Savior of the Personal Computer or Bane of the Noob? Icons & Symbols in Technology.

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Transcript of Savior of the Personal Computer or Bane of the Noob? Icons & Symbols in Technology.

  • Savior of the Personal Computer or Bane of the Noob?Icons & Symbols in Technology

  • Originates from the Greek word eikn meaning "image though modern usage is in the sense of a figurative symbol. (Iconography is image writing in the Greek)

    Traditionally icons are associated with the religious artwork of Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism

    Icons was introduced to computers with the development of the Graphical User Interface (GUI) by the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in the 1970s

    The first GUI-driven PC, the Xerox Star, was introduced in 1981 with the first desktop and the WIMP (Windows, Icons, Menus & Pointers) interface

    The GUI including its icons was popularized by the Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows operating environmentsA Brief History of Icons

  • Icons can contribute greatly to the clarity and attractiveness of an application. The use of icons also makes it much easier to translate programs into other languages. Whenever an explanation or label is needed, consider using an icon instead of text.

    Apple Computer 1985, p. I-32 via The Humane Interface

  • Is it intuitive?How realistic is too realistic?Are our customers going to use it?Does this metaphor work?How important is labeling?

  • Instead of icons explaining, we have found that icons often require explanation.

    The Humane Interface

  • IconsLabels

  • Realistic details can get in the way of what youre trying to communicate to your users.

    Lukas Mathis, Realism in UI Design

  • Image from Realism in UI Design

  • The interface presents an icon, but the meaning of the icon is not visible, or it may give the wrong message to someone for whom the graphic is unfamiliar or has a different interpretation.

    For example, an icon that shows the palm of an upraised hand indicates halt in the United States but signifies Heres excrement in your face in Greece.

    The Humane Interface

  • They can aid both scanning and orientation.

    Icons facilitate the users ability to learn, understand and remember functional elements of the site.

    They potentially increase the clickable area of a navigation option.What are icons good for then?

  • Questions?

    Information drawn from Wikipedias articles on computer icons, iconography, PARC (Company) and The Real History of the GUI (*Two dots mean what?*Black & White- The Anatomy of a Noob:

    1st mum story notifications, friend requests and messages*Interface confusion with mum finding add a tab and print functions**It's pretty rare in the real world that we rely on iconography alone to represent ideas. Bathroom doors generally have an icon of a man and the word "Men." Stop signs have the word "Stop" on them.Jensen Harris, The Importance of Labels

    The Importance of Labels -

    *The Importance of Labels -

    We cant help but read labels eyetracking studies show this

    *In Turkey, the thumbs up is not used at all and in Iraq, Iran and Thailand it is considered extremely obscene. In Australia depending upon slight variations in movement it can be interpreted as either good or an insult.

    *Web iconography instantly denotes certain site elements its important to appeal to the viewers sense of familiarity here. A custom set of icons has a certain cachet, but if your ideogram is too obscure, it will fail to communicate the desired message. Jessica Neuman Beck, Does Your Copy Hold Up To A Quick Glance?

    Does your copy hold up to a quick glance? -*Brenden Dawes tweets -

    *Courtesy of Web Navigation Design

    *Images are the main content of our thoughts regardless of the sensory modality in which they are generated and regardless of whether they are about a thing or a process involving things or about words or other symbols.

    Antonio Damasio