Can Color Tell? Smartphone LED Notification Color and Users’ Perception of the Situation
In this study, we investigated whether the use of LED colors that are cognitively congruent with the notification situations can help smartphone users to intuitively understand the situation. We examined whether cognitive loads placed on smartphone users differ between when single color is used and when RGB colors are jointly used to better match the situations. We predicted that participants will more quickly and correctly understand the situations when RGB colors are used than when single color is used because the use of RGB colors will improve their memory (i.e., the process of encoding and retrieval) due to the high cognitive congruency between LED colors and situations. In an experiment, we randomly assigned participants to single-color LED notification groups (i.e., red color group and white color group) and RGB color notification group and measured their cognitive loads by assessing their task performance (e.g., response time and error rate) and subjective ratings. We found no overall difference in participants’ cognitive loads between groups. However, in an additional analysis, we found a significant difference exists in early rounds of experiment although the difference disappeared as participants accumulate more rounds of experiences. Our results suggest that the use of proper LED colors can help smartphone users to more effectively and efficiently understand the situations; however, the positive effect will be low for those who have more experiences of LED notification lights. We believe our study provides important implications to the study on the design of LED notification lights.
KeywordsLED notification lights Notification situation Cognitive load Cognitive congruency LED color
This work has been supported by UX Lab, Mobile R&D Center, LG Electronics.