RE: pictures, words, info, glyphs, symbols, thoughts

Subject: RE: pictures, words, info, glyphs, symbols, thoughts
From: "Sean Brierley" <sbri -at- haestad -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 09:47:10 -0400

Yes and no.

I'd say, for example, the skull-and-crossbones icon could just as easily
mean "pirate" as "poison." <vbg>

That is, icons are ambiguous, require consensus, can mean different
things to different people, and often require "abstract" text to
describe them.

For example, I am familiar with the various U.N. placards used to
designate hazardous materials loads being transported over-the-road, but
I'd say these are really unintuitive to those who don't have a written
guide to the colors, symbols, and numbers or experience using the

Consider, for example, the icon we use for the ladies' bathroom . . . a
stick figure in a skirt. Now, whaddaya think that'd mean in Scotland . .
. . ROFLMAO . . . (really, I know, just kidding).



Sean Brierley
Software Documentation Specialist
Haestad Methods
203-805-0572 (voice)
203-597-1488 (fax)

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Swallow [mailto:wswallow -at- nycap -dot- rr -dot- com]
::: Road signs and technical manuals are not the same thing.

No, you're right. Road signs are much more succinct at getting important
information to the "user" at the user's time of need. *rofl*

Whether you'd like to admit it or not, the human mind is better at
handling visual imformation than print. Why? I dunno, but I bet it has
something to do with learned behavior vs. instinctive behavior. I'm sure
there have to be studies on the web about this. Actually, I'm sure there
are, as I've read some. I'm just too lazy right now to Google the URLs
for the list. ;) (*GASP* Did I just use a proper noun as a verb?!?

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