Objective: The goal of this study is to evaluate the comprehensibility of the newly introduced water-sport prohibitive signs by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy(MKE, later merged into the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy) among Koreansand westerners, and to check whether the comprehensibility is affected by culturaldifferences.
Background: The Ministry of Knowledge Economy had newly introduced fourteenwater-sport prohibitive signs at the end of 2011 to alert people to potentiallydangerous situations. However, no studies had been found so far to review or assesstheir comprehensibility.
Method: Comprehensibility tests of fourteen water-sport prohibitive signs wereconducted with forty Koreans and forty Westerners in two sequential sessions. Insession I, participants were asked to guess the meaning of each sign verbally in anopen-ended test. In session II, participants were encouraged to provide feedbackfor each sign after its intended meaning was given.
Results: Only two out of fourteen signs satisfied the comprehension rate (67%)recommended by ISO standard for both groups (Koreans and Westerners). Culturaldifference between Koreans and westerners significantly affect the comprehensionrates of the investigated signs, and Westerners exhibit better overall comprehensionthan Koreans. Five poorly comprehended signs for both Korean and Western groupswere identified.
Conclusion: The recently introduced water-sport prohibitive warning signs by MKE stillneed a lot of improvements in order to be implemented nationally or internationally.
There were significant differences in the signs' comprehensibility between Koreansand westerners.
Application: The findings may serve as a useful input for researchers and watersportsign designers in creating easy-to-comprehend safety signs.