IMPACT OF SCHEMATIC DESIGNS ON THE COGNITION OF UNDERGROUND TUBE MAPS
Keywords: Schematic maps, Map design, Map cognition, Tube maps, Map usability
Abstract. Schematic maps have been popularly employed to represent transport networks, particularly underground tube lines (or metro lines), since its adoption by the Official London Underground in early 1930s. Such maps employ straightened lines along horizontal, vertical and diagonal directions. Recently, some researchers started to argue that the distortion in such a schematization may cause big distortion and some new designs are proposed. This project aims to make a comparative analysis of such a schematic design with a new design proposed by Mark Noad in 2011, which makes use of lines along 30º and 60º directions instead of the 45º direction. Tasks have been designed for evaluating the effect of schematic designs on route planning by travellers. The participant was asked to choose the route s/he would take among two or three possible route options and then read the name of the selected transfer station. Eye-tracking technique has been employed to track the map recognition process. Total travel time is used as criterion for effectiveness; completion time and mental work cost are used for efficiency evaluation. It has been found that (1) the design of map style has significant impact on users’ travel decision making, especially map distance and transfer station symbol designs, and (2) the design style of a schematic map will have great impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of map recognition.