The Evaluation of Preference and Perceived Quality of Health Communication Icons Associated with COVID-19 Prevention Measures
Icons have been widely utilized to describe and promote COVID-19 prevention measures. The purpose of this study was to analyze the preference and subjective design features of 133 existing icons associated with COVID-19 prevention measures published by the health and medical organizations of different countries. The 133 icons represent nineteen different function names, such as "Wash Hands" and "Wear Face Mask". A total of 57 participants were recruited to perform two different tests: ranking
... st and subjective rating test. The ranking test was conducted to elicit the preference ranking of seven icon designs representing each function name. It was followed by a subjective rating test using 13 semantic scales on the two most preferred icons to analyze their perceived quality. Spearmen correlation was applied to derive the possible correlations between users' rankings and the semantic scales, and Friedman's test was also performed to determine the true difference between ranking in terms of each semantic scale to provide a fully meaningful interpretation of the data. Generally, findings from the current study showed that the image presented in the icon is the key point that affects the icons' perceived quality. Interestingly, Spearman's correlation analysis between preference ranking and semantic scales showed that vague–clear, weak–strong, incompatible–compatible, and ineffective–effective were the four strongest semantic scales that highly correlated with the preference ranking. Considering the significant relationships between the semantic distances and the functions, images depicted in an icon should be realistic and as close as possible to its respected function to cater to users' preferences. In addition, the results of Spearman's correlation and Friedman's test also inferred that compatibility and clarity of icon elements are the main factors determining a particular icon's preferability. 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. Furthermore, the approach can also be applied and extended for evaluating other medical icons.