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Metro Map Colour-Coding: Effect on Usability in Route Tracing

Lloyd, Peter B., Rodgers, Peter, Roberts, Maxwell J. (2018) Metro Map Colour-Coding: Effect on Usability in Route Tracing. In: Chapman, Peter and Stapleton, Gem and Moktefi, Amirouche and Perez-Kriz, Sarah and Bellucci, Francesco, eds. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Diagrammatic Representation and Inference: 10th International Conference, Diagrams 2018 Edinburgh, UK, June 18–22, 2018 Proceedings. 10871. pp. 411-428. Springer ISBN 978-3-319-91375-9. (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-91376-6_38) (KAR id:66595)


Does the choice of colour-coding scheme affect the usability of metro

maps, as measured by the accuracy and speed of navigation? Using colour to

differentiate lines or services in maps of metro rail networks has been a common

practice around the world for many decades. Broadly speaking, there are two

basic schemes: ‘route colouring’, in which each end-to-end route has a distinct

colour, and ‘trunk colouring’, in which each major trunk has a distinct colour,

and the individual routes inherit the colour of the main trunk that they run along.

A third, intermediate scheme is ‘shaded colouring’, in which each trunk has a

distinct colour, and each route has a distinct shade of that colour. In this study,

285 volunteers in the US were randomised to these three colour-coding schemes

and performed seventeen navigational tasks. Each task involved tracing a route

in the New York City subway map. Overall, we found that route colouring was

significantly more accurate than the trunk- and shaded-colouring schemes. A

planned subset analysis, however, revealed major differences between specific

navigational hazards: route colouring performed better only against certain navigational

hazards; trunk colouring performed best against one hazard; and other

hazards showed no effect of colour coding. Route colouring was significantly

faster only in one subset.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Proceeding)
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/978-3-319-91376-6_38
Uncontrolled keywords: Metro Maps, Colour Coding, Navigational Hazard, New York City Subway, Vignelli, Usability Testing
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Computing
Depositing User: Peter Rodgers
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2018 13:54 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 03:32 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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