The Taxonomy of Urgent Wayfinding: Assessing Graphic Variables, Components and “Rules of Legibility” used in City Evacuation Maps

By Claudine Jaenichen.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper summarizes the evaluation of twelve city evacuation maps currently used in the United States for hurricane, fire, flooding or other scenarios requiring area evacuation. Each map is assessed by its use of components, graphic variables, and “general rules of legibility” as defined by Jacques Bertin in Semiology of Graphics (1983). Components include external and internal identification, level of organization, and length of components; variables include size, value, texture, color, orientation, and shape variation; and the general rules of legibility include graphic density, angular legibility and retinal legibility. The influential effect of mental health and physical stress will also be identified as key components in wayfinding design for urgent and emergency situations. The psychology of emergency ingress/egress and disaster psychology will provide a better understanding of decision-making challenges placed on people involved in distressed scenarios.

Keywords: Design, Leadership, Instructions, Emergency, Semiotics, Evacuation, Wayfinding, Cognitive Psychology, Disaster

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 10, pp.251-264. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.278MB).

Prof. Claudine Jaenichen

Assistant Profesoor of Design, Dept of Art, Chapman University, Orange, California, USA

Claudine Jaenichen was 18 when she wanted to become a forest firefighter, but special circumstances drove her towards another passion. In 1997, she graduated from the California Institute of the Arts with a BFA in Graphic Design. She worked as a professional designer while fulfilling her young adult ambition serving on Santa Barbara Search and Rescue as a certified Emergency Medical Technician. In 2003, she moved to England to pursue her graduate degree in Information Design at the University of Reading. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Chapman University, California, and a Research Fellow for the Communication Research Institute (CRI).CRI is an international organization undertaking research, practice and disseminates knowledge of practical communication to enhance the quality of communication between people. policy and organizations. Recent projects include re-writing guidelines for Australian legislation—improving prescription packaging for Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) effectiveness, including research that benefits inclusive results with older people, partially sighted people, children, physical and mental disabilities, illiterate, etc. dealing with needs associated with different technologies: paper, computers, mobiles, etc.

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