The Comprehension of Figurative Images of Food Items: The Effect of Ergonomic Guidelines in Graphic Design

The Comprehension of Figurative Images of Food Items: The Effect of Ergonomic Guidelines in Graphic Design

Lilia Roselia Prado-León, Carlos Díaz de León Zuloaga, Adrian Antonio Cisneros Hernández
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5234-5.ch016
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Graphic design is a discipline responsible for creating clear and concise visual messages that can enhance the understanding of information, easing the comprehension of the message when using different kind of images. In ergonomics, there have been studies about image comprehension, helping to set up and prove guidelines that enhance the efficacy and efficiency of symbols, icons, and pictograms. The goal of this research was to assess, within four stages, the comprehension of the figurative food illustrations and the effectiveness of ergonomic guidelines when used in the design process of these illustrations. The results showed that the familiarity and comprehension of some foods are limited due to the nutritional or cultural habits of the users. When comparing the graphic styles that use or lack of ergonomic guidelines, it is clear that the use of these guidelines helps the user to comprehend and identify better the graphical information presented.
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Since decades ago, various studies have been made in the cognitive ergonomics field which helped to establish ergonomic principles or guidelines that allow for a better and faster comprehension of symbols and pictograms in various environments, especially in the case of pictograms which warn of danger (Cushman y Rosenberg, 1991; Hancock, Rogers, Schroeder y Fisk, 2004; Laughery, 2006; Jiamsanguanwong y Umemuro, 2014). Many of these ergonomic guidelines can be applied to other environments where the comprehension of an image’s message is necessary in order to realize a particular action, as is the case in this study.

ISO norm 3864 (ISO, 2011) indicates that, in order for a graphic abstraction to be acceptable, it must be adequately understood by between 67% and 85% of all users (ANSI, 1987). Thus, Cognitive Ergonomics studies the understanding and retention of the meanings with diverse levels of graphic abstractions and with different objectives. For instance, it evaluates security pictograms which communicate dangers or risks efficaciously (Wogalter et al., 1997). It is worth to mention there are no universally effective graphic abstractions, however, Ergonomics must assess and produce guidelines in order to make them more comprehensible.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Iconicity: The grade of abstraction of an image in relation with its realistic through its abstract representation.

Comprehension: Recognition of something through the expression of its meaning or name.

Dietary Plan: A set of scheduled meals in order to achieve different metabolic and health goals, such as weight loss, sugar control, muscle gain.

Figurative Images: An intermediate level of iconicity of an image (level 5 of 12) in were the object is still identifiable but some spatial relationships are altered; these images keep key characteristics of the real object. Figurative images can be classified as realistic and nonrealistic.

Cognitive Ergonomics: A research field of ergonomics and human factors that its main focus is the mental processes of the user such as perception, memory, reasoning, and motor response. A field specialized in the study of the psychological interactions and cognitive process of the users with objects, information, or build environments.

Ergonomic Guidelines: Different proved principles based on user characteristics and necessities that are used to apply ergonomics in the design process of the user-object-environment systems.

Graphic Abstraction: The process of reducing visual elements, keeping the key features of the represented object in order to still be easily identified.

Food Items: Any edible element that can be used to prepare a meal or recipe.

Graphic Design: A discipline which its goal is to create clear and concise visual messages.

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