Comparative evaluation of the attention capture and holding power of novel signs aimed at park visitors

Research
TitleComparative evaluation of the attention capture and holding power of novel signs aimed at park visitors
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsHall, TE, Ham, SH, Lackey, BK
JournalJournal of Interpretation Research
Volume15
Issue1
Pagination15 - 36
Date Published2010///
AbstractCommunication theories guided the development of messages to increase attention paid to signs in Yosemite National Park regarding food storage in bear country. Four experimental signs (moral appeal, humorous appeal, narrative story, and telegraphic title) were tested against a standard park message at three locations in the park. Hypotheses that the experimental signs would outperform the standard sign were only partially supported. In most cases, more than 50% of visitors at least glanced at thesigns, although few paid sufficient attention to fully process the message. The most effective sign overall was the narrative format. However, observations of 963 people indicated that the effect of signs on reading behavior is highly variable and depends often on the location of the sign. Interviews with 163 visitors in two locations showed that visitors recognized certain signs as highly familiar and tended not to like traditional formats as much as the novel designs. The empathetic and narrative messages received the most positive response. The highly variable attracting power and holding times for the different messages across locations suggests park managers need to attend closely to audience and site characteristics if they expect to communicate effectively with signs. Implications for understanding message vividness are developed.
URLhttps://www.ns1.interpnet.com/nai/docs/JIR-v15n1.pdf#page=14