Comprehensibility of Newly Introduced Water-sport Prohibitive Signs in Korea by Koreans and Westerners Kim, Woojoo; Siswandari, Yohana; Xiong, Shuping;
Objective: The goal of this study is to evaluate the comprehensibility of the newly introduced water-sport prohibitive signs by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE, later merged into the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy) among Koreans and westerners, and to check whether the comprehensibility is affected by cultural differences. Background: The Ministry of Knowledge Economy had newly introduced fourteen water-sport prohibitive signs at the end of 2011 to alert people to potentially dangerous situations. However, no studies had been found so far to review or assess their comprehensibility. Method: Comprehensibility tests of fourteen water-sport prohibitive signs were conducted with forty Koreans and forty Westerners in two sequential sessions. In session I, participants were asked to guess the meaning of each sign verbally in an open-ended test. In session II, participants were encouraged to provide feedback for each sign after its intended meaning was given. Results: Only two out of fourteen signs satisfied the comprehension rate (67%) recommended by ISO standard for both groups (Koreans and Westerners). Cultural difference between Koreans and westerners significantly affect the comprehension rates of the investigated signs, and Westerners exhibit better overall comprehension than Koreans. Five poorly comprehended signs for both Korean and Western groups were identified. Conclusion: The recently introduced water-sport prohibitive warning signs by MKE still need a lot of improvements in order to be implemented nationally or internationally. There were significant differences in the signs' comprehensibility between Koreans and westerners. Application: The findings may serve as a useful input for researchers and watersport sign designers in creating easy-to-comprehend safety signs.
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