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Recognition of automotive climate control symbols
Published October 09, 1995 by Human Factors and Ergonomics Society in United States
One hundred ninety-six automobile buyers were surveyed in Chicago, Illinois to determine user understanding of symbols and words commonly found on climate (heater and air conditioning) controls in today's automobiles. This survey was part of a larger market research project. Subjects were administered a paper and pencil test and were asked to identify symbols and words randomly located on a page by recording their answers on a blank line beside the symbol. They were then asked to operate climate controls labeled either with words or symbols following which they rated the ease of identifying the controls. The buyer population that was surveyed contained primarily import car buyers due to the nature of the product being researched. Recognition rates ranged from 92% to 47%, indicating that most of the symbols were relatively well understood except for the rear defrost, air conditioning, and defrost/floor air flow symbols. However, subjects also responded that words were preferred over symbols in ease of identifying functions by almost a 2 to 1 margin in preference except for the air distribution modes, where symbols were preferred over words 61% to 48%