Effects of Packages’ Color as a Cue for Hazard-Related Perceptions: A Study Using Virtual Reality

  • Hande AyanoğluEmail author
  • Rita Boto
  • Júlia Teles
  • Emília Duarte
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9187)


Color is often used to communicate the level of hazard. The present study sought to determine the effect of packages’ color on hazard-related perceptions in a Virtual Environment. There were two conditions: achromatic (grayscale) and chromatic (red, yellow, blue, green). A sample of 40 design students rated their hazard-related perceptions (e.g., level of hazardousness and awareness of consequences) of eight 3D packages, which differed in contents’ hazardousness and familiarity, on hazard related perceptions. The results indicated that color does affect hazard-related perceptions. Compared to the achromatic versions, red and yellow produced different effects, when applied to hazardous packages which are both familiar and unfamiliar. Red increased hazard perception but did not affect awareness of consequences, and yellow did not affect the first, but decreased the latter. Blue decreased both dimensions, whereas green did not affect the first but decreased the latter. The results draw attention to the importance of color and familiarity on hazard-related perceptions.


Package design Colors Safety Hazard perception Virtual environment 


  1. 1.
    Laughery, K.R., Wogalter, M.S.: Warnings and risk perception. In: Salvendy, G. (ed.) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 2nd edn., vol. 2, pp. 1174–1197. Wiley, New York (1997)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Young, S., Brelsford, J.W., Wogalter, M.S.: Judgments of hazard, risk, and danger: do they differ? In: Woods, D., Roth, E. (eds.) Proceedings of the Human Factors Society 34th Annual Meeting, Santa Monica, CA, pp. 503–507 (1990)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Donner, K.A., Brelsford, J.W.: Cueing hazard information for consumer products. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors Society 32nd Annual Meeting. Human Factors Society, Santa Monica (1988)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Friedmann, K.: The effect of adding symbols to written warning labels on user behavior and recall. Hum. Factors 30(4), 507–515 (1988)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Otsubo, S.M.: A behavioral study of warning labels for consumer products: Perceived danger and use of pictographs. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors Society 32nd Annual Meeting, pp. 536–540. The Human Factors Society, Santa Monica (1988)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Wogalter, M.S., Brems, D.J., Martin, E.G.: Risk perception of common consumer products: Judgments of accident frequency and precautionary intent. J. Saf. Res. 24(2), 97–106 (1993)CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Fischhoff, B., Slovic, P., Lichtenstein, S., Read, S., Combs, B.: How safe is safe enough? A psychometric study of attitudes towards technological risks and benefits. Policy Sci. 9(2), 127–152 (1978)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Norman, D.A.: Signifiers, Not Affordances. Interactions 15(6), 18–19 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ayanoğlu, H., Duarte, E., Noriega, P., Teixeira, L., Rebelo, F.: The importance of integrating perceived affordances and hazard perception in package design. In: Rebelo, F., Soares, M. (eds.) Advances in Usability Evaluation Part I, pp. 627–636. CRC Press/Taylor and Francis, Ltd. (2013)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Turvey, M.T.: Affordances and prospective control: an outline of the ontology. Ecol. Psychol. 4(3), 173–187 (1992)CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Wogalter, M.S., Laughery, K.R., Barfield, D.A.: Effect of container shape on hazard perceptions. In Human Factors Perspective on Warnings Volume 2 : selections from Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meetings, 1994-2000, pp. 231–235 (2001)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Serig, E.M.: The influence of container shape and color cues on consumer produckt risk perception and precautionary intent. In: Wogalter, M.S., Young, S.L., Laughery, K.R. (eds.) Human Factors Perspective on Warnings Volume 2 : selections from Human Factors and Ergonomics Society annual meetings, 1994-2000, pp. 185–188. Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (2001)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Desai, S.P., Teggihalli, B.C., Bhola, R.: Superglue mistaken for eye drops. Arch. Dis. Child. 90(11), 1193 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ayanoğlu, H., Duarte, E., Teles, J., Noriega, P., Rebelo, F.: Examining hazard-related perceptions of virtual household package prototypes. In: Rebelo, F., Marcus, A. (eds.) Proceedings of the 5th AHFE Conference. Advances in Ergonomics in Design, Usability & Special Populations: Part I, 19–23 July 2014, vol. 16, pp. 473 – 481. AHFE Conference, Las Vegas (2014)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Godfrey, S.S., Laughery, K.R.: The biasing effect of product familiarity on consumers’ awareness of hazard. In: Factors, H. (ed.) Perspectives on Warnings. The Huma Factors and Ergonomics Society, Santa Monica (1993)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Goldhaber, G.M., deTurck, M.A.: Effects of consumer’s familiarity with a product on attention and compliance with warnings. J. Prod. Liability 11, 29–37 (1988)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Wogalter, M.S., Brelsford, J.W., Desaulniers, D.R., Laughery, K.R.: Consumer product warnings: The role of hazard perception. J. Saf. Res. 22, 71–82 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Chapanis, A.: Hazards associated with three signal words and four colors on warning signs. Ergonomics 37(2), 265–275 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Smith-Jackson, T.L., Wogalter, M.S.: Users’ hazard perceptions of warning components: An examination of colors and symbols. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, vol. 44, pp. 6–55. SAGE Publications (2000a)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Braun, C.C., Sansing, L., Silver, N.: The interaction of signal word and color on warning labels - differences in perceived hazard. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 38th Annual Meeting. Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Nashville (1994)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wogalter, M.S., Kalsher, M.J., Frederick, L.J., Magurno, A.B., Brewster, B.M.: Hazard level perceptions of warning components and configurations. Int. J. Cogn. Ergon. 2, 123–143 (1998)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Sung-euk, P.: Research of color affordance concept and applying to design. In: Kim, T.-H., Ma, J., Fang, W.-C., Zhang, Y., Cuzzocrea, A. (eds.) EL/DTA/UNESST 2012. CCIS, vol. 352, pp. 283–288. Springer, Heidelberg (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Allred, S.R., Flombaum, J.I.: Relating color working memory and color perception. Trends Cogn. Sci. 18(11), 562–565 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Braun, C.C., Kline, P.B., Silver, N.C.: The influence of color on warning label perceptions. Int. J. Ind. Ergon. 15(3), 179–187 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Wogalter, M.S., Magurno, A.B., Carter, A.W., Swindell, J.A., Vigilante, W.J., Daurity, J.G.: Hazard associations of warning header components. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 39th Annual Meeting. Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, San Diego (1995)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Braun, C.C., Silver, N.C.: Interaction of warning label features: Determining the contributions of three warning characteristics. In: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 39th Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA (1995)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Ayanoğlu, H., Rebelo, F., Duarte, E., Noriega, P., Teixeira, L.: Using virtual reality to examine hazard perception in package design. In: Marcus, A. (ed.) DUXU 2013, Part III. LNCS, vol. 8014, pp. 30–39. Springer, Heidelberg (2013)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Duarte, E., Rebelo, F., Teles, J., Wogalter, M.S.: Behavioral compliance for dynamic versus static signs in an immersive virtual environment. Appl. Ergon. 45(5), 1367–1375 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Vilar, E., Rebelo, F., Noriega, P., Duarte, E., Mayhorn, C.: Effects of competing environmental variables and signage on route choices in simulated everyday and emergency wayfinding situations. Ergonomics 57(4), 511–524 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Rebelo, F., Noriega, P., Duarte, E., Soares, M.: Using virtual reality to assess user experience. Hum. Factors: J. Hum. Factors and Ergon. Soc. 54(6), 964–982 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    ISO 3864-4. In Graphical Symbols-Safety Colours and Safety Signs-Part 4: Colorimetric and photometric properties of safety sign materials (2011)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Ishihara, S.: Test for Colour Blindness. British Medical Journal, 24th edn. Kanehara and Co., Ltd., Tokyo (1972)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Wogalter, M.S., Young, S.L., Brelsford, J.W., Barlow, T.: The relative contributions of injury severity and likelihood information on hazard-risk judgments and warning compliance. J. Saf. Res. 30(3), 151–162 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Sprent, P., Smeetoon, N.C.: Applied Nonparametric Statistical Methods, 4th edn, p. 544. Chapman and Hall/CRC, Boca Raton (2007)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Yi, J., Kim, Y., Kim, K., Koo, B.: A suggested color scheme for reducing perception-related accidents on construction work sites. Accid. Anal. Prev. 48, 185–192 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Laughery, K.R., Wogalter, M.S.: A three-stage model summarizes product warning and environmental sign research. Saf. Sci. – Risk Commun. Warnings 6, 3–10 (2014)Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Plocher, T., Rau, P., Choong, Y.: Cross-cultural design. In: Salvendy, G. (ed.) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 4th edn, pp. 162–191. John Wiley and Sons, New Jersey (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hande Ayanoğlu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rita Boto
    • 1
  • Júlia Teles
    • 2
  • Emília Duarte
    • 1
  1. 1.UNIDCOM, IADE – Creative UniversityLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.CIPER – Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Human PerformanceUniversidade de LisboaCruz-Quebrada, DafundoPortugal

Personalised recommendations