When Does a Difference Make a Difference? A Snapshot on Global Icon Comprehensibility

  • Sonja Auer
  • Ester Dick
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4551)


Global markets require global solutions, especially in user interface design. There are differences between cultures – but do those differences call for different icon designs? This paper provides a snapshot on icon comprehensibility in China, the US and Germany. The icon set was derived of an actual product to enable valid results. A web-based study with 135 participants from China, the US and Germany was conducted. Icon recognition rates among the Chinese participants were significantly lower than among US and German participants. Still, the mean rating for all three countries was above 69% and thus far removed from guesswork. Practical implications for global icon design are discussed based on these findings.


Internationalization/Localization Icon Evaluation Icon Design User Interface Design Visual Design Quantitative Empirical User Studies 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonja Auer
    • 1
  • Ester Dick
    • 2
  1. 1.Siemens AG, Power Transmission & Distribution, Humboldtstr. 59, 90459, NurembergGermany
  2. 2.Siemens AG, Corporate Technology, Otto-Hahn-Ring 6, 81739 MunichGermany

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