User and Mobility: The Contribution of Information and Guidance Systems Design for the Knowledge of the Territory

Usuário e Mobilidade: A Contribuição de Sistemas de Informação e Sistemas de Orientação para o Conhecimento do Território

Neves, J. Raposo, D. Silva, J.

IPCB/ESART - Escola Superior de Artes Aplicadas do Instituto Politécnico de Castelo Branco
IPCB/ESART - Escola Superior de Artes Aplicadas do Instituto Politécnico de Castelo Branco
IPCB/ESART - Escola Superior de Artes Aplicadas do Instituto Politécnico de Castelo Branco

Retirado de: http://convergencias.esart.ipcb.pt

RESUMO: A mobilidade ea maior afluência de pessoas a determinados lugares ou atrativos, levantaram a necessidade de alvejar essas pessoas em um espaço desconhecido e comunicar mensagens básicas em uma linguagem universal,
Expressa através de sistemas de informação e orientação, a fim de facilitar a compreensão e redução de mensagens escritas em qualquer idioma.
Os sistemas de informação e orientação não são desenvolvidos de forma sistemática e não se conhece uma metodologia aplicada a projetos, em termos de desenvolvimento gráfico, em termos de gestão, planejamento, desenvolvimento e aplicação.
Para atingir este objectivo, é necessário incorporar nos sistemas de informação e de orientação novos métodos que abranjam todos os passos e actores envolvidos no processo e sejam suficientemente adaptáveis ​​a vários tipos de projectos e permitam gerar sistemas mais eficazes do ponto de vista De comunicação, funcional, ergonômico e até estético, para auxiliar no deslocamento e conhecimento dos territórios.
É importante incorporar princípios e metodologias que permitam aos designers e, conseqüentemente, ao público em geral, obter sistemas de sinais mais universais, reconhecidos e amigáveis ​​ao usuário. Esses princípios são susceptíveis de serem aplicados no desenvolvimento projectual, permitindo a normalização no domínio dos símbolos gráficos, bem como das cores, formas e outros elementos gráficos.


PALAVRAS-CHAVE: Design de Wayfinding, Sistemas de Sinalização, Sistemas de Sinalização, Símbolos Gráficos, Orientação.

ABSTRACT: The mobility and greater affluence of people to certain places or attractives, raised the need to target these people in an unknown space and communicate basic messages in a universal language,

expressed through information and guidance systems, in order to facilitate the understanding and reduction of written messages in any language.

The information and guidance systems are not developed in a systematic way and it is not know one applied methodology to projects, in terms of graphic development, in management terms, planning, development and application.

To achieve this objective, it is necessary to incorporate in the information and guidance systems, new methods that covers all the steps and actors involved in the process and sufficiently adaptable to various types of projects and permitting to generate more effective systems from the point of view of communication, functional, ergonomic and even aesthetic, in order to assist in displacement and knowledge of the territories.

It matters incorporate principles and methodologies that enable to designers and, consequently, to the general public, get more universal sign systems, recognized and user friendly. Such principles are likely to be applied in the projectual development, allowing standardization in the field of graphical symbols as well as colors, shapes, and other graphic elements.

 

KEYWORDS: Wayfinding Design, Sign Systems, Signage Systems, Graphic Symbols, Guidance.

1. User, Mobility and Territory

The development of the railway networks, the advent of the automobile industry and the growth of the aerial fluxes, allied to a growing world scaled globalization, brought a greater individual social mobility coming from different regions and continents. Commerce, industry, leisure and other activities caused the abolition of borders, whether they are physical, linguistic or even cultural, in order to make the circulation of people and goods easier.

 According to Costa (1989), social mobility assumes the fluxes of individual groups, from different geographical proveniences and different socio-cultural characteristics, moving from one point to another based on very distinguished reasons. This social dynamic implicates the circumstantial basics, which means that the passage through determined places is sporadic as a result of a naturally itinerant activity. Therefore, it generates new situations, morphological and organizational unawareness of these places, and consequentially, it presumes a high level of intelligibility or indetermination, which raises dilemmas in the individuals’ actuation necessities and even risks.

Social mobility supposes a displacement from a place to other places in a certain territory. If accessibility is considered the access conditions destined to mobilely handicapped and special educational needed people, on the other side, accessibility is understood as the easiness in accessing or displacing between two points.

Although both notions of accessibility are related, especially in the way reduced mobility or special educational needs are a conditioning aspect in accessing or displacing in a pre-determined space, it is considered that accessibility in the access or displacement on a territory may or may not be known or pre-determined.

The greater affluence of people to such places as airports, commercial areas, events, public services, etc., has defused the necessity of giving those people an orientation in an unknown place and to communicate basic messages through an understandable language. On another hand, that mobility brought along traffic developments associated to a growing flux of individuals that displace themselves from a point to another. That displacement often performed in unknown spaces, defused the need to learn new rules, which become normalized through signs that facilitate the access/circulation to/in determined places.
Signage and signalectics are constituted by multiple signs which require a profound and systematic study of a code in which, by the quantity not always are their characteristics apprehended, sometimes causing disrespect and alienation regarding the delivered message. Signage and signalectics are constituted by multiple levels, categorized in different categories regarding their characteristics, constituted by signs or panels which transmit a visual message, thanks to their location, shape, color, type and even through symbols and characters.

The growth in recent decades in tourism activities, coupled with an increasingly global world-wide, provided a more or less general abolition of physical borders, linguistic and even cultural, facilitating the free movement of people and goods, enhancing trade, industry, recreation and other activities related to tourism, increasing the access to more diverse territories, including low density and isolated places.

The mobility and greater affluence of people to certain places or attractives, raised the need to target these people in an unknown space and communicate basic messages in a universal language, expressed through images in order to facilitate the understanding and reduction of written messages in any language. To Massironi (1983, p. 118), this type of images help on orientation in stations, airports, hotels, services, but also currently find on maps, tourist guides, multimedia applications, among others, and for which the requirements of export markets and circulation can not predict the use of one language or the confusion of many languages at once.

The displacement within the tourism activities is made many times in unknown places, raising the need to seize new rules, which will then be formalized through signs that facilitate access or movement to certain places.

The growth and evolution of cities, the complexity of transportation routes, trade relations and communications become essential in the signaling environment, necessary for the safe use of urban facilities, providing business and exchange of knowledge and ideas (Velho, 2007, p. 12).

Tourism, as an activity that involves displacement or mobility of visitors, generates several needs, whether at the level of tourism resources, services, or offer. It is on the tourist information a huge contribution to the mobility, the quality of accommodation and the provision of tourist services and, ultimately, to develop more inclusive places and territories. Tourist information is presented in various forms, from tourist maps, books, leaflets, guides, panels, advertising panels, multimedia applications, web sites, signage, tourist signs, among other forms of communication.

 

2. Sign, Code And System

Signs, as words, need to be understood, to be organized in a speech or text, else they can become not understandable as a whole. Therefore, the signs relation in the same network must be understood so that one can comprehend their meaning. Blending in groups of related signs, having in mind its utilization rules, one is in a presence of a code. Otherwise, a code is a system of signs with relations and meanings. (Raposo, 2008, p.12). In communication, according to Aicher and Krampan (1995, p. 9), there are elements from two main groups that interrelate: Those from a fundamental group of signs; Those from a crucial message group admitted from the signs. Code is what one calls to the coordination of these two main groups.

It is the code that establishes that a certain sign has certain meaning. Meaning is not natural when one looks at a sign. The signs whose meaning is determined by a code care for an apprenticeship of its meaning (Fidalgo, 2005). Therefore, if, by code we refer to a system of signs with relation and meaning, it is important to deepen the definition of system, wich can be grouped in diversely ie. building signage, companies, traffic sign, theme parks, organizations, etc.

The sign is composed by its physical form and a mental concept associated with it, and this concept is, actually, an apprehension of external reality. The sign only relates to reality through concepts and people who use it.

In relation to the study of signs and taking into account the two main streams ('semiology' starred by the linguist Ferdinand de Saussure and the 'semiotics' of the philosopher CS Peirce), to this study the development evidences the three major areas of study covered in semiotics:

1. The sign itself. It is the study of different varieties of signs, the different ways in which these convey meaning, and the ways they relate to the people who use them.

2. Codes or systems in which signs are organized in. This study covers shapes developed by a variety of codes to meet the needs of a society or culture, or to explore the communication channels available for their transmission.

3. The culture within which these codes and signs are organized and, in turn, depends on the use of these codes and signs in relation to their existence and shape.

It appears crucial for this study, a careful analysis of all aspects related with the three areas mentioned above:

Sign and its meaning; The system or how the signs are organized; Culture or users to whom the signs are made for, and at this level the ergonomics is very important, in terms of achieving a total social inclusion.

3. Simplified figurative signs

Simplified figurative signs (Pictograms) are requested to transmit critical information to large numbers of people from a different language, having in common social and cultural traits, and to who are not supplied any teachings to decode these messages. This type of images (pictograms) are a good support in the orientation in public or private spaces and services.

Although pictograms appear to be absolutely self-explanatory and universal, in fact, they possess cultural limitations. Joan Costa (1998) defines pictogram as a figurative simplified sign representing things and objects in the environment. The term pictogram absorbs other variants of the iconic sign: ideogram and badge, despite their fundamental differences, because if the pictogram is an analogical image, the ideogram is an outline of an idea, a concept or a non-visual phenomenon and the emblem a highly institutionalized conventional figure Pictogram was the generalized noun to refer to all of them.

A pictogram represents an object in a simplified way, which may be more or less iconic (more or less the same as the real model), but what matters most of all is that it is visible to the largest possible number of users. It also required a comprehensive understanding of the system to develop, and then conceive pictograms individually, consistently and contributing to the overall uniformity.

Any image that contributes to form a pictogram tends to take on the characteristics and convey the sense of the total category of objects belonging to the object in question (Massironi, 1983). This means that an image to be represented by a pictogram tends to regulate the design of other pictograms that are contained in the same category. The requirements for an information transmission through pictograms undertakes to create concise, simple, quick to understand signs; to achieve this, one has to look for elementary graphic structures, to do justice to a certain type of perception (Aicher, 1995). In general, the conceptual model (taking into account the design of pictograms) should present information in a more simple, clear and unambiguous as possible (Mijksenaar, 2001).

 

4. Sign Systems

Beni (2001) defines system as the set of parts that interact in order to achieve a given goal, according to a plan or principle, logically ordered and sufficiently coherent to describe and explain the functioning of the whole.

For Britto (2006), systems are part of a whole, coordinated among themselves and that they function as organized structure.

Heskett (2005, p. 145), defines system as a set of interrelated elements, interacting entities or independent that form, or one may consider them to form, a collective entity. The objective of a system is to provide clear information on the consequences of choosing a route or a particular direction, but leaving the users decide exactly where they want to go.

A system can be seen as a set of interrelated, interacting or independent elements forming, or considered to form, a collective entity (Heskett, 2005). The purpose of a system is to provide clear information on the consequences of choosing a route or a particular direction, but letting users decide exactly where to go.

In design areas, the collective quality manifests itself in several ways. Different elements can combine in functionally as in transport systems. A system requires principles, rules and procedures to ensure a harmonious interaction and ordered in the interrelation of ideas with forms. This means having systematically qualities of thought, from which it implies methodical, logical and certain procedures (Heskett, 2005, p.145).

 Each artifact unit (signal) helps to form a whole (the system), that is, the signs (artifacts built by man) are not individually designed, but taking into account the collective entity which unites them. The signal (unit belonging to a whole) is then a physical object with different meanings and with unique features that make it, on one hand different from the rest and on the other still relating to the system. Being a sign a physical object, with a self-image and to which it is conventionally assigned a meaning, then we are faced with a sign (Neves, 2006, p. 178).

The signage systems are composed by independent elements - the signs - which convey certain information or an obligation of a action and that interrelate with the function of communicating messages with meaning (through code). Signage systems, to communicate messages, involve the use of pictograms, which are not more than simplified figurative signs that represent things and objects from the surrounding (Costa, 1998, p. 219).

The pictographic systems are understood as signage elements, signals or information interrelated, making use of simplified figurative signs that represent things and objects of the environment (pictograms). Simply put, it is understood by pictographic system the set of signage elements (signs, signals or information) that relates to form a code and that involve the use of pictograms.

Each signal offers very specific information, coded in a way that may be simultaneously linked with all the others. The growing importance of systems design, in contrast with the design focused on shapes, can be attributed to a globalization that affects the collective activity.

Each one of us, in various situations, have encountered difficulties in accessing certain physical space, either by the ineffective signalectics, or by its improper use or even due to the illegibility of the graphism. Signalectics contribute effectively in the orientation of people and goods in a given territory. It is a discipline of the visual communication science who studies the functional relationships between signs of orientation in space and behavior of individuals (Costa, 1989). At the same time, it is the technique that organizes and regulates these relationships.

Each signal contributes to form the system, which means, signals have characteristics that differentiate them, forming the whole system which, nevertheless, requires the seizure of its own signification rules. The signal is an artifact with different meanings and unique features which makes it, different from the others and at the same time, related to the system.

Design as a project activity that involves creativity, proposes the adaptation of means to ends. Design projects create various media for human use, therefore being a subject or activity that is closely related to the conception, planning and production of equipment such as traffic signs. The graphism of signs, as the preferred means of information transmission needs other disciplines to contribute to the attainment of its objectives: to convey clear and unequivocal messages to the user, contributing to the improvement of accessibilities.

Sign systems for tourist information have developed slowly, looking to solve specific problems in each moment and relying mostly on international agreements and protocols. Despite the impossibility to adopt a universal unified sign system, there were moments where the ratified protocols were without a doubt an important impetus for example in the standardization of traffic signing.

The advent of the car became a lever that triggered the evolution of sign systems, creating greater social mobility and generating the apprehension of new rules through signs of orientation in space, which communicate and transmit information constituting a sign system - signalectics. The increased traffic movement has brought along the problem of the international regulation of signals, which began to be examined at European level since 1908. The global standardization of traffic signs was attempted in a United Nations conference in 1968, achieving only a partial match of the European and North American systems.

Traffic signaling systems (which include several times signs for tourist information) are not uniformed worldwide, existing different systems of signs which, by their distribution, lead us to consider now two fundamental systems with different shapes, colors and graphics. One of them is the European system, based on pictograms and ratified by several countries through the 1949 'Geneva Convention', implemented in most European countries, much of Africa (according to colonizing countries) and almost the whole of Asia. The other is the American system, based primarily on the use of spelling applied to squares or rectangles and based on the "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways" of the United States of America, published on 1948. This system is currently used in Anglo-Saxon countries (territories of the Commonwealth) in the American continent, Australia and other countries of Oceania, fundamentally.

Signage consists of several signs, classified into different categories according to their characteristics, which means that, it is constituted by signals or panels that convey a visual message, thanks to its location, its shape, its color and its type and still through symbols. Signals are composed by several elements that contribute to the final appearance of the artifact.

 Signage can be defined as a system composed of independent elements (which transmit certain information or an obligation to act) that are interrelated with the function of communicating messages. Therefore, signage is a system composed by interrelated elements (signs), simultaneously independent (by their classification) forming a collective entity - a sign system. Each artifact unit (sign) contributes to form a whole (the system), which means, the signals (objects built by man) are not individually designed, but having in mind the collective entity that unites them. The sign (the unit that belongs to a whole) is therefore a physical object with different meanings and unique characteristics which makes it different from the others, and at the same time related to the system. Being the signal a physical object, with a self-image and to which was assigned a meaning, then we are before a sign.

Iconicity includes several degrees of analogy and fidelity to the model, varying from hyperrealism to schematics or extreme abstraction. For signage as for signalectics, the maximum iconicity corresponds to pictograms (representing objects and people), and the minimum iconicity to what it is called "ideograms or non-figurative symbols" (Costa, 1989).

To convey messages, sign systems use pictograms, which are not more than simplified figurative signs that represent forms and objects in the environment. Pictographic system is a term introduced in this paper to define elements of an inter-related system, making use of figurative signs which represent things and objects of the environment (pictograms). Pictographic system is then a set of descriptive signalectic elements that interrelate to form a whole, involving the use of pictograms.

 

5. Wayfinding Design

According to Britto (2006), the creation and transmission of a message about a given product / service or equipment rental is a process that triggers the connection between supply (product / service / equipment) and demand (actual or potential tourists) and ensures their complete satisfaction. Such signals are integral components of a directory, system, or a signage system directory, specially designed for many different situations, may or may not be referenced by systems or official directories of tourist signs, especially on issues of internal signage, when the freedom of establishment may be maintained (Britto, 2006).

The tourist signs or symbols can not have a dubious character, or be based on a certain code of restricted access to some users. It is also important for the interpretation of such signs the physical environment where they are (World Tourism Organization, 2003, p. 6).

The tourist guidance cue is the communication by means of a set of panels, implanted successively along a established route, with a ordered written messages, pictograms and arrows. This set is used to inform about the existence of tourist attractions and other references, to tell which are the best access routes, and over these, distance to be traveled to reach the desired location.

It is a word that has been used to identify the theme of spatial orientation and 'navigation', especially in urban areas. It is an important area for design, for architecture and ergonomics that is not limited to the design of pictograms and signs, but everything that concerns human interaction with the space (Arthur, Passini, 1992) and formulation adapted spaces to the user, from the viewpoint of ergonomics visual cognitive and anthropometry, in order to planning and design more inclusive spaces.

Several definitions for the word wayfinding are known, as a methodology for organizing indicators to guide people to their destination (Beneicke; Biesek, Brandon, 2003). Wayfinding can also be an orientation process that uses spatial information and the environment (natural, urban or built).

Wayfinding can be considered as a method for providing consistent information in a clear and obvious way to guide a person to their destination. This information may include maps and signs, clear clues for architectural and interior design facilities or through the use of standard color and texture. Advanced systems of Wayfinding may also be effective systems of information that support organizational identity and branding strategies (Hablamos Juntos, s.d.). At the organization and communication of our dynamic relationship with space and environment can be defined as Wayfinding.

The design of wayfinding systems should include: a) identifying and marking spaces, b) areas of agglomeration, and c) binding and organizing spaces through architectural features and graphics (Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access, s.d.).

Wayfinding design is the creation of resources and spatial information systems and the environment, to guide and direct people. Can still be considered as the process of organizing spatial and environmental information to help users find their way. Wayfinding should not be considered a separate or different activity than the traditional "signage design", but rather a broader, more inclusive way of assessing all the environmental issues which affect our ability to find our way (Kelly Brandon Design, s.d.).

A wayfinding system includes brands, signs, maps and directional devices that tell us where we are, where we want to go and how to get there. An effective wayfinding system can add an important dimension to the image of a museum, a transit system, an airport, an office building, or an entire city. It can be designed as an auxiliary understanding that provides information and guidance to people in a clear, appropriate and friendly to the user, in order to help find your way through, and out of an environment (Wyman, 2004).

All wayfinding projects have a common factor, whether they are large-scale or small-scale, long-term or shortterm, to public spaces or commercial companies, for new visitors or staff, indoor or outdoor, pedestrians or car drivers: All wayfinding projects are intended to be used by people. This means that all projects wayfinding will have to take into account human perception and human psychology (Mijksenaar, 2009-2011).

Thus, the projects of wayfinding includes a combination of various articles, which should combine in order to provide project development design user-centered, more inclusive, usable and, most of all, noticeable and mobility helpers. Signage systems incorporate wider range of wayfinding systems and contribute to the transformation of visual signs in signaling information messages.

It is understood that the Principles describe the general characteristics of development of a visual code with graphical and functional quality perceived. The Standards describe the content and processes for application in the graphic development of the visual code. Together, the Principles and Standards constitute the guidelines in developing the visual code.

 

6. Signage Systems Principles: Essay

This test is assumed as a reflective proposal about certain principles and norms that is believed may have implications in improving the graphical and functional quality of visual code and part of the interpretation of the results. Are presented the principles applied to the development of systems of signs for tourist information:

a) Principle of Necessity: It is necessary to develop a new system or a new symbol? Prior to the development of a system of signs for tourist information, must be evaluated before more your need, that is, if exists any system ever developed or related and sufficiently recognized that fulfills the same function without the need to make known to the user a new code to decode.

b) Principle of universality: For whom is the signalling or symbol? Regarding the signalling systems for the tourism area should always be considered the universe and not the sample, ie, it should be considered as the target audience of the system, the entire audience from various sources in order to make the system recognized by the majority. If possible should be used, pictograms and ideograms recognized worldwide.

c) Principle of participativity: Who develops the system or symbol? It is essential to the quality of the system or symbol developed the participation of various actors (customer, company, designers and other professionals and above all the user) and that they incorporate the decisions of each design stage, to conceive conceive a more inclusive system, one closest to the user's needs and hence with greater differentiation potential, with perceived quality and satisfaction of all needs of the stakeholders and recipients of the developed system.

d) Principle of usability: The systems of signs or symbols are easy to use? Systems of signs or symbols for tourist information should be developed taking into account the ease with which the user interacts with the signalling artefacts, in order to facilitate access and displacement in a given space or territory. In this sense many cycles (analysis / design / testing) should be performed and evaluated their results.

e) Principle of simplicity:  The system of signs and their symbols are clear? The complexity of the information provided by the signaling system or the symbols and / or the need for fast reading and decoding by the user of the signs, impose a graphic system, simple, clear and without ambiguities possible. In this sense, graphic design plays a key role in the transmission of information, should be based on elementary graphic structures, flat colors, typography with effective readability and legibility and other factors that may contribute to a system that fulfills its function: to inform.

f) Principle of uniformity: The system of signs or their symbols have a common graphic language? The graphical choices made in the development of a particular pictogram that belongs to a class or system must regulate the design of other signs, that is, there must be a common principle to the graphic language regulatory and uniform for all system . The uniformity results from similarity of constituents and homogenization of the parties to establish a common code, facilitator of the communication process between the system of signs for tourist information and the user.

g) Principle of normativity: There are standards or rules that constrain the development and application of symbols or signs of the system? The adoption of international symbols or systems implemented in another country can be beneficial for decoding and recognition of the code applied. However should be analyzed all the precepts and rules that might constrain the development and application of a particular symbol or system.

Thus, there must be an analysis of the normative documents (sectoral regulators, regional, national and international) that may affect or assist in the development of the graphic system.

h) Principle of perceptibility: In the development of the symbols or system was considered the perception question? In the development of pictograms and ideograms to incorporate the signs to tourist information systems, must consider the question of perception as fundamental to the quality of the system.

 

7. Signage Systems Standards

It is considered in the development of the graphic system, that all systems are different, distinctive, unrepeatable and distinct audiences. It is therefore important to consider the issues related to the design of the visual code. In the following paper are presented various contents and processes for application in the graphic development of the visual code, which are intended to contribute to the graphical and functional quality of the system.

The technical report ISO TR 7239: 1984 (E), provides procedures for the development and implementation principles of the symbols for public information, addressing the report three major areas: procedures for the development or adoption of symbols, criteria for visual design; the implementation process of the symbols for public information (ISO TR 7239, 1984, p. 4 - 16).

As for the procedures for the development or adoption of symbols for public information, the technical report indicates that one should first check if the referent is no longer standardized (ISO 7001, 2007), before developing a new symbol. If not, before proceeding to development a symbol for a certain function, must be clearly established whether the graphic symbol is really necessary. Establishing the necessity of the existence of a new symbol, the development of the symbol for public information must be based on the results obtained by the procedure proposed by the standard (ISO / TR 7239, 1984, p. 7).

Regarding the content of the normalized image, the ISO 7001 establishes three elements: a) the contents of the default image, b) function c) field of application. Generally, the information contained in the Technical Report are aimed at design professionals in visual communication, which are to interpret and apply after appropriate assessment of specific environments.

As for building a symbol, the Report reflects on the different elements of the systems graphism, such as the application of grid construction, symbol proportions, symmetry of shapes, directional arrows, shapes and contours, and reduction scales. The Report also presents a number of technical rules for defining the shape of symbols, as well as the angles of vision, important for the design and implementation of public information symbols, contains also other rules relating to the viewing distances / symbol size / displacement. Also presented are other rules for the implementation of symbols as its orientation, distance, symbol / text / arrow interaction, tonal contrast and relationship with the corporate image.

In other way, the standard ISO 22727:2007 (E) indicates some guiding principles for the creation and design of public information symbols, being these principles organized into three parts: the creation process, function and meaning, and finally the design of graphic symbol (ISO 22727, 2007, p. 2 – 24).

According to the standard, before developing a new symbol for public information, you should check whether it is really necessary that symbol and not another, one should also identify its precise meaning, and the need to create a new symbol by determination, or if the symbol with the meaning required is already given in ISO 7001. For the design of a new symbol for public information, one must consider the existing graphics elements with similar meanings that can be used, adapted or combined to form the new symbol. An analysis of the expected characteristics of the new symbol users and the context of their use, must also be performed.

For the design of the new symbol should be used a model (layout). After the conception of the new symbol, it is highly recommended to conduct a evaluation of the understanding of the symbol in the context in which the symbol is being used (according to ISO 9186-1 standard). If necessary, the public information symbol must be modified.

Must be assigned a meaning, a function and image content to the symbol for public information. To this one must consider the category to which the symbol belongs (categorization). Each symbol must normally be used to transmit only one message and it should be placed in only a single category. Must be assigned a meaning and a function that must be unambiguous.

According to the ISO 22727:2007 standard, the design of a graphic symbol should be understandable; easily be associated with the intended meaning; be based on objects, activities, etc., or a combination thereof, which will surely be identifiable by the users; be easily distinguishable from other graphic symbols; contain only those details that help to the comprehension; maintain these characteristics when reduced to 25% of the size of the conception layout grid.

The graphic symbol must be designed within a grid. This should not extend beyond the margins of the grid, but should make full use of the area within the margins of the model. It should also be constituted by the fewest possible components while maintaining comprehensibility.

Any existing standardized representations of components of the symbol shall be used without modification. The letters, numbers, punctuation marks, mathematical symbols and other characters should be used only as an element of a symbol for public information. The symbols for public information should only be denied for reasons of comfort or convenience. The denial bar and cross, are usually in red.

It is recommended that the designer addresses certain issues during the creation and design of a graphic symbol for use in public information in the sense of solving a identified problem of public information: Meaning; Alternative meaning, Unintentional meaning; Function; Necessity; Existence of symbols for public information; Graphic symbols and elements of graphic symbol Existence; Field of application; Users; Moredetails for specific audience; Related meanings; Negation, Project review, Test data.

 

8. Design of Graphic Symbols

It is considered as a general principle, in the development of graphics system, that all systems are different, distinct and unrepeatable and with distinct audiences. It is therefore important to consider the issues related to the design of the visual code.

Any image that competes to form a pictogram, tends to take on the characteristics and convey the sense of the total category of objects which belong to the object in examination (Massironi, 1983, p.118). That is to say that an image to be represented by a pictogram, tends to regulate the design of other pictograms that are contained in the same category.

Ordinarily, the image of an object has the property to display that object in all its uniqueness, loaded of all attributes that characterize it as unique. In the pictograms should happen otherwise, the figure "man" should serve to "all possible men".

If it was used a photograph of a man to a signal, the image would be much closer to the real man than the outlined by pictogram, but it would be much less useful. If each figure must serve to 'the whole set of possible objects belonging to that class', the figure of which we speak should never foreshadow an object, but the whole class of those objects i.e, a concept (Massironi, 1983, p. 119-120).

Images have own characteristics that differentiate them from other. According Moles and Janiszewski (1992, p. 47), there are criteria that characterize the different types of images, such as Iconicity/Abstraction; Complexity/Simplicity; Normativity; Universality; Historicity; Aesthetics or cognitive load; Fascination.

The requirement of transmitting information by pictograms obliges to conceive concise, simple and quickly understandable signs; for it, must be sought elementary graphic structures, to do justice to a certain type of perception (Aicher; Krampen, 1995, p.101). In general, the conceptual model (taking into account the design of pictograms) should present information in a more simple, clear and without ambiguities possibles (Mijksenaar, 2001, p. 25). The design has the unique ability to shape information by certain techniques, as the emphasis or understanding; comparison or structuring; Grouping or order, selection or omission; Option for immediate or delayed recognition; presentation in an interesting way.

In psychophysical studies of Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Köhler e Kurt Koffka, known by the development of Gestalt theory (or psychology of the form), it is considered the perception as a whole and it leave of the whole to explain the parts, being that the whole is not the sum of the parts. The elements of a picture are grouped spontaneously and this organization is innate. The principles of perceptive structuration is organized as follows: Perception figure - background; Perception of the group (Proximity, Continuity or good extension; Symmetry; closure or continuity of contours; Subjective Contours); Perceptive constancies (Constancy of form; Constancy of size; Constancy of brightness and color); Prägnanz or good shape.

Relatively at the definition of basic principles for signs, the European Conference of Ministers of Transport in 1991, supplementary to the Signs and Road Signs Convention, established basic principles for tourist signs (World Tourism Organization, 2003, p. 47-48), principles such as the Principle of safety; Principle of proximity; Principle of specificity.

According Maria Avillaneda (2006, p. 88) for developing a signal system, it is essential to define the bases of creating a set of signs or graphics, because the strict observation of each normative basis will be reflected in the signaling system functionality. It is defined the following normative foundations (Avillaneda, 2006, p 88-97.): Coherence; Logic; Terminology; Location; Clarity and precision; Color; Design; Flexibility; Universality.

According to Carlos Roque, the task of driving involves a different set of conditions associated at a space, a road, at a precise point and occurring simultaneously. Then it becomes necessary the understanding of the system by the driver, which is closely related to their overall perception (how the system works) and your relationship with the other actors of the same system. Also the legibility of the road influences the driver's behavior towards the system, allowing to adapt more easily to the system.

It is understood that the signaling can effectively contribute to the readability of the road, although not, by itself, enough to ensure it. Thus, a signaling system must take into account the following principles: Uniformity; Homogeneity; Simplicity; Continuity; Coherence.

 

9. Standardization of Graphic Symbols

Around the world, numerous signaling systems have been developed in the area of public information, yet do not share common codes, being projected for a particular entity or territory, with a unique character, isolated from other systems, far from the desired universal character for guidance systems and public information.

Examples of systems developed for public information are plentiful, such as applied by countries, regions or tourist authorities, provinces, municipalities, tour operators, businesses and many other organizations. Yet, it is truly impressive to see that, in general, the systems do not relate to each other, often causing difficulties in accessing certain places, reducing the mobility of users.

It is verified often the implementation of vertical signaling systems (traffic signalling) in conjunction with tourist symbols (which is applied in touristic establishments and by tourism operators). There are also systems applied in some regions by local municipalities or companies dedicated to tourist activities. As easily understood, the several referred systems generate, for the user, redundant messages or often, the lack of information by the huge deregulation and lack of uniformity in the messages to be transmitted.

Important example in this context, is the project developed for the signaling program developed to a set of facilities linked to the transports in the United States, selecting for this purpose the American Institute for Graphic Arts (AIGA). The system was designed to guide people and goods in places with a large influx of users as airports, railway stations, international events, etc., as well as in attempt to devise a system that communicates clear and legible messages at a certain distance, destined to people of different cultures, social classes and age groups.

In attempt to standardize, in 1993 the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO-WTO) launched the publication "Signs and tourist symbols", which presents concepts and terminology used in the tourism sector, as well as a set of 290 symbols for public information and touristic. The publication refers to activities undertaken by UNWTO the 1998-2000 period corresponding to the matters relating to standardization and technical standards. The edition is the result of a survey by the national tourism management agencies worldwide, as well as international organizations linked to the sector. It is considered the study published as an embryonic attempt of classification and standardization of symbols for tourist information, but without great results,

limited to present and select the symbols without methodology, in an empirical way and not relating the symbols in an attempt to create a common code.

Thus, it were verified over time several attempts to standardization and normalization of graphic symbols present in guidance and indication signals, highlighting the work of the ISO Technical Committees (International Organization for Standardization), which highlights some Standards and Technical Reports related to the symbols for public information.

The technical report ISO TR 7239: 1984 presents the procedures of development and principles for the implementation of the symbols for public information, addressing the report three major areas: procedures for the development or adoption of symbols; the criteria of visual design; the implementation process of the symbols for public information (ISO TR 7239, 1984, p. 4 - 16). Establishing the necessity of the existence of a new symbol, the development of this should be based on the results obtained in the normative process (ISO / TR 7239, 1984, p. 7).

Regarding the content of the normalized image, the ISO 7001 standard establishes three elements: a) the standard image content; b) the function; c) application field. For the construction of a symbol, the Report indicates that the use of grids can help to keep the apparent size similar and consistency in symbol sets. A variety of visual components that should be used in public information symbols prevents, however, the use of restrictive geometric patterns. None of developed symbols should be forced to fit in a basic grid, in detriment of their communication.

Already the standard ISO 22727: 2007 sets out some guiding principles for the creation and design of symbols for public information, beeing these principles organized into three parts: the process of creation, function and meaning, and finally the design of the graphic symbols (ISO 22727 , 2007, p. 2 - 24).

The standard in analisys indicates some additional guidelines for the design of the symbols for public information, which is considered to be important for the development of graphic signs to incorporate into sign systems for tourist information, as regards Filled areas; Symmetry; Abstract symbols; Directional arrows; Representation of the human figure.

Checklist for designers: It is recommended that the designer, during the creation and design of a graphic symbol for use in public information, addresses the following questions, in order to solve a problem of public information identified: Meaning; Meaning(s) alternative(s) accepted; Meaning(s) Unintentional; Function; Need; Existence of public information symbols; Existence of graphic symbols and graphic symbol elements; Application field; Target Audience; Other details to specific audience; Related meanings; Denial; Review project; Test data.

The system design is one of the most important stages and which will give body to the signaling system. It should be reviewed all the basic aspects of the system, then the concepts of the project should be defined and even the design of the supports and the graphic design of signs. After analyzing the results, should be collected comments and suggestions to reformulate or further development and thus pass the validation phase of the symbols. Thus, there are several tests to validate the designed system and in particular the ratio of its constituent elements.

 

10. validation of graphic symbols

The operationalization of the design procedure of signaling systems it is composed by various activities and steps, which concretely operationalize the design tasks, normalization and validation of graphic symbols of the indication signs.

The system design is one of the most important stages and which will give body to the signaling system. It should be reviewed all the basic aspects of the system, then the concepts of the project should be defined and even the design of the supports and the graphic design of signs. After analyzing the results, should be collected comments and suggestions to reformulate or further development and thus pass the validation phase of the symbols. Thus, there are several tests to validate the designed system and in particular the ratio of its constituent elements. It presents, next, several tests that aid in the validation task of graphical symbols.

The conventionals usability tests have origin in computer sciences, which aims to assess the interaction of the object with the user. Specifically, for the present research and for the thematic of guidance and signposting systems, Usability Test it is defined as that who evaluates the relationship between graphic symbols of guidance and indication signals with the user.

In this sense, the Usability Testing is crucial to evaluate the graphic and functional quality of the symbols and their ability to communicate with the user. There are four types of usability testing: The exploration test, evaluation, validation and comparison.

The Exploration Test it aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the preliminary symbol (in sketch or mockup) and meet the opinion of the user of developed model. It is applied when the artifact is still in a draft stage, that is, is indicated for the start of the project in order to make an analysis of the design and evaluate the understanding of the user.

As for the Assessment Test, this aims to continue the preliminary assessment carried out in the Exploration Test, which aims to assess and test if the previous concept was implemented effectively, ensuring that the user decodes the message, understanding the meaning of graphic symbols. For the test, must be developed surveys where the symbols approach the final object.

Concerning the Validation Test, it aims to determine how the symbols behave before the established standards of ergonomic point of view, from shape, color and graphism, among others, as well as from the point of view of the quick and clear decodification by the users. The validation test occurs at the end of the process, to measure the performance of symbols, sometimes tested in a real context, in the environment where it will be applied.

The Comparison Test, as its name indicates, aims to compare different graphic symbols and it can be applied at different stages of the process. The test serves to qualitatively assessing the intrinsic characteristics of different signs, requesting to the user a comparative evaluation. In the early stages of the process can be used to compare differences in graphic style between different symbols, in a intermediate phase may be applied to measure the effectiveness of a symbol or parts thereof and, at the end of the process, can be used to evaluate the system developed with other systems in use. The comparison test can be used as a junction of the various

tests, and its objective is the admeasurement of the characteristics of a graphic sign or its constituent parts. The Visibility Tests "in situ" are intended to evaluate the graphic and functional quality of symbols system developed, as well as their ability to communicate with the user and applied in space or territory in validation.

The test involves developing models to scale 1:1 as faithful as possible at the original to apply, under the same lighting conditions and preferably with the same supports, materials and the with the same dimensioning previously defined by the project team. Thus, it is a final test of the system, in real physical conditions, where should be selected a random sample of the target audience and can select a group of experts in the area that may also be asked with the test.

Thus, visibility tests are applied in a "real" physical space, where is wanted to apply a final visibility test. In certain cases, tests simulate differen lighting conditions, different screens, materials or color tones, in order to select the final materials that will constitute the supports.

The comprehensibility tests results of the application of the standard ISO 9186-1: 2007 (E), which specifies methods for testing comprehensibility of the graphic symbols, including: a) the method to be used to test the amplitude a variant in which a graphical symbol communicates the intended message; b) the method to be used to test which variant of a graphical symbol is judged as more understandable. The ISO 9186-1: 2007 (E) presents two types of test: The Comprehension Test and Judgement Test.

The Comprehension Test is a procedure that is intended to qualify the understanding of a graphic symbol proposed. It is based on qualitative assessment of the responses on the assessment of a particular sign.

Respondents are asked to indicate what is the meaning and what action it would take in response to a presented symbol. The objective of this procedure is to determine what action developed by the users in front a given symbol and is recommended especially for an advanced phase of the graphical development of solutions.

The Judgment Test is a procedure for the quantitative assessment of the understanding of a graphic symbol proposed. It is based on the judgment of several presented symbols to respondents, where it be indicated the percentage of understanding of a particular sign.

This estimate is given by each respondent, at who are asked to indicate what percentage of people who, in their opinion, correctly understand the meaning of data pictogram, symbol or icon. The objective of this procedure is to determine, quickly, what the signs that have the greatest potential for understanding and is recommended especially for the early stages of the graphical development solutions.

 

11. Conclusions

The information and guidance systems are not developed in a systematic way and it is not know (in most cases) one applied methodology to projects development, in terms of graphic development, in management terms, planning, development and application.

To achieve this objective, it is necessary to incorporate in the information and guidance systems, a method that covers all the steps and actors involved in the process and sufficiently adaptable to various types of projects and permitting to generate more effective systems from the point of view of communication, functional, ergonomic and even aesthetic, in order to assist in displacement and knowledge of the territories.

Based on the research area of design, specifically the graphic design / information, it was understood that this test could produce results in terms of defining the principles and standards that would support decision-making of designers when developing pictograms and ideograms for application in information and guidance systems, which would make them more inclusive and focused on the diverse needs of users and the territories.

In the development of sign systems for information, in previous studies it was concluded that there is a dysfunction between the project objectives and the real user needs, ie, there is a gap between the objectives of the project teams and the true user needs. In general, systems are conceived based on aesthetic and design aspects, and less on the basis of functional arguments and centered on the real needs of the target audience.

From a methodological point of view, it matters incorporate principles and methodologies that enable to designers and, consequently, to the general public, get more universal sign systems, recognized and user friendly. Such principles are likely to be applied in the projectual development, allowing standardization in the field of graphical symbols as well as colors, shapes, and other graphic elements.

International standards that are related with graphic symbols, being them for public information symbols, safety signs, or graphical symbols for use on equipment, are prepared by the International Organization for Standardization, more specifically by the Technical Committee ISO/TC 145.

These standards contains determinant information for the development of information systems, guidance and safety, therefore a strategic tool for designers and communication companies, helping the design of coherent systems, uniforms and user-centered, allowing a better perception, decoding and retention of messages.

However, despite the important content that international standards presents, they contain a structure and language too technical and rigid, which hinders its adoption by designers and studios, since they contain some principles and symbols that may contradict the methodologies and design processes in use.

It would be important to compile, systematize and reduce to a single document the references normative, terms, definitions and priciples directly related to graphic symbols, allowing the appropriation and application of these fundamentals in graphic development of systems and codes conceived by designers, incorporating a new language of universal signs, instantaneous and uniform.

Thus, this article aims to address the contribution of information and guidance systems design, that is, the way that signs are linked to form a code, and this is organized to form a information and guidance system. This wayfinding systems, more than signage systems, need principles and norms that contribute to the design of user frendly systems, that allow their decoding and apprehension, thereby contributing to the ease of movement and access to low-density areas, more isolated and less favoured regions.

 

Acknowledgments

This paper was presented at Regional Helix 2016, and published exclusively at Convergences.

 

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Reference According to APA Style, 5th edition:
Neves, J. Raposo, D. Silva, J. ; (2017) User and Mobility: The Contribution of Information and Guidance Systems Design for the Knowledge of the Territory. Convergências - Revista de Investigação e Ensino das Artes , VOL X (19) Retrieved from journal URL: http://convergencias.ipcb.pt