Re: Standards for warning icons

Subject: Re: Standards for warning icons
From: Wade Courtney <wade -dot- courtney -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Nancy Allison <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>
Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2009 08:37:05 -0700

Hi Nancy,

In my experience, Warning is used to denote when there is a danger of
death or injury, and Caution is used when there is a danger of
equipment damage. I may depend on the industry you're in though. When
I worked in a lab in my early years, there was an icon for everything.

W

On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 8:30 AM, Nancy Allison<maker -at- verizon -dot- net> wrote:
> I need resources to figure out an intelligent standard for warning icons for my client. I'm working at a place that makes high-voltage equipment that is used around the world by people with varying levels of English competence, and the danger of electrocution is real. By the way, I have no resources to do usability tests with our international clients, so actual data from them is not available to me.
>
> Currently, our template provides these icons:
>
> Bodily Injury
> Burns!
> Caution!
> CE
> Danger!
> Explosion!
> Eye!
> Fire!
> Fumes!
> Ground
> Input
> Note!
> Output
> Poison!
> Puncture!
> Safe
> Voltage!
> Warning!
>
> Some are puzzling (Input, Output, Safe). If you know of a standard that uses and explains them, please tell me about it.
>
> In practice, I have seen only Note! and Warning! used in documents. I don't even see Caution! used.
>
> The icons themselves are of varying clarity. The lightening bolt for Voltage is probably pretty clear to most human beings, but a lot of them are anybody's guess. The Note and Warning icons are both an exclamation mark, one in a square and one in a triangle. There's no significance to the shapes that I know of. In short, the icons do not rise to the level of a universally comprehensible visual language. To complicate matters, the icons are labeled in English, with Puncture! Fumes!, etc., as necessary. These labels will all have to be translated in the subset of our documents that *is* translated.
>
> My big question is, is it valuable to have all these specific-but-confusing icons whose purpose is to indicate the nature of the danger?
>
> Warning! clearly indicates to every reader that there is physical danger, and they need to read the text in the big, ugly, intrusive text box to find out what it is. Is there an argument to be made for having a specific icon, like Eye! (which shows a nerdy guy wearing glasses), so that readers can probably figure out that there is physical danger, in this case to their eyes?
>
> I believe that the overriding, compelling purpose of icons is to make it instantly clear whether an action may kill or injure a human being. (Secondarily, all other icons indicate whether something may damage equipment or data, or may make their life easier.)
>
> Whether the danger of bodily harm occurs through fumes, punctures, etc., etc., is a distinctly secondary purpose.  Therefore, I'd like to get rid of all the specific danger icons and use only the Warning icon. The text can explain the specific danger.
>
> However, I'm not moving a muscle until I've researched this issue thoroughly. Maybe there is a widely respected standard that argues otherwise. If you document dangerous equipment or processes, please tell me what standards you follow. If there is a professional standard you adhere to, I would love to know about it.  Thanks, all.
>
> --Nancy
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
> Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
> Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as Doc-To-Help
> 2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.
> http://www.doctohelp.com/SuperPages/Webcasts/
>
> Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
> authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
> once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control! http://www.helpandmanual.com/
>
> ---
> You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as wade -dot- courtney -at- gmail -dot- com -dot-
>
> To unsubscribe send a blank email to
> techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> or visit http://lists.techwr-l.com/mailman/options/techwr-l/wade.courtney%40gmail.com
>
>
> To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
>
> Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
> http://www.techwr-l.com/ for more resources and info.
>
> Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:
> http://lists.techwr-l.com/mailman/listinfo/techwr-l-chat
>
>
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as Doc-To-Help
2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.
http://www.doctohelp.com/SuperPages/Webcasts/

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control! http://www.helpandmanual.com/

---
You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit http://lists.techwr-l.com/mailman/options/techwr-l/archive%40web.techwr-l.com


To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
http://www.techwr-l.com/ for more resources and info.

Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:
http://lists.techwr-l.com/mailman/listinfo/techwr-l-chat


Follow-Ups:

References:
Standards for warning icons: From: Nancy Allison

Previous by Author: Re: Font wars in the news
Next by Author: Re: Technical writer survey: What should we really call ourselves?
Previous by Thread: Re: Standards for warning icons
Next by Thread: Re: Standards for warning icons


What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads


Sponsored Ads