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Journal Article


Tang CH, Lin CY, Hsu YM. Appl. Ergon. 2008; 39(2): 209-217.


Department of Architecture, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei, Taiwan.


(Copyright © 2008, Elsevier Publishing)






The purpose of evacuation plan diagrams is for readers to comprehend and then plan an evacuation route. However, comprehending such diagrams involves complex issues that have yet to be addressed by research. This study aims to investigate how Taiwanese people interpret evacuation plan diagrams in their buildings. Issues of interest include the amount of time that it takes for a member of the general public to read a diagram and the time that they spend planning their escape route. Correlated and influencing factors are analyzed. The floor plan of an actual department store was used as the diagram for cognitive testing. A method of stimulated measurement was conducted over the Internet. The results of the experiment showed that the time it takes to plan an escape route is about 1.1 to 2 times longer than its reading time. This indicates that there is a significant time difference between diagram interpretation and stimulated planning. It was found that the longer it takes to read a diagram, the longer it takes to plan an escape route. In addition, to understand the difference between interpretations by the general public versus those with an architectural background, an analysis showed that the general public takes two to three times longer than architectural professionals to read a diagram and plan an escape route. Consequently, improvements in reading diagrams could help in the planning of a more efficient escape route. Furthermore, through our analysis, we found that the design of diagram symbols must satisfy conventional use and also that diagrams must avoid the use of metaphorical and abstract symbols. Diagrams that follow our guidelines will generally result in more effective and efficient conveyance of the intended message, thereby assisting in an emergency.

Language: en


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