ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2012, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (8): 1058-1065.

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The Effect of Gender, Wayfinding Strategy and Navigational Support on Wayfinding Behaviour

FANG Hui-Cong;ZHOU Lin   

  1. (School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China)
  • Received:2011-10-21 Revised:1900-01-01 Published:2012-08-28 Online:2012-08-28
  • Contact: FANG Hui-Cong

Abstract: The wayfinding strategy and the navigational support mode are two important factors in human wayfinding behavior. Although many lines of evidences have displayed the gender differences in the use of wayfinding strategy and the effectiveness of some navigational support designs, the interaction of these two factors still remained to be studied.
The present study was aimed to investigate the effect of gender, wayfinding strategy and navigational support mode on wayfinding behavior. 120 subjects were screened by the classic Wayfinding Strategy Scale developed by Lawton and then were assigned to different navigational support mode in a VR maze program scripted with 3Dmax and Virtools. In the practice stage, the subjects were required to get familiar with the operation rules, such as moving forward or backward, turning left or right by pressing the cursor keys. Then, the subjects entered the formal test, in which they were asked to arrive at the exit of the maze as quickly as possible with the aid of a given navigational support mode. The navigation time and the route map were recorded when the subjects successfully completed the task.
Firstly, our data showed that the navigation time in males with lower-score in orientation strategy was the shortest under the condition of the guide sign support in the VR maze, while it was the longest under the condition of the YAH map support. Moreover, they were significantly different between the two treatments. However, the effect of the navigational support mode on wayfinding performance was not significantly different in the males with higher score in orientation strategy. These data indicated that orientation strategy was an important factor to predict the male’s navigational performance. Secondly, our data also showed that the effect of the navigational support mode on the female’s wayfinding performance was statistically significant. The navigation time was the shortest under the condition of the guide sign support, and it was the longest under the condition of the YAH map support.
The results have shown that the effectiveness of navigational support depends on the user’s gender and wayfinding strategy, which can be used to evaluate the interface designs of navigational support systems. The future study on other kinds of navigational support(e.g., track-up YAH map) and measuring metrics (e.g., employing the eye-tracking technology) would be helpful to elucidate the interactions among gender, navigational support mode, and wayfinding strategy.

Key words: wayfinding strategy, route strategy, orientation strategy, navigational support