In evaluating pictorial warnings, remember that the principal purpose of pictorial warnings is to convey warnings to people who can’t read or read in a different language. If people could read the warnings, we wouldn’t need the pictures.
Thus, interpreting only the pictures, here’s what a non-English speaking park visitor might take away from these four frames of a sign warning about how to handle mountain lion attacks:
1. Top left: “After lion has bitten off your right hand, run AWAY from the lion. Follow the arrow. Never run toward a mountain lion.”
2. Top right: “Once you realize you can’t outrun a mountain lion and are handless, say the hell with it and give up.”
3. Bottom left: “If accompanied by children, offer them to the lion.”
4. Bottom right: ”Don’t know. Can’t read it. That’s why I needed the pictures!”