Piamonte, D. P. T.1, Abeysekera, J. D. A.1 and Ohlsson, K.2
1Division of Industrial Ergonomics, 2Division of Engineering Psychology,
Department of Human Work Sciences, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden
Southeast Asia is a region characterized by diversity in language and culture. Although it is slowly recovering from the recent economic crisis, it still remains as one of the most dynamic regions in the world. Economic trades and technology transfers from the west still abound in most of its countries. One palpable sign is the continued rise in the use of western products. With these also came the use of graphical symbols (icons and pictograms) as a common mode of user interface of the products. Easy leartiability, less space requirements and being non-text dependent are just few of the reasons why graphical symbols have become a major means of presenting information and functions especially in travel, communication and consumer products ( Zwaga, 1989 and Horton, 1994). In order to elicit the above benefits of using graphical symbols, they must be tested across their intended user groups. Symbols are often designed and tested in the west but targeted for international use. Thus, the extent of their usability and acceptability among user groups with different languages and cultures from those of the west can be questionable. Studies on how icons and pictograms in Asia are still sparse. This paper aimed to study how symbols designed and tested in Europe fared among subjects from different countries in Southeast Asia. It was part of an international study on graphic symbols involving countries from Southeast Asia ( Piamonte, 1998). Specifically, videotelephone symbols designed and tested by the European Telecommunication Standards Institute ( ETSI) ( Böcker, 1993) were evaluated using subjects from five Southeast Asian countries.