Effects of Icon Concreteness and Complexity on Semantic Transparency: Younger vs. Older Users

  • Sabine Schröder
  • Martina Ziefle
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5105)


The semantic transparency of icons in mobile devices was investigated using 48 icons for 12 mobile phone functions. Icons included original ones as well as icons specifically designed for experimental purposes. In order to determine the impact of age, each 10 younger and 10 older adults were examined. Having been acquainted with a reference function, participants had to decide for each of four icons shown on a display as fast as possible whether they represented the respective function. Speed and accuracy of responses were used as dependent variables. Though older adults generally responded slower than younger ones, the very same effects of icon concreteness and complexity showed up in both age groups. Real phone icons did not yield a better performance indicating a suboptimal design. Overall, use of icons in mobile devices in principle can be recommended for users within a wide range of age, if icon design obeys ergonomic rules.


Icon recognition mobile devices ageing concreteness complexity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabine Schröder
    • 1
  • Martina Ziefle
    • 1
  1. 1.RWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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