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Empirical Study of the Legibility of Arabic Highway Signs

With the increasing prevalence of the automobile, the transmission of information through the visual means of signs became critical. This importance is related to the safety problems that followed the growth of the highway system and the continuous increase in traffic. Legible visual communication is an essential component of traffic control for safe urban navigation, and highway signs are the most used visual devices for controlling traffic.

To effectively communicate to drivers and other users, road signage must be easily seen and quickly comprehended at variable speeds, and road sign legibility is essential to comprehensibility. Researchers have studied the legibility of the English-language Latin typefaces used on US road guide signs with respect to a variety of intrinsic and extrinsic factors—specifically the Standard Highway Signs Alphabets (Font Series) and the Clearview typefaces. In contrast, there are no typeface design guidelines or legibility studies for Arabic typefaces used on highway signs. This presentation discusses an empirical research study that examines the legibility of Arabic road guide signs with a particular reference to the United Arab Emirates.


Shaima Elbardawil

Dr. Shaima Elbardawil, PhD, is a visual communication practitioner, educator, and researcher. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Visual Communication at the College of Fine Arts and Design at the University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Elbardawil’s research interest focuses on the visual communication of information in urban environments, with specific reference to graphic objects, signs, and wayfinding systems. She investigates the various typographic conventions that contribute to the legibility of our environments from cultural, aesthetic, and psychological perspectives.