Re. More notes on the toolbar icon

Subject: Re. More notes on the toolbar icon
From: Geoff Hart <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 09:10:57 LCL

Don't worry about using text combined with graphics on an
icon. Graphics are no more universal than text (Bill
Horton's work springs to mind), and have to be
internationalized every bit as carefully. Don't have the
refs. handy, but look back through Horton's column in Tech.
Communication for details; he's also written a book on the
subject, and I expect it's up to his usual high standards.

I stated earlier that icons can be cryptic to many users,
and a few studies have confirmed this (can't cite a
reference offhand... but I _have_ read published research
on this). Lots of anecdotal evidence too. In fact, someone
wrote a while back in Tech. Communication that most people
use text labels and other clues on icons to memorize the
icon's function, then subsequently remember the icon's
position more than its appearance. Anecdotal evidence: this
is how I use icons... of the 20 icons at the top of the
mail screen, only 5 really resemble their function. I've
memorized the position of the others, and use the icon
itself as nothing more than a visual landmark, since the
picture tells me nothing.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

Disclaimer: If I didn't commit it in print in one of our
reports, it don't represent FERIC's opinion.

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