Abstract

A usability study is reported in which objective measures of performance were compared with subjective ratings of design effectiveness for two novel schematic London Underground maps. One of these was designed conventionally, but was deliberately intended to have complex line trajectories. The other was a novel curvilinear design, prioitised similarly. The selection of designs was motivated by a previous usability rating study in which the curvilinear map had received the lowest scores. For the current study, people planned a series of journeys using both designs. The curvilinear map yielded superior performance in terms of time to plan each journey. Despite experience with both designs, the curvilinear map still received poor usability ratings. It is suggested that expectations and prejudices about design prevent people from making accurate subjective evaluations of usability.

Keywords:

schematic maps; familiarity; usability study; rating study

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Jun 17th, 12:00 AM

Expectations and prejudices usurp judgements of schematic map effectiveness

A usability study is reported in which objective measures of performance were compared with subjective ratings of design effectiveness for two novel schematic London Underground maps. One of these was designed conventionally, but was deliberately intended to have complex line trajectories. The other was a novel curvilinear design, prioitised similarly. The selection of designs was motivated by a previous usability rating study in which the curvilinear map had received the lowest scores. For the current study, people planned a series of journeys using both designs. The curvilinear map yielded superior performance in terms of time to plan each journey. Despite experience with both designs, the curvilinear map still received poor usability ratings. It is suggested that expectations and prejudices about design prevent people from making accurate subjective evaluations of usability.

 

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