Once task C is complete, tasks D, E, and F are conducted. Task D is to develop a workplan for the final guidelines, task E is to perform a visual symbol evaluation, and task F is to develop final guidelines for in-vehicle visual symbols. Tasks D, E, and F are empirical activities. After task F is completed, the final step is task G, preparing the final reports, which is an analytical activity.

Figure 3. Flowchart. Flowchart of Task B Activities. This flowchart shows the order of activities under task B, conducting a preliminary assessment of visual symbols. The first two steps are taken simultaneously. When researchers generate a list of IVIS messages, they will also need to both conduct a review of literature relevant to sensory modality and develop a sensory modality design tool. Following this, the IVIS messages are evaluated to determine sensory modality, and the messages are defined according to their information processing elements and their contextual characteristics. In the final two steps, the messages are clustered according to their contextual characteristics and the clusters are then grouped to identify general design categories.

Figure 4. Questionnaire. Design Tool from Task B. This figure is a questionnaire that contains five questions to help designers develop the most appropriate display modality for presenting in-vehicle information. Participants use a scale of very low, low, medium, high, and very high to answer the questions. Each question is answered based on the visual, auditory, and tactile sensations of the message. Different point values are given for each answer. The tool features the following questions and point values.

  • Question one: What is the degree of urgency of the message? For the visual modality of the message, four points are given for an answer of very low, three for low, two for medium, and one for high or very high. For the auditory and tactile modalities of the message, one point is given for very low, two for low, three for medium, four for high, and five for very high.
  • Question two: To what degree might the message be referred to again later? For the visual modality, one point is given for an answer of very low, two for low, three for medium, four for high, and five for very high. For the auditory modality of the message, four points are given for very low, three for low, two for medium, and one for high or very high. For the tactile modality of the message, four points are given for an answer of very low, two for low, and zero for medium, high, or very high.
  • Question three: What is the overall level of complexity of the message? For the visual modality of the message, three points are given for answers of very low, low, or medium, four points for high, and five points for very high. For the auditory modality, four points are given for an answer of very low, three for low, two for medium, and one for high or very high. For the tactile modality of the message, four points are given for an answer of very low, one for low, and zero for medium, high, or very high.
  • Question four: To what degree does the message deal with a future action in time? For the visual modality of the message, five points are given for an answer of very low, four for low, and three for medium, high, or very high. For the auditory modality, one point is given for an answer of very low, two for low, three for medium, four for high, and five for very high. For the tactile modality, zero points are given for an answer of very low, low, or medium, one point for high, and five points for very high.
  • Question five: To what degree does the message refer to locations in space? For the visual modality, three points are given for an answer of very low, low, or medium, four points for high, and five points for very high. For the auditory modality, five points are given for an answer of very low, four for low, three for medium, two for high, and one for very high. For the tactile modality, five points are given for very low, one for low, and zero for medium, high, or very high.

Beneath the questions are spaces to fill in the IVIS message and other relevant factors and to write the total scores for the three modalities-visual, auditory, and tactile.

Figure 5. Flowchart. Flowchart of the Design Guidelines Development Process. This figure shows the overall process used to design the guidelines presented in the task C workplan. The flowchart is divided into two parts. The first part lists the five steps of the process and the second part highlights inputs, criteria or considerations related to each step. Step 1 is to select the initial set of data sources. One consideration when doing this step is whether the selected sources are considered generally relevant. Sources include the Battelle libraries, the Battelle Human Factors Transportation Center, university collections, and online databases. The second step is to determine the quality and applicability of the data sources. A consideration when performing step 2 is whether the sources are valid and whether they can be generalized. Considerations are: the source type, the intended application, the amount of empirical support, the study setting, the independent and dependent variables, the consistency with comparable sources, and the internal and external validity. Step 3 is to select the final data sources. To determine whether the data sources should be used, take into consideration the level of evidence heuristics and the tradeoff between usability and precision. During this step, evaluate the quality and applicability of each data source. In step 4, formulate the design guideline. During this step, an integrative review and analysis of the data sources is performed by taking heuristics, experience, judgment, driver context, and information processing elements (IPE) into consideration. The display modality section tool needs to be applied. In step 5, provide relative accuracy and level of confidence information. A four-star rating system is used to determine the relative contribution of the empirical data and the expert judgment. Also during step 5, supporting rationale is developed and special design considerations are identified.

Figure 6. Flowchart. Developing Individual Guidelines. This flowchart shows the process used to develop individual guidelines. The first step is to determine if guideline topics remain to be published. If they are published, select a guideline topic from the approved outline. Following this, conduct an integrative review of data sources and research findings. Once the review is completed, evaluate the information to determine what should be contained in the guideline. At the same time, prepare supporting text, graphics of schematic examples, and apply the design tools as needed. After these four, analytical steps, conduct activities using heuristics and expert judgment. Next, formulate the draft design guideline and bar rating. Once this is completed, the project team reviews the guideline to determine if a revision is required. If a revision is required, then the team conducts another integrative review of data sources and research findings and proceeds through the steps again. If a revision is not required, then the team will go back to the beginning to determine if there are any other guideline topics still remaining. When no more topics remained, the guidelines are published.

Figure 7. Outline. Proposed Table of Contents for the Task C Preliminary Guidelines. This figure summarizes the proposed table of contents for the task C guidelines. The proposed table of contents for the task C guidelines are:

  • Chapter 1-how to use the design guidelines, including an overview of the handbook organization and an explanation of the guideline format.
  • Chapter 2-an overview of the IVIS subsystems and functions, including information on topics such as routing and navigation, motorist services, augmented signage, safety and warnings, commercial vehicle operations (CVO)-specific and global positioning system (GPS)-related, and collision avoidance.
  • Chapter 3-guidelines for general issues and icon design.
  • Chapter 4-icon legibility guidelines.
  • Chapter 5-icon recognition guidelines.
  • Chapter 6-icon interpretation guidelines.
  • Chapter 7-routing and navigation guidelines.
  • Chapter 8-motorist services guidelines.
  • Chapter 9-augmented signage guidelines.
  • Chapter 10-safety and warning guidelines.
  • Chapter 11-CVO specific guidelines.
  • Chapter 12-collision avoidance guidelines.
  • Chapter 13-guidelines for icon evaluation techniques.
  • Chapter 14-relevant Department of Transportation, Society of Automotive Engineers, and International Organization for Standardization documents.
  • Chapter 15-list of icon Web sites.
  • Chapter 16-design tools.
  • Chapter 17-list of equations.
  • Chapter 18-glossary.
  • Chapter 19-reference section.
  • Chapter 20-extended bibliography.
  • Chapter 21-scope and limitations of the guidelines.
  • Chapter 22-human-factor guidelines, including information on the role of human factors in IVIS design, a summary of the project, and an explanation of how the guidelines were formulated.
  • Chapter 23-index.

Figure 8. Diagram. Sample of the Two-Page Format. The graphic shows a sample of the two-page format used to present each design guideline. The names of standard sections are listed outside the two-page sample and have arrows pointing to their respective locations on the pages. On the left page, arrows point to the guideline title at the top of the page, beneath which is the introduction paragraph. Under the introduction is the design guideline, which uses a blue bar scale rating to indicate whether designs should be developed based primarily on experimental data, expert judgment, or a combination of the two. Below the design guideline is the location of a figure, table, or graphic that helps explain the guideline. At the center of the bottom of the page is the page number. At the top of the right page, arrows point to the abbreviated handbook title, the abbreviated chapter title, and the revision date. Below these three dates is the discussion section, followed by the design issues, cross references, and references sections. At the center of the bottom of the page is the page number.

Figure 9. Outline. Contents from Preliminary Guidelines Handbook. This figure contains an outline of the chapters in this handbook. The outline is as follows:

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: How To Use The Design Guidelines

  • Introduction
  • Two-Page Format
  • The Left-Hand Page
    • Introduction
    • Design Guideline
    • The Rating System
    • Figure, Table, or Graphic
  • The Right-Hand Page
    • Discussion
    • Design Issues
    • Cross Reference
    • References
    • Other Features
  • Chapter 2: General Issues In Icon Design
    • General Development Process for In-Vehicle Icons
    • When to Use Icons
    • Ways to Use Icons
    • Composition of an Icon
    • Sequence of Icon Comprehension
  • Chapter 3: Icon Legibility
    • Determining the Appropriate Luminance Uniformity within an Icon
    • Determining the Appropriate Contrast within an Icon
    • Determining the Appropriate Size of Icon Components
    • Designing Effective Text Labels
    • The Effects of Color on Icon Legibility
  • Chapter 4: Icon Recognition
    • Level of Realism
    • Level of Detail
    • Perceptual Principles of Icon Design
    • Flash Rate
    • Design of Prohibitive Symbols
  • Chapter 5: Icon Interpretation
    • Enhancing Icon Interpretation with Text Lables
    • Conveying the Effect of Actions with Icons
    • Identifying Icons as Part of a Group
    • Conveying System Status with Icons
    • Enhancing Icon Interpretation with Color
    • Conveying Urgency with Icons
  • Chapter 6: The Auditory Presentation of In-Vehicle Information
    • Augmenting Icons with Auditory Information
    • Determining the Appropriate Auditory Signal
    • Design of Simple Tones
    • Design of Earcons
    • Design of Auditory Icons
    • Design of Speech Messages
    • Perceived Urgency of Auditory Signals
    • General Design Guidelines for Automatic Speech Recognition Systems
  • Chapter 7: Evaluating In-Vehicle Icons
    • Overview of Procedures for Evaluating In-Vehicle Icons
    • Production Test
    • Appropriateness Ranking Test
    • Comprehension/Recognition Test
    • Matching Test
    • Additional Evaluation Approaches
  • Chapter 8: Icon Collection
    • Routing and Navigation Information
    • Motorist Services Information
    • Augmented Signage Information
    • Safety/Warning Information
    • Commercial Vehicle Operations (CVO) Information
    • General Navigation System Information
    • Collision Avoidance Information
    • Automated Cruise Control Devices
  • Chapter 9: Tutorials
    • Analysis of Rank Order Data
  • Chapter 10: Design Tool
    • Sensory Modality Design Tool
  • Chapter 11: Equations
  • Chapter 12: Glossary
  • Chapter 13: List of Abbreviations
  • Chapter 14: References
  • Chapter 15: Relevant DOT, SAE, ISO Documents
  • List of Icon Web sites
  • Scope and Limitations
  • Background
  • Chapter 16: index

Figure 10. Flowchart. Flow of Task D Activities. This flowchart describes the six steps conducted under task D. The first 3 step is in task D is to identify the candidate issues. These three steps are performed simultaneously and can influence each other's results. These steps are done by performing task C4,reviewing the preliminary guideline document, by performing task C5, reviewing the project report titled "Information Usage and Symbology Issues," and by soliciting research suggestions from the project working group. The fourth step is to select final research issues from the larger set of candidate issues. After this, the experimental plans develop, review, and identify experimental options for task E.

Figure 11. Table with Graphics. Examples of General and Specific Icons for Key In-Vehicle Message Categories. This table provides examples of general versus specific icons for12 in-vehicle message categories. This table has three columns, the message that the icon is trying to display, general icon examples, and specific icon examples. First category: If the message is related to trip navigation and is telling the driver to reduce his or her speed, an example of a general icon is an exclamation point inside of a white triangle on a yellow background with the word "Slow" written in black, uppercase letters below it. Three specific icons might be a black silhouette of men at work, which is illustrated as a man shoveling with the word "Slow" written in black, uppercase letters below it; a silhouette of a black car riding on a bumpy road with the word "Slow" written in black, uppercase letters below it; or a silhouette of a black truck entering an intersection with the word "Slow" written in black, uppercase letters below it.

Second category example of in-vehicle icon is the trip navigation message as it is related to blocked lanes. An example of a general icon is a birds-eye drawing of two lanes separated by a dotted line. A green arrow pointing forward is drawn in the left lane, and a red X is drawn in the right lane. Three specific icons include the same two lanes with the green arrow on the left and the red X on the right. The first is a drawing of something blocking the right lane. The second specific icon is a drawing of two black cars colliding in the right lane. The third specific icon is a black car drawn in the right lane and a red mark above it indicating something is blocking the road.

The third in-vehicle category is a trip navigation message related to closed roads. A general icon is a drawing of two road lanes separated by a black dotted line with another road intersecting the right lane noting it is open. The lane for the alternate route has a green arrow drawn in it. Two red Xs, noting lane closures, are drawn in both of the main lanes after the cutoff for the alternate route. All examples of three specific icons include the two same main lanes with the Xs, alternate road with a green arrow inside an orange background. The first specific icon is a drawing of something blocking the two lanes. The second specific icon is a drawing of a two-car accident blocking the two lanes. The last specific icon is a drawing of a black-and-white truck with a skull and crossbones drawn in the two lanes, noting a hazardous vehicle spill.

The fourth in-vehicle icon category is a trip navigation message about en-route emergency vehicles; the general icon is the silhouette of a front of a black police car. Three specific icons are the side of a black police car; a side of an ambulance; or a side of a fire truck.

The fifth in-vehicle icon category is a trip navigation message about route guidance. A general icon is a sign with a green background and white text that says in white, uppercase letters, "Next Exit" and an arrow pointing diagonally to the right. A specific icon including the same green sign, but also has an exit name, such as "Oak Street," written on it in white, uppercase letters to provide more guidance.

The sixth in-vehicle icon category is the in-vehicle collision avoidance message noting an imminent crash. An example of a general icon is a white silhouette of an explosion on a red background with the words "Crash Warning written in white, uppercase letters above the silhouette. Three examples of specific icons include a white silhouette of a car with an explosion coming from the rear, the side, or the front. Each of these three icons are also set on a red background with the words "Crash Warning" written in white, uppercase letters at the top.

The seventh in-vehicle icon category message is vehicle condition monitoring of an urgent mechanical problem. An example of a general icon is the warning symbol, which is a black exclamation point drawn inside a white triangle with a black border above it is a white wrench. An example of a specific in-vehicle icon is the same white warning symbol with a black car battery showing its positive and negative nodes set on a red, square background.

The eighth in-vehicle icon category message is vehicle condition monitoring of vehicle maintenance requirement. A general icon example is a white wrench on a yellow square background. An example of a specific icon is a black-and-white drawing of a flat tire with a white interior on a yellow background with the word "Low" written in black uppercase letters below it.

The ninth in-vehicle icon category message is ATIS motorist services about lodging. A general icon example is a white silhouette of a person lying in bed, inside a brown, square background. A more specific icon shows the logo for Motel 6® with a red six inside a blue, square background.

The tenth in-vehicle icon category message is ATIS motorist services about food. A general example is a square icon with a brown background and a white fork and knife crossed in an X formation. A specific icon shows the logos for Burger King® the words "Burger King" in red, sandwiched between two yellow hamburger buns.

The eleventh in-vehicle icon category message is ATIS motorist services about gas. A general example is a gas tank on a brown square background. A more specific icon shows the logo for British Petroleum (BP)TM, which include the letters "BP" in yellow, inside a green shield with a yellow line border, all inside a green, square background.

The twelfth in-vehicle icon category message is ATIS motorist services about water recreation. A general example is a square icon with a brown background with curved white lines drawn on it to look like waves. The words "Water Sports" are written in white, uppercase letters above it. Two specific icon examples include square icons with brown backgrounds and white silhouettes of a person swimming on a curved white wave and of two people canoeing.

Figure 12. Diagram. A Sample Page from the Phase 2B Response Booklet. This figure is a sample page from the Phase 2B response booklet. A description of the driving scenario is written at the top of the page. For this sample page, the driving scenario is that a driver on the highway approaches a section of highway where some unusual activity is occurring, and the driver may need to reduce speed. Below the driving scenario, it says that the in-vehicle information system in the driver's car presents one of the following icons to inform the driver of the situation. The icons shown on the page are as follows: Icon A is a square icon with a yellow background. At the top of the square is a white triangle with a black border. Inside the triangle is a black exclamation point. The word "Slow" is written beneath the triangle in black, uppercase letters. Icon B is a square icon with a green background and a thin, white border. A thin green border lies just outside the white border. Inside, the words "Next Exit" are written in white, uppercase letters. Beneath the words is a white arrow pointing diagonally to the upper-right. Icon C is a square icon with a yellow background. Inside the icon is a horizontal white stripe and a vertical, white stripe. The two stripes cross one another to represent two roads crossing at an intersection. A side-view of a large black truck is shown traveling from east to west across the intersection. Beneath the intersection, the word "Slow" is written in black, uppercase letters. Icon D is a square icon with an orange background. A thick, white stripe with a dashed line down the center is drawn down the middle of the icon to represent a roadway with two lanes. A black silhouette of a police car with a red siren is drawn in the right lane, beneath which is a red X indicating that the lane is closed. In the left lane, all that is drawn is a green arrow pointing north, indicating that the lane is open.

Two statements are listed beneath the icons. The first asks, "Please select one icon that most accurately conveys the driving scenario described above and circle the letter below which is associated with the selected icon." The second question asks, "Which icon or icons above would be acceptable for this driving scenario? You can select more than one icon."

Figure 13. Screen Shot. IDEA Start-Up Screen. This figure is a screen shot of the Icon Interactive Development and Evaluation Assistant (IDEA) start-up screen. A file menu, a printer icon, and a spelling and grammar icon are found at the top of the screen as selective options. Beneath them are nine buttons labeled as follows:

  • View icon pictures.
  • View icon details.
  • View icon evaluation scores.
  • View icon evaluation raw data.
  • Add new evaluator, icon, or evaluation.
  • Modify evaluator, icon, or evaluation.
  • View guidelines.
  • View user manual.
  • Exit.

Figure 14. Screen Shot. Results of the "View Icon Pictures" Function. This figure is a screen shot of the IDEA start-up screen. A file menu, a printer icon, and a magnifying tool are found at the top of the screen as selective options. Beneath them are nine buttons labeled as follows:

  • View icon pictures.
  • View icon details.
  • View icon evaluation scores.
  • View icon evaluation raw data.
  • Add new evaluator, icon, or evaluation.
  • Modify evaluator, icon, or evaluation.
  • View guidelines.
  • View user manual.
  • Exit.

The window called icon images by icon type is open inside the IDEA startup screen. The window features five icons displayed vertically, although due to their small size, it is impossible to identify the individual icons. The icons were selected in a search using the Icon IDEA Software program.

Figure 15. Screen Shot. Evaluation Scores for "Physical Features" for the Traffic Congestion Icon. This figure shows the screens in the IDEA Software program that display the scores for the physical features for an icon. A file menu, a printer icon, and a spelling and grammar icon are shown at the top of the screen as selectable options. Beneath that are nine buttons labeled as follows:

  • View icon pictures.
  • View icon details.
  • View icon evaluation scores.
  • View icon evaluation raw data.
  • Add new evaluator, icon, or evaluation.
  • Modify evaluator, icon, or evaluation.
  • View guidelines.
  • View user manual.
  • Exit.

A window inside the screen shows the physical feature evaluation scores for a traffic congestion icon. This square icon has a white background and a black border. The icon's elements are two columns of black cars. The cars are seen from a near view in the distance. Applied red brake lights note a backup. Information presented in the window includes the icon's identification number; the name of the evaluator; the function, subfunction, category, and message of the icon. Below this classifying information are scores for the physical features of the icon. These features include perceptual principles, level of detail, level of realism, and use of color. Tabs at the top of the window enable users to access the scores for the comprehension test and the recommendations for the icon. Another window is open, but its contents can not be captioned because it is covered behind the icon scoring window.

Figure 16. Screen Shot. Comprehension Scores for the Traffic Congestion Icon. This figure shows the screens in the IDEA Software program that display the comprehension scores for an icon. A file menu, a printer icon, and a spelling and grammar icon are found at the top of the screen as selectable options. Beneath that are nine buttons labeled as follows:

  • View icon pictures.
  • View icon details.
  • View icon evaluation scores.
  • View icon evaluation raw data.
  • Add new evaluator, icon, or evaluation.
  • Modify evaluator, icon, or evaluation.
  • View guidelines.
  • View user manual.
  • Exit.

A window inside the screen shows the comprehensive rating scores for a specific traffic congestion icon. This square icon has a white background and a black border. The icon's elements are two columns of black cars. The cars are seen from a near view in the distance. Applied red brake lights note a backup. Information presented in the window includes the icon's identification number; the name of the evaluator; the function, subfunction, category, and message of the comprehension response ratings These response rating categories include:

  • The response matches the intended meaning of the icon exactly.
  • The response captures all key informational elements of the intended meaning of the icon, but is missing one or more minor elements.
  • The response captures some aspects of the intended meaning of the icon, but is missing one or more key elements.
  • The response does not match the intended meaning of the icon, but it captures one or more key informational elements.
  • The response does not match the intended meaning of the icon, but it is somewhat relevant.
  • Participant's response is in no way relevant to the intended meaning of the icon.
  • Participant indicated that he or she did not understand the icon.
  • No answer.

Figure 17. Screen Shot. Design Recommendations for the Traffic Congestion Icon, Reflecting the "Physical Features" Evaluation Results. This figure shows the screens in the IDEA Software program that display the design recommendations for traffic congestion icon, reflecting the physical features evaluation results. A file menu, a printer icon, and a grammar and spelling icon are found at the top of the screen as selectable options. Beneath that are nine buttons labeled as follows:

  • View icon pictures.
  • View icon details.
  • View icon evaluation scores.
  • View icon evaluation raw data.
  • Add new evaluator, icon, or evaluation.
  • Modify evaluator, icon, or evaluation
  • View guidelines.
  • View user manual.
  • Exit.

A window inside the screen shows the recommendations for the physical features of a specific traffic congestion icon, the icon's identification number, evaluator, function, subfunction, category, and message. This square icon has a white background and a black border. The icon's elements are two columns of black cars. The cars are seen from a near view in the distance. Applied red brake lights note a backup.

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