From Evacuation Orders to Evacuation Instructions: Assessing Public Evacuation Documents

By Claudine Jaenichen.

Published by The Design Collection

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

In a previous paper titled, The Taxonomy of Urgent Wayfinding, twelve evacuation maps used in the United States were assessed by the following criteria: components (external and internal identification, level of organization, and length of components); variables (size, value, texture, color, orientation, and shape variation); and the general rules of legibility (graphic density, angular legibility and retinal legibility) as defined in the Semiology of Graphics by Jacques Bertin (1983). The influential effect of mental health and physical stress was also identified as key components in decision-making and wayfinding design for urgent and emergency situations. A unifying, consistent or cohesive set of design principles within which the maps were created could not be established, neither by the taxonomy or strategies of the maps’ graphic variables, components and rules of legibility. This paper continues the analysis of artifacts created for people in urgent and emergency situations. The following considerations will be included: 1) the psychologyof emergency egress and ingress, crowd psychology, the unconscious personality, andleader influence; 2) visual literacy and cognition; 3) survey of graphic variables; 4) brief reviewof semantics and the advantages of text; and 5) strategies in instructional and documentdesign. The objective in examining airline safety cards is to explore a model of design principles that include the consideration of human cognition and regulated content applicable to urgent and emergency reading situations by a single authoritative body. Evacuation orders, evacuation maps and airline safetyinstructions share commonalities in the behavior and psychology of its intended readers as well astheir shared messages. The conclusion of this paper will be one of the supporting references used in developing performance tasks and conductinga benchmark of evacuation documents currentlygiven to residentswhen asked to evacuate their home. Even though differences in spatiallimitations and relationships between an aircraft and residential evacuation are exceptional,foundational principles in creating instructional directives for a passenger are applicable toinstructional directives for a resident. Both events acquire a human cognition of urgencyand/or emergency and the message is the same—to safely evacuate.

Keywords: Wayfinding, Instructional Design, Information Design, Semiotics, Temporary Cognitive Disorder, Decision-Making, Semantics, Psychology of Emergency, Design Methodology, Design Practice

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp.161-178. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 14.476MB).

Prof. Claudine Jaenichen

Assistant Professor of Design, Department 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.


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