Showing users the way: Signs in virtual worlds

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Computer Science

Conference Title

Proceedings - IEEE Virtual Reality

Date of Presentation



In this paper, we report the results of a pilot study designed to evaluate the impact of signs as navigation aids in virtual worlds. Test subjects were divided into three groups (no aid, a dynamic electronic map, and signs) and asked to search a virtual building four times for six differently colored spheres. The spheres were in the same locations each time, and subjects were allowed to locate them in any order. A statistical analysis of the data revealed that on the first and second trials subjects took nearly four times as long to find the spheres with no aid present, compared to with maps and signs. We then compared only the sign and map conditions. Overall, subjects who navigated the world with the aid of signs were significantly faster than those who were provided with a map. While more research into the use of signs in virtual worlds is necessary, these results indicate that for at least some environments subjects are able to locate targets more quickly when using signs than maps. ©2008 IEEE.

First Page


Last Page