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Re: Symbols

From: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 14:45:13 -0400
Message-ID: <360941B8.9BA443EA@clark.net>
To: WAI <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
CC: James Merrill <jmerrill@bigpond.com>
The field of Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC or "Aug. Com.") is
a well developed specialty, primarily within the purview of Speech Language
Pathologists (SLP).  One very critical topic in this field is the selection of
wordless picture systems for non-vocal persons.  These symbol systems have a
tendency towards internationalism because they are designed for young children
who have not yet learned to read.  As odd as the idea may seem, there are
several companies which derive a large portion of their incomes selling
communication icons!

Probably the most popular is the Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) of which
there are over three thousand (color and black and white):  Mayer Johnson -
About the PCS (http://www.mayer-johnson.com/PICTSYMB/Aboutpcs.htm), follow the
links for BoardMaker to see the color samples.  Feel free to give these people
grief for not having alt text!

To be fair, I should mention their biggest competitor.  Prentke Romich has the
longest history of a commercial vendor with regard to electronic communication
aids.  They favor a smaller symbol set (less than 200, all in color) and, while
interesting, is probably not relevant to this thread:  Minspeak FAQ
(http://www.lti.cs.cmu.edu/scs/faq.html).

This thread seems to betaking a direction towards wordless international
communication.  Persons interested in this should learn about Blissymbolics, a
communication system originally Developed by Charles K. Bliss (1897-1985) for
the purpose of international communication (think "League of Nations" and you
will have an idea of how successful he was).  Bliss has fewer than one hundred
primitives that can be combined into thousands of words.  Visit Blissymbolics
Communication International for more information (http://home.istar.ca/~bci/).

Lovin' it when my worlds collide and I get to show off -- Bruce


James Merrill wrote:

> I am looking for a set of symbols that may be used for web and other
> delivery channels to convey stand actions.  Standard actions such as Help
> (how very apt), Print, Pay Now, Email,... up to about 20 or so that could be
> used for wider-access but also including multicultural aspects.
>
> General questions though, would a set of symbols like this be useful ?  Can
> a set be established that really mean the same thing to a wide range of
> users?  Like a STOP sign, is this international and/or recognized by all?
> All feedback, excluding flames, most welcome.
>
> Regards, James
Received on Wednesday, 23 September 1998 14:43:01 GMT

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