When it comes to designing icons for the operation of household equipment, care must be taken to avoid misunderstandings.
“If the right button is pushed, the desired function will be performed. If the wrong button is pushed, an unexpected function will be performed. It might cause the user’s body or mental state of unwell even dangerous.“
This applies, for example, to the Auto Bidet Seat.
“Regarding functions, in addition to the basic jet water washes and warm seat, some medium class products still have other derivative features such as Deodorizer, Warm Air Dry and Remote Control. Some high class products even have broadcast music attempting to give users a more relax atmosphere in the toilet environment.”
To determine how readily (or otherwise) icons are understood, researchers Cherng-Yee Leung, Chih-Sheng Chang, and Da-Teh Wu, devised a set of experiments based on confusion matrices [as shown above]. They found that recognition-rates varied dramatically in percentage terms – from an impressive 100% in some cases, like this one :
whilst some scored in mid-range :
and others only achieved a disappointing 0%
“In the age of global village, icons have to be good media of communication because the culture, language and words of some areas are different from others. With the increases of contents and complexity of new products, it is not easy to design ideal icons for users to recognize the delicate functions. Though Auto Bidet Seat has already presented for decades on the market, many function icons, even the icons with text hint, still puzzle users.”