Children’s misinterpretation of today’s designs: A case study of how children interpret registered safety signs

Kin Wai Michael SIU, Yi Lin WONG, Mei Seung Michelle LAM, Annie W Y NG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Safety signs are currently created by adult designers through a designer-centered process. It is questionable whether children are able to interpret and understand these signs correctly, even if they are exposed to the signs in locations designated for children, such as playgrounds and schools. Children may be unable to understand pictograms designed by adults, as discrepancies exist between children’s and adults’ cognitive abilities, developmental levels and information needs. Consequently, a study was conducted to understand how children interpret ― understand and misunderstand ― safety sign designs created by adult designers. Sixty-five primary school children from P-2 to P-6 in three Hong Kong schools were asked to interpret 12 safety signs. The children were not able to understand some of the signs and interpreted them incorrectly. Based on the children’s responses, this paper advocates that participatory design with children is important for adult designers to develop better designs. Copyright © 2014 International Journal of Creativity and Problem Solving.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-73
JournalInternational Journal of Creativity and Problem Solving
Volume24
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

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playground
cognitive ability
schoolchild
school
primary school
Hong Kong

Citation

Siu, K. W. M., Wong, Y. L., Lam, M. S., & Ng, A. W. Y. (2014). Children’s misinterpretation of today’s designs: A case study of how children interpret registered safety signs. International Journal of Creativity and Problem Solving, 24(2), 61-73.

Keywords

  • Children
  • Misinterpretation
  • Safety sign
  • Participatory design