Re: Fw: PC warning signs

Subject: Re: Fw: PC warning signs
From: Bill Burns <BillDB -at- ILE -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 15 May 1998 17:12:51 -0600

Dick writes:

> Not only do colors have
> different connotations in different cultures, but people should think
> for a couple of seconds about the symbols themselves. Does the standard
> Windows warning symbol (exclamation point in a triangle) really have
> meaning worldwide? Or does Microsoft use some other character besides
> the exclamation point in their foreign-language versions?
I believe Microsoft has a pretty good-sized operation focusing on
localization alone, so my guess is that these issues have been addressed in
many instances. But you're correct; many icons used in Windows applications
(MS products and others) use US-centric iconography. Take the mailbox icon
for example, with the rounded top and red flag. How many folks outside of
rural or suburban USA have seen a mailbox
of this type? Or recycling containers and trash cans?

Icons, like colors, are not culturally neutral. This fact doesn't preclude
their use, but developers should know the cultural issues associated with
the use of color, iconography, or other visual conventions.

Bill Burns
Senior Technical Writer/Technology Consultant
ILE Communications
billdb -at- ile -dot- com

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